Saw this Hi and Lois comic in the “Funnies” of our newspaper this week (Does anyone still call it that?) and chuckled at its relative truth. I’ve encountered signs like this one. Haven’t you? It declares everything you aren’t allowed to do but gives no indication as to what is allowed. I saw one sign that had the list of “nos” followed by the cheery sentiment, ”Have a nice day”. Oh yeh..how?
The comic got me thinking about how many people look at Christianity with a similar disdain. They feel Christianity is only about all of the things that they are not supposed to do. They accuse the Bible of being a book of no-nos with very few yes-yeses. Their belly-aching begins with the ‘thou shalt nots” of the Ten Commandments followed by all of the prohibitions in The Law and then they highlight the laments and taboos announced by God’s prophets.
Now we could argue with them that those no-nos are all in the Old Testament before Jesus’ ministry. Jesus was all about yeses. But then they counter with, “ OK, let’s look at some of Jesus’ tidings of good joy (I believe you call that sarcasm.):
LOVE PEOPLE WHO HURT YOU AND PRAY FOR PEOPLE WHO DON’T EVEN LIKE YOU? Is that normal?
OFFER YOUR LEFT CHEEK AFTER YOU JUST HAD YOUR RIGHT ONE SMACKED? The Rocky Balboa mind(less)set…ok, go ahead and take your best shot!
BE WILLING TO LOSE EVERYTHING SO YOU CAN GAIN EVERYTHING? Huh? How does that work?
LIKE SUFFERING? Why sure, doesn’t everybody?
ASSOCIATE WITH THE LOSERS OF SOCIETY? Only if they’ve taken a bath and had a recent background check.
IT’S BETTER TO HAVE TREASURES IN HEAVEN, A PLACE YOU CAN’T SEE, THAN A LOT OF MONEY IN A BANK THAT YOU CAN SEE? Who’s your financial planner anyway?
BE THANKFUL FOR EVERYTHING, EVEN IN CRUMMY TIMES? You bet. I love being down, disappointed, and depressed.
GIVE UP YOUR RIGHTS TO YOURSELF? Yeh, I always wanted to be a puppet.
And then he has the audacity to declare that he came to earth so people could enjoy an abundantly full life…full of what? Sort of like saying, “have a nice day”. Oh yeh…how?
Well, I’m glad you asked that question.
When Jesus told his disciples of “then” and “now”, “If any man would come after me he must first deny himself…” (give up your rights to yourself; Matthew 16:24) he was saying, in essence, that when you say yes it really means no and when you say no it really means yes. What? Before you get your Fruit of the Looms all in a snuggie, let me explain.
If a person says yes to Jesus as their Lord, Savior, and Best Friend, they are saying no to some dreadful realities such as …
…separation from God,
…accountability for sin,
…guilt, shame, and doubt,
…anxiety and stress,
…imperfect self sufficiency,
…uncertainty of the future,
…live relying upon common sense,
…love with conditions, just to name a few.
If a person says no to themselves they are saying yes to some wonderful realities such as …
…friendship with God and adopted into his forever family,
…forgiveness of sin,
…incomprehensible peace and confidence ,
…perfect God sufficiency,
…confidence in the future,
…live relying upon supernatural sense,
…love with no conditions, just to name a few. And lest I should forget, they are saying yes to the above skeptic’s complaint list.
If you’ve already said yes to Jesus, there is absolutely no limit to what God has available for you from his heavenly storehouse. You might say, the sky’s the limit. If you’ve yet to say yes to Jesus, there is absolutely no way that you can access any of God’s good stuff, which includes God himself, without Jesus. And all of that good stuff…that’s just God’s way of saying ,“have a nice day”…everyday!.
“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realm with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” Ephesians 1:3
“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” 2 Peter 1:3