It was the Fourth of July holiday, my man was out of town and all the older kids were either out of town, working or doing other things. That left me and my youngest, a teenage boy who, well, is typical…let’s leave it at that.
I knew the day was going to be a quiet one and rather than feel sorry for myself, I was determined to make the best of it. I cranked up my essential oils diffuser because nothing screams party animal louder than that, right? I chose a combination of Joy and Tangerine partly due to the fact that I wanted to in-joy the day and partly because I read somewhere that if you thought Joy smelled bad (which I did) it was because you needed more of it in your life (which I do…always.)
Carson, this teenage boy of mine, emerged from his cave and came downstairs, which is a good indication it’s time for food. He rummaged around the kitchen for a few minutes then came in to see what I was up to. He bent down to give me a hug (don’t go feeling too mushy here…you’ll see in a minute) and as he did, I noticed the strong smell of freshly sprayed cologne.
Wow! Did you just put on some Axe?
No. I don’t have anything on. I just came down to get a snack. And he walked back upstairs with the most sheepish of grins plastered on his face.
As I sat there reading, I couldn’t help but notice the scent of his spray cologne getting stronger so I walked out into the kitchen area where I was knocked over by the straight up junior high boys locker room smell of Axe. I yelled for Carson to come down and asked him what the heck he had done. He may have sprayed a bunch of Axe in a glass and poured it in to the diffuser.
Oh my word! Diffuser is scrubbed out, ceiling fans are on high and there is still just a hint of stinky boy wafting around here!
Anybody else ever have someone’s Axe cover up your Joy? Anybody?
You all know I’m studying the book of Galatians and it just so happened that I read a question Paul posed to the people of Galatia…
What has happened to all your joy?
You see, there were these people called agitators that were infiltrating the church and telling them their salvation was only valid if they followed some of the Mosaic laws of their ancestors, laws that were impossible to follow completely and the very reason why a Savior was needed. These party poopers were spraying Axe all over the Good News of the saving Grace of God.
Unfortunately not much has changed. We still have party poopers in the church who like to rain on people’s joy in the Lord. People who say you have to DO this in order to be fully accepted or in order to be considered good enough. Instead of For God so loved the world he gave his One and Only Son, we start to believe the whispers of the agitators: For God to really love you, you must ______. For the church of Galatia it was be circumcised and eat certain foods.
What is it for us? For me? For you?
Maybe it’s having a set quiet time. Praying for a certain amount of time. Not drinking, smoking, cussing, dancing, wearing skirts only or your hair a certain way. Maybe it’s serving on every committee or going to church a certain number of times a week. Never getting angry again. There are a million and one things!
Then. Maybe then. I will be good enough.
Joy suckers, stand at the baptismal ready to hand you a list of do’s and don’ts and suck the ab-soul-lute joy out of what is suppose to be a celebration. Heck, our hair’s not even dry before they’re telling you everything you now have to do (or not do) to be a good Jesus girl. (Can’t we in-joy this moment??)
We can never outdo what has already been done. God saw us in our messed up brokenness and came down. He didn’t come because we had every duck lined up or every T crossed and I dotted.
Tim Keller says it this way, If you add anything to Christ as a requirement for acceptance with God—if you start to say: To be saved I need the grace of Christ plus something else—you completely reverse the “order” of the gospel and make it null and void. (Galatians for You)
So stop it. Just stop it.
We are all works in progress. It’s because of the joy of the Lord that I want to be more like him. It’s because of what he did for me, his love for me, that I strive to be a better person today than I was yesterday. It’s because of my love for him that I want to know him more and more. Not because of some list the church lady hands me.
Will I fail? Every. Single. Day.
Will he love me any less? Never.
As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves! (Galatians 5:12NIV) (Paul’s words, not mine. I kind of like this guy though.)
Don’t let anyone’s Axe cover up your joy!
Fiercely for YOU!