SUBSCRIBE: Do so by clicking beside our channel name. MINISTRY: arbc.net PASTOR MATT’S BLOG: http://www.drmattperry.com When you think of pursuing holiness as a follower of Jesus, what comes to your mind?
I sense that many of us grew up in church where holiness, reverence, and seriousness about the things of God, but along the way, those who led by example had their joy quenched (if it was ever there) and thus quenched the joy of others.
G.K. Chesterton: “It is really a natural trend to lapse into taking oneself gravely because it is the easiest thing to do . . . for solemnity flows out of men naturally, but laughter is a leap. It is easy to be heavy; hard to be light. Satan fell by force of gravity.” I wonder what those who have a gravity, seriousness, and joylessness about the faith do with Jesus in these passages found in Mark.
The previous paragraph showed another collision (to use Kent Hughes word) between Jesus and the religious leaders. Jesus had just called Matthew (a tax collector for Rome and a perceived traitor to the Jews) to follow him as a disciple. Matthew then threw a party and invited his friends over–friends that the religious called “sinners,” and they could not understand why Jesus would jeopardize his reputation and public holiness in order to hang around . . . them. I sense that over time, our faith can become more serious, sensible, manageable…and joyless.
We begin to go through the motions and check things off our spiritual list in order to salve our conscience. But think about this: when you think about those who are spiritual examples of you, are they ones who lack joy in their pursuit of holiness or ones who exude it? As the subtitle of this message notes, a quest for holiness must not quench our joy.