Have you met one of them? Yes, they exist. They are all around the globe – Christians who believe a transformed life results in a carefree and continuously joyful earthly experience. I’m not sure exactly which verse has convinced some of my brothers and sisters that accepting Jesus as their personal savior has cloaked them in an impenetrable cape of security.
Yes, I’ve read 1 Thessalonians 5:16 (NIV) that tells us to “Be joyful always.” And I’ve read 1 Thessalonians 5:9 (NIV) that talks about our hope in redemption, “For God did not appoint us to suffer through wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” I completely agree with the fact that, as new creatures, committed to walking a narrow road to our heavenly destination, joy should be a consistent part of our mindset. Every second we have in this world is an opportunity to spread the Good News about the eternal world to come.
But think about this, in Paul’s second letter to the church of Thessalonica, he makes it clear that faith is not a force field that repels incoming spiritual missiles loaded with persecutions and trials. “We ought to thank God for you, brothers, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing. Therefore, among God’s churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring.” 2 Thessalonians 3-4 (NIV)
Paul was telling a group of committed believers that “persecutions and trials” were part of the life they had chosen. Yes, Christians should be joyful that they are walking on a narrow path paved by the Redeemer of the world. We are not called to give up the rest of our emotions. We are not told to avoid mourning, sadness, and the rest of our earthly emotions.
Romans 12:15 (NIV) says, “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” And Jesus said, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” Matthew 5:4 (NIV)
Faith in Jesus will not result in a carefree, easygoing, lackadaisical, and carnival-like existence for the rest of our days. Nowhere does scripture support such a promise for our lives under a cursed earthly environment. Our joyful attitude and spirit will remain strong as long as we turn to the Lord when storms come rushing our way. But we should not accept the false forecast of continued sunny skies once we become transformed believers.