Sharing the Word: Joy or Tears
By Harry Martinez
Christians are admonished to live worthy of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That means that God in grace must provide the necessary means to fulfill that mandate. Christians have two sources of power by which God is able to work in their lives – the filling of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. When we walk by faith under the guidance and direction of the Holy Spirit with no unconfessed sins in our lives, we can recall to our thinking the Scriptures that we have learned and believed, and then apply them in life. Many times we are faced with decisions that make a significant change in our lives or the lives of others. How we respond in those situations reveals what is in our thinking. The Hebrew scribe Ezra records the thinking of the people as they left from the Babylonian captivity and began rebuilding the Temple of God in Jerusalem. Those who were older in age remembered the glory of Solomon’s temple. The younger generation had never seen it. The emotions were mixed as the people began to accomplish the task of rebuilding. “And when the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the LORD, they set the priests in their apparel with trumpets, and the Levites the sons of Asaph with cymbals, to praise the LORD, after the ordinance of David king of Israel. And they sang together by course in praising and giving thanks unto the LORD; because he is good, for his mercy endureth for ever toward Israel. And all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid. But many of the priests and Levites and chief of the fathers, who were ancient men, that had seen the first house, when the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes, wept with a loud voice; and many shouted aloud for joy” (Ezra 3:10-12). The young men rejoiced, the older men wept. Both of those emotions were understandable, yet very different in how they would affect the days that lay ahead. We can live in the past or in the reality of the present and benefit with gratitude God’s provision for the now. Often past failures and guilt continue to surface in the thinking of Christians. The result is stifling to spiritual growth and inner peace. God has made a provision for Christians to be effective in representing Him in this world. The Word tells us that though our sins break fellowship with God and hinder the leading of the Spirit in our lives, the grace provision of cleansing is available to bring restoration and once again place us in a posture to serve the Lord. The past need not be a source of sorrow. The present can bring much joy … “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Once admitted to God there is no excuse to live in guilt for God removes our sin as far as the east from the west. We have the liberty to move forward, to serve Christ, to represent and glorify Him in our lives.