The Joy of Jesus!
The never-ending staircase of religion would have you believe that you are merely a distant spectator of the Gospel-parade, catching glimpses of His playful glory from afar, with little comfort; but what the Trinity communicates to us is that through Jesus Christ, we become active participants in the Disneyland parade of heaven, as God has always desired, and we are caught up in so much fun and delight that all self-consciousness ceases! It is a parade fit for Willy Wonka’s imaginative wonder, where you can taste all of the sweet goodies that you behold, and twirl care-free in front of your heavenly Daddy’s proud, warm gaze. Your imagination is ecstatic in finding once again its true purpose – freely exploring the altogether desirable wonders that faith abundantly and generously supplies us with. In Christ, we are truly free!
In Christ, we are able to engage our imagination in everything truly lovely and wonderful (Philippians 4:8). We are able to engage fully with the realities of heaven. This is the syrupy love of God’s personality and heart. In the C.S. Lewis epic of Narnia we see a new, strange world; a land filled with vibrancy and colorful exuberance, flowers, and mythical creatures. This is but a glimpse of the multi-faceted goodness and grace of our heavenly Daddy; the God of flowers and rainbows, peacocks and bright sea creatures. Adam Clarke in his commentary states that God is the ‘Good Being, a fountain of infinite benevolence and beneficence towards His creatures…the most pure, the most simple, and the most spiritual of all essences; true, and holy’
He is the original Thought of all Disneyland-style wonder and imaginative freedom. The Gospel causes child-like enthusiasm to flow from our innermost beings as we discover that the blessings of God’s generous heart are endless and for our benefit now. Our lives of faith, hidden in God (Col. 3) are overflowing with magic and wonder. Christ within us is truly our confident expectation of limitless, unconditional goodness (Col. 1:27), wherever we may choose to wander. Heaven’s panoramic scenery is flourishing within and through us. Benjamin Dunn has written it this way in his book ‘The Happy Gospel’:
“That’s the scandal. It is a scandal of love…. We couldn’t climb to Heaven, so Heaven came to us – in Christ. In Christ we see the grand display of the heavens invading earth. This scandal is designed to make you blush. Its intention is to make every cell in your body scream with thanksgiving and joyful praise.”
God makes us truly happy! Through Christ, He fills us with his very own nature, and all of His glorious freedom and innocence. The exploration of authentic pleasure, creativity, and fun is the core of Christianity and the intention of God’s heart for us. Jesus Christ is Mr Pleasure. He really desires that we enjoy our life to the full (John 10:10), as we are exhilarated with His exuberant blessings and beauty. He lavishes His gifts and blessings upon us, as the Giver of all Givers, and the most generous of all Parents. John Crowder in his book ‘The Ecstasy of Loving God’ comments that:
“To separate pleasure from God is impossible. Follow happiness to its end and you will find God. The world endorses every route that leads to happiness. A lot of billboards promise happiness, but their end is death. He is the fountainhead of bliss. In 2 Corinthians 12, we read of the apostle Paul being the subject of an “inexpressible ecstasy.” This is beyond human explanation. The gospel comes as a heartfelt revelation… “Eden” literally means pleasure. You were made for it. What separates the Christian from every man-made religion on earth is our acceptance that God came to us, to give us what we could not earn for ourselves: access to bliss forevermore. He plugged us back into the pleasure of Himself. This is good news. This work is not a book of formulas, to help you climb an unseen ladder of experience”
If this Gospel really is such great news, then why is it that so few of us experience this good news? …
(Part two coming soon!)
By Paige Hunt