The gospel changes everything (Pt. 3): Humor and Joy

We're in a series where we will see how the gospel of Jesus affects every area of our lives. Each post will look at how the truth of the gospel changes how we view a certain aspect of life and its implication in our lives.

My wife and I are both big fans of comedy. Some of our favorite shows are pure comedic genius and throughout our marriage we've been able to share the joy of laughing together at Michael Scott, Leslie Knope, Joey Tribiani, or whatever character Melissa McCarthy is playing. 

Some people think that humor, laughing, and even joy don't (or shouldn't) have a place in the Christian life. But the gospel actually allows us to experience and enjoy humor unlike any other belief system or worldview. 

Rather than taking ourselves too seriously (like legalism and moralism often demand), the gospel allows us to constantly see how greatly we are loved, how much we've been forgiven, and frees us to bask in that great news. “When we should cry because of our sin, we laugh.” Martin Luther famously said. Rather than having a hopeless view of the future, through the gospel we know how it ends. Regardless of what horrible suffering or pain we go through, we know it isn't eternal, nor are we alone

Because of the gospel, we have confidence that our lives have meaning. We know that even the boring day to day activities of life are important and have real, actual, and eternal consequences. We're being used by the creator of the universe to bring about his Kingdom. Our words can truly bring life to others, both in this life and for eternity. 

Because we are saved by God's mercy alone, we have the greatest news in the universe as our reality. "It is a miracle that we are Christians, and the gospel, which created bold humility, should give us a far deeper sense of humor and joy. We don't have to take ourselves seriously, and we are full of hope for the world" -Tim Keller. 

Christians can actually laugh and experience joy without needing to naively turn a blind eye to the condition of our world. Through the gospel we know there is hope, we know God is in control, and we know his character. Instead of worrying, Jesus calls us to trust him and seek his kingdom.

No longer do we have to be anxious about our wealth, looks, success, health, reputation, or acceptance as if that is our sole identity. Through the gospel we are wanted, chosen, loved, kept, adopted, and accepted. When we remember that and begin to believe it, how can we not laugh more and experience great joy? When we remember that Jesus' kingdom and church are advancing and not even the gates of hell will prevail, how can we not rejoice and smile in thankfulness?

"Our doctrine of sin keeps us from being over-awed by anyone (especially ourselves) or shocked by any behavior. We find a lot to laugh at, starting with our own weaknesses. They don’t threaten us anymore, because our ultimate worth is not based on our record or performance. Our doctrine of grace and redemption also keeps us from seeing any situation as hopeless. This “ground note” of joy and peace makes humor spontaneous and natural." -Tim Keller

In the gospel, we know what God's will for us is. And it isn't a worry filled, stoic, joyless life. But rather: "Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus." -1 Thessalonians 5:16-18