4 Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!
— Philippians 4:4 NLT
If you spend any time talking with non-Christians about Jesus and why they have not accepted Him as their Savior, you soon learn that their views on Jesus are not the primary reason for not accepting Him. It is their view of what they think Christianity is and what it requires them to do or not do. They have this idea that Christians have little or no fun and that to be a Christian, they are going to have to completely change their lifestyle. There will be some changes required. For some, it will be a very dramatic change. For others, it will only be a change in their mindset about why they do the good things they have been doing. The “good” ones are usually the hardest ones to convince that they need a Savior. Back to the point. Have we ever considered where the outsiders get this view that Christians must live a dull, joyless life? Since most of them don’t spend much time, if any, reading the Bible, they get it from watching us and listening to our conversations. Do we show them that “the joy of the Lord is our strength” or do they see us as sad, beaten down people who are forced to stay home on Saturday night so we can go to church on Sunday morning? Is our lifestyle a good advertisement for Jesus or does it turn others away from seeking Him? Think about it.
1 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. 5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry– Colossians 3:1-5 NIV
When we accept Christ as our Savior it should change the way we assess the things we see and hear. There should be external evidence of what has taken place inside of us. Our thoughts and our hearts’ desires should be focused on things above and not on earthly things. If we find that we are still worried about the things happening around us, particularly those that we can’t control, we need to get into the Scriptures and allow the presence of the Holy Spirit to assure us of God’s omnipotence and omnipresence. If we find that most of our thoughts are still on the same things that we thought about before, we need to be sure that we have repented. True repentance will cause a change of some of our habits and our thought patterns. It will cause us to reprioritize the things in our lives. Before, we evaluated things according to worldly standards, now we should be evaluating them according to God’s standards. We have died and are now hidden in Christ. The flesh does not like this new us. It is a constant battle to put to death all those fleshly desires and satan will surely be coming around to remind you of how much “fun” you were having when you were serving Him. We have to put these fleshly things to death in our minds, while they are still in the idea or thought stage. If we allow them to take root in our mind, we have lost the battle. We cannot do this alone, we have to allow God to accomplish it through and for us.
3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
— 2 Cor. 10:3-5