The Dangers of Joy and Light

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The following is a guest blog from Jason McIntosh, worship leader at Spirit Life Church.

The Dangers of Joy and Light
Jason McIntosh

2012 was kind of a rough year. A really rough year in fact. Actually let’s just say the whole thing, well… sucked. In a nutshell, my marriage crumbled and ended in divorce. 

It was not by my choosing. 
It was not what I wanted for my life.
But these things happen regardless. 

Now I’ve always considered myself an optimistic type of person. Irritatingly so in fact. But after the divorce I found myself growing increasingly bitter. I was negative about everything. On the surface I still laughed and carried on as normal but I could tell I wasn’t the same. I felt this constant cynicism knotted up inside of me. And though I think most of you could understand, I’m ashamed to admit that after a while it became a comfort. 

Let me briefly switch gears here and geek out for a moment—non-nerds, please be patient for a few moments, I promise we’ll get back on topic.

I love the Lord of The Rings. There’s a scene in the first book where they are leaving behind a city called Lothlorien. It’s an enchanted city run by an Elf woman named Galadriel who radiates light and beauty. There’s a character named Gimli, who had no idea that such beauty existed, and as they depart he says,

Gimli:
Tell me, why did I come on this Quest? Little did I know where the chief peril lay! Truly Elrond spoke, saying we could not foresee what we might meet upon our road. Torment in the dark was the danger that I feared, and it did not hold me back. But I would not have come, had I known the danger of light and joy.

The danger of light and joy.

He knew this quest would be dark and dangerous. He knew he would face unspeakable evils and battle in unjust wars. He even knew death was a very likely possibility! But he still came. And for all his bravery and heroism he is suddenly brought low by the crippling force of light and joy.

The danger of light and joy.
He knew this quest would be dark and dangerous. He knew he would face unspeakable evils and battle in unjust wars. He even knew death was a very likely possibility! But he still came. And for all his bravery and heroism he is suddenly brought low by the crippling force of light and joy.

Let’s be honest for a second. We love the darkness. At least some of the time. 

We hold on to our grudges. We keep a record of wrongs. We fight with our spouse. We slander our neighbors. We Lie. We Lust. We Gossip. We Cheat. 

In essence, we struggle with our flesh. We’ve come to know this as “fighting the good fight,” but what happens when we forget that the point of fighting a fight is to win? 

Christians love to tell each other what they’re struggling with. As if the merit is earned in the fight itself and not in the actual triumph of victory. How many of the things that we struggle with now are the same things we struggled with a year ago? 5 years ago? 10?

We love to hold onto our burdens. They comfort us. They vindicate us. They give is a sense of purpose. And they’re killing us…

What’s that one thing in your life that you’re holding onto? The thing you know is probably not good for you. Maybe you’ve even offered up some half hearted prayers and you’re now just sitting back waiting for God to “work his magic,” but deep down you feel that you’ve struggled with this for so long you can’t even imagine what life would be like without it.

Now imagine giving it up completely.    
Never taking another drink.
Confessing to those you’ve lied to, cheated on or spoke bad about. 
Forgiving your spouse or your parents or your children.
Letting go of personal affronts.

Can you picture it? Terrifying, huh?

This is the danger of light and joy. Or to say it another way,    This is the danger of following God. When we follow God our pretenses fall away. Our carefully crafted walls come crumbling down. Our secrets are found out.  We are completely and utterly known and hopelessly exposed. It’s scary to give into this but I believe its the better way to live. I don’t want cynicism to be my comfort anymore.

It’s hard,  but in 2013,  I’m choosing to walk in the dangers of light and joy.

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Jason McIntosh is the worship leader of Spirit Life Church. Check him out weekly at our Sunday morning corporate gatherings in Piqua. Click here to learn more about Spirit Life Church.

2 thoughts on “The Dangers of Joy and Light

  1. Jason,

    I read this and was so much reminded about something they talk about in AA program. Taking another person inventory and cause and conditions. By focusing on others shortcomings we are able to justify our own. Staying in the problem we never find the solution. The truth is that if I am not the problem then there is no solution. Now, I don’t put much faith in 12 step programs but, I believe God gives wisdom if we keep our eyes, ears and minds open to it. I don’t introduce myself as “Jim, I’m an addict.” I am Jimmy Huff clean and sober by the grace of God. I have wisdom to discern others problems and see where things go wrong for them. But, in order to change my life I stay focused on what is Jim’s problems. I confess my shortcomings because I believe it is our secretes that make us sick. But, as you have so well stated, that is just one step on the road. I cannot live dishonestly and expect to overcome in the name of Jesus. In all my ways I must do my best to follow what the word and the spirit tell me to do. Something that works well for me is that when I am feeling a certain way I go out and do the direct opposite for someone else. If I am feeling bitter, I find something nice to say about someone who needs to hear a good word. Feeling mean spirited. Tell someone why I love them. You get what I’m saying. It is the action that changes my perception. This is not self help I am speaking of either, it is all things God wants us doing anyhow. It is the power of God infusing these acts of love with His grace in the ministry we are called to. God bless you.

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