As a highschooler, I spent almost all of my out of school time at San Dimas Equestrian Center. I would have the foreman, Ed, pick me up many afternoons when I got home from school. And most weekends I would camp on the living room floor. There was this woman who boarded her horse, Dawn, who was a born-again Christian. Everyone knew. She told anyone who would listen. She would offer to take us kids to McDonalds for ice cream. BUT.....there was always a price. We would have to listen to her tell one of her "Bible stories". Rarely could I be bought. The other kids would go, and I would stay back, saying "I don't want free ice cream that bad!"
I wondered why she found it necessary to "push" her beliefs onto all of us. Couldn't she see we were all sooooo happy? She had made a mess of her life prior to being born-again, and we would all chuckle about how after she was finished "having her fun" and "sowing her oats" she gave it all up for Jesus. Of course, we said this with a huge eye roll.
I wish I could talk to her now. I realize now that she wasn't "pushing" but was "sharing". And I feel the same compulsion to share with others the difference Christ has made in my life. True, the Bible does command us to go out and share the gospel, to go and make disciples. But that is not what is propelling me. I think it is the fact that I have seen both sides, and I know that this side is soooooo much better. I feel more contentment and peace. I am full of joy. And I am not seeking something to fill a void in my life. And I want to share that feeling. Because before Christ, I just didn't know. I couldn't fathom that my life could really be that different, just by changing my belief system. But it is.
At this point, I know that "joy" is a much greater thing than "fun". People talk about how miserable they were before they came to know Jesus. I was pretty miserable. But I also had some fun. But here is what I found. I didn't give up "fun". Those things just kind of lost their "funness". Anyways, you feel empty after the fun fades. Joy keeps you full all day!
Here is what I have found. People know their life is not all it is capable of being. But they just expect it to get better - without changing anything. If they are miserable at work, they think they can close their eyes and push forward, and they will come out on the other end, and everything will be hunky dorey! If they have a relationship problem, they sit and wait for things to get better. Folks! IF YOU ALWAYS DO WHAT YOU'VE ALWAYS DONE, YOU WILL ALWAYS GET WHAT YOU ALWAYS GOT!!!!! Or..... No change = No change!
If you start living your life for Jesus Christ your life will change. At first it will get hard, as you learn, and as God starts changing the way you see things. It will get hard as He rearranges your situation. The bigger the mess, the harder the clean up. But it will happen. And you will experience contentment. You will experience the fullness that only joy can bring. And you will feel peace from knowing that you are never alone, because the Holy Spirit now lives in you.
AND THAT IS WHAT THE BORN-AGAIN CHRISTIANS WERE TRYING TO TELL US! And free ice cream to boot. What a fool I was!