Sometimes I like to just sit and watch people. If I get to the airport early I watch the folks traveling. Sometimes at shopping malls I just sit on a bench and watch. You can learn a lot about people just by watching.
You can see how folks discipline their children, you can see their preferences about fashion, you can see their reactions to various events, you can even begin to see a bit of who they are as a person.
I often find that I am the person being watched. Someone will stop me and say they saw me in a particular store or restaurant. Yet I had no idea that person was even there.
Last week I saw a lady in the grocery store with a bag of Cheetos. I didn’t know her but thought I would have some fun with her. I told her that anyone who would buy Cheetos could be a good friend of mine. Her response? She said, Thank you, Bob. She surprised me. I still have no idea who she was but she certainly knew me. Doesn’t it make you wonder how many folks watch us as we go through our normal day? What example did we give these folks as they watched?
When we call ourselves followers of Christ, people intentionally watch us. People want to see what makes us so different as Christ followers. Sadly, for some, there is no observable difference between the behaviors of Christ followers and the behavior of others who make no such claim.
I see some who claim to be followers of Christ who are sad all the time, feel like the Bible is a weight around them keeping them from the fun in life. With sad faces and much complaining these people invite you to follow Christ too!
After watching some of this sad behavior most people would run from an invitation to follow Christ if the result is perpetual sadness.
For those who really are true followers of Christ, scripture talks about the joy that comes from a relationship with Christ. In fact, scripture mentions the word joy over 300 times! Scripture mentions happiness more than 30 times. Joy is actually one of the fruits of the spirit mentioned in Galatians 5.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness…
As I look at another verse in Matthew 7 I find this:
Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.
So now I must wonder about those who profess Christianity but are terminally sad. The sad fruit being produced identifies that person. Something is missing in their relationship with Christ. It has to be. The scripture is clear on the fruit that must be in the lives of a follower of Christ.
Let’s build our relationship with Christ so we exude joy and happiness. This doesn’t mean we’re laughing all the time and don’t have problems. It simply means that we can experience joy knowing that God will see us through whatever we may face.
For all those people watchers watching us, let’s make sure that folks realize the tremendous joy that comes from being a follower of Christ. Let’s give the watchers a desire to experience the joy found in Christ. Someday someone may ask what makes you so different from others because they witnessed your joy.