Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Two Questions, Part Two: Another Question.

In Christian circles the word "fellowship" has lost its teeth. It generally implies, in our church culture, coffee and maybe a bite to eat. While I'm glad for this development, we shouldn't have the coffee at the expense of what makes for true, biblical fellowship - namely, relationships centered around the gospel.

But I think it's easier to have "friends from church" than to have relationships that are, in some identifiable way, centered around Jesus Christ. To put it another way, it takes effort to forge a friendship that makes a significant difference in our worship, witness, and integrity before God.

That is why I like to have good questions to ask my friends.

The one I ask these days is a simple one: "How's your joy?" Or in other words, "Are you experiencing the joy of your salvation?"

As I've asked others this question, several guys have responded: "Good question. Uhhh...." And I know why: it's not necessarily an easy question to answer! I have to give it some thought too. But don't you agree that it's a good question, one that addresses an area of our lives we should monitor more closely than, say, "how we are doing" (which means, are you happy with your circumstances right now) or "what's going on"?

Just yesterday I asked this question to a friend named Bunny (he's a guy, there's a story, don't make fun, he gets mean). He may not have remembered, but I've asked him this question the last several times we've been together. He said, "That's a good question, but out of curiosity--why joy, out of all the fruits of the Spirit? Why not love or peace or patience?"

That's a good question too. I had to think about it.

In Galatians 5, the "fruit of the Spirit" is a singular word--"fruit." Thus love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control are all united within us. So while joy is near the top of the list, I can't say that it wouldn't be just as well to ask, "How's your love" or "How's your peace."

But I think the word "joy" is a little less sullied. Like the word "fellowship," love and peace are often confused with cheap substitutes. Meanwhile, no one even has patience, and a faithful man who can find?

Taking a look at whether we are experiencing the joy of our salvation gets beyond whether we are happy with our circumstances (we aren't). It also gets us beyond what we're doing (we're trying to prove ourselves by comparing ourselves with others, usually).

It makes us examine our relationship to God in areas where it matters. Thankfulness. Adoration. Zeal. Trust. Faith. Joy...

Well, I think it's a good question anyway.

1 comment:

Jeff said...

That question is better, I like that it would allow a wider range of responses.

How about, "Have you had good times with the Lord lately?"