The reason the whole world is not in the Church is because they looked inside one once. They’d rather go to a baseball game, where they know they will at least find some measure of joy.

But seriously, over the centuries an attitude of sobriety and solemnity toward the things of God has developed in the Church. We have come to associate all that is grave, solemn, reserved and heavy with the fear of God, thinking seriousness correlates with a respect for His presence.

At times, stillness is called for. At times, we need to be quiet in the presence of God, showing our love and respect for Him by not speaking and simply listening to His heartbeat. But if seriousness, stillness and gravity are our predominant attitudes before our Father, then we are seriously out of balance.

Throughout Scripture we read of emotional and physical reactions to the presence of God. When God shows up, people are totally overwhelmed. They don’t know how to react. Often they fall flat on their faces. “As Jesus said ‘I AM he,’ they all drew back and fell to the ground!” (John 18: 6 NLT). “When I saw him, I fell at his feet as if I were dead. But he laid his right hand on me and said, ‘Don’t be afraid! I am the First and the Last’” (Revelation 1: 17 NLT).

At other times, the reaction to God’s presence is one of reckless abandon and devotion, which is something others frequently find hard to process:

“Others in the crowd ridiculed them, saying, ‘They’re just drunk, that’s all!’” (Acts 2: 13 NLT). “David danced before the LORD with all his might. . . . Michal, the daughter of Saul . . . said in disgust, ‘How distinguished the king of Israel looked today, shamelessly exposing himself to the servant girls like any vulgar person might do!’” (2 Samuel 6: 14– 20 NLT).

The truth is, God wants us to experience the full spectrum of human emotions and express ourselves appropriately to Him. One person’s appropriate reaction today might be stillness. The next day, joyful abandon. But I believe our attitude should mainly be one of joy— because our Father delights in it and finds joy in our happiness.

Girl Painter

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