“Clap your hands, all peoples. Shout to God with loud songs of joy!”
What a shame that we often think of God somberly and solemnly. It’s even worse that we, especially as kids but even as adults, think of worship as boring. If someone bought you a brand new car, would you be somber? If someone gave you the keys to a giant mansion and said it was all yours, would you respond solemnly? If you were crowned the king or queen of your very own country, would you be bored? I seriously doubt it.
So why in the world are these our reactions to the news that God has adopted us as his sons through Jesus Christ, offering us eternal life in paradise with him as heirs of his kingdom. What could possibly be better than that? Nothing. Yet we’re bored, we’re tied down by tradition and doctrine. We care more about appearances than about worship.
Because either we don’t believe it or we’ve forgotten the magnitude of it. It’s a fact that among those who claim to be followers of Jesus, many are not. Jesus did say that the path was narrow after all. If you see church as a chore, view religion as nothing more than a hobby or a feel-good experience, or think of obedience to Christ as a shackle, then you may be one of these people. I’d encourage you to seek out the real truth of Christ, because that’s not it. If that’s not you, but you’ve lost some of your passion or fire, consider what is standing in your way? Is it the norms at your church that indirectly demand a certain set of dogmatic regulations on your life and your worship? Maybe it’s the stress of your busy life that gets in the way of seeing the big picture. Maybe it’s just that you’ve gone so long without putting any effort into your relationship with God that it’s become nothing but a dusty old memory.
Whatever it is, throw it aside and get to know God again. Get outside of the rules people have set for you and your worship, and let the joy of the Lord be expressed with clapping and song and shouts of happiness and praise. After all, you have been given the greatest gift known to man. And the gift is given anew every morning. There is so much reason for joy. Don’t let anything stand in its way.
Thank you for the joy that you’ve given me through salvation in Jesus. Thank you for the great gift of love that you’ve blessed me with. Help me not to limit my worship to human tradition but to allow your Spirit of joy to worship and praise you with clapping and song and shouting and dancing and any other expression of joy that you’ve given me. Thank you for the joy you bring to this life and for the promise of the next.
In Jesus’ Name,