I couldn’t hold it in. I was overflowing inside from celebration, pride, excitement, praise…every positive emotion you can imagine! I felt like my heart was going to explode; so, I shared our good news with a group of believers: our daughter had accepted Jesus as her Savior!! And there it was…what I wasn’t prepared for: silence…”What?!? These are believers, right?!?” Their reply, or lack thereof, had me wrestling inside, disappointed, and, honestly, angry. Why would believers not be outwardly excited about this with me?!? Someone…my little someone…had become a Child of God!!! That was worth celebrating…loudly, I thought!!! Yet there was no “amen,” no clapping, no “woo hoos,” no congratulating…no smiling, even, from the group. Yeah. You can imagine the polar shift in emotions I felt. Where was the joy, the celebrating?
In the last post, we touched on how Manoah, in Judges 13, responded to the good news he received from the Angel of the LORD: he desired to give honor; because the object (God) had an abundance of honor, it caused the subject (Manoah) to be overwhelmed with satisfaction and pride, wanting to brag profusely about the object (God), the object’s (God’s) abilities, and the object’s (God’s) achievements. At the end of the post, we took time to chew on what wonders God has done in our lives, if we’ve been overwhelmed by His character and goodness, and if we have freely offered honor/glory to God by bragging profusely about Him, His abilities, and His achievements. As I pondered this, myself, after publishing the post, the LORD put His blessing on this little rabbit trail…the one I went on in my mind during this pondering. I know we have been looking at Judges 13, and we’ll get back to that. This is just a trail worth journeying!
So, the question is…How do we respond to good news?!?
“Like cold water to a weary soul is good news from a distant land.”Proverbs 25:25 NIV
This verse is talking about not just wanting good news, but craving it, like a weary athlete craves water after exerting herself to a high level, feeling like she will faint, if her body doesn’t get water soon! The soul, spoken of here, is where our desires are located that fulfill our physical needs. I’m not just talking about desires for needs we know we have; this includes deep-seated desires we don’t, yet fulfilling those needs provides the proof we need in order to convince us that that need really did exist in us. We may not even recognize our body needs it, but once we hear good news and feel its positive affects, it gives us the proof that our body was in desperate need and often leads us to crave more!
Is this us?!? Do we crave good news and visibly show how refreshing and fulfilling it is to hear it? If we don’t, could this be why people aren’t comfortable with sharing good news with us (or maybe, even, others because of our response to their good news…or lack thereof)? Maybe, they’ve gotten out of the habit of bragging on God, His abilities, and His achievements, because they have stopped looking to Him as the Source of the good news or believe no one will celebrate with them, anyway? I hope this isn’t the case, but it’s made me wonder, as I hear a small number of people contagiously bragging on God these days.
“Light in a messenger’s eyes brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones.”Proverbs 15:30 NIV
There are a number of translations that translate this verse to say, “Bright eyes gladden the heart…” (or something similar). I think the NIV, here, is one of the translations I like better, as, I believe, it translates the meaning more accurately; here’s why (get ready; my inner grammar geek is comin’ out, again). “Bright,” here, would be used as an adjective, a word to describe the eyes. However, in Hebrew, the word for this is “maor” and means “luminary,” which is a noun, not an adjective. Not only that, but it’s meaning is construct; this means that someone is influential in one’s life; someone has inspired him or her (whether or not what the influential person said has been proved to be true, the one receiving the message has the idea that it is, because how the influential person lives sets a light off in this person’s mind, as he or she watches this person of influence).
This kind of influence, inevitably, helps develop one’s view about God, whether right or wrong. Jesus, being shown in the way we look at people and in the way people see Him in us, can inspire joy deep in someone’s heart. We, through the power of God’s Spirit, have the opportunity to positively affect people (the whole person–his or her heart, mind, will…soul!) when we show them Christ! That’s what a luminary shows to and inspires in others.
Good news is something someone hears…with the ears. It’s any kind of report, any teaching. Have you thought about how what you say impacts others? Even how you say what you say makes a difference on the kind of impact, whether it’s positive or negative. We see, in this verse, that good news, what is pleasant to someone’s ears, has a positive affect on the hearer’s physical body. The Hebrew word for “bones,” in this verse, is an absolute noun, which means that it’s definition of “bones, substance, self” is a thought that someone believes is true in any situation. So, consider that…the good news of God we share, when thought and believed to be true by the hearer, has the ability, through God’s Spirit, to have a positive affect on the hearer’s physical body, not just in a spiritual sense.
SO,…good news (what is pleasant to our ears) can have a positive affect on our bodies when we accept it as truth. If someone is sharing what God has done in their lives, and it falls in line with the Truth of God’s Word and His character, this could have an amazingly positive affect on someone, should they accept it as truth. So, why is it that when we hear someone speak of how God is working in their life, sharing pleasant news about seeing God’s hand of provision, a testimony of change in someone’s heart, we close ourselves off and not let it seep in to have positive affects on our physical bodies? Why do we feel we have the right to judge if it really happened or not, if this person’s character is, indeed, trustworthy, and what he or she is saying happened lines up with God’s character? Why do we not celebrate with others that God did something wonderful in their lives? What’s at the root of our response…or lack, thereof? Is it pride, jealousy, judgment, criticism, fear, deception,…?
Take some time to consider any recent stories of joy you have heard, as someone described how God was present and working through them. What was your response? If it wasn’t a reply that would encourage them to continue sharing the good news, I pray you will keep this in mind in future interactions. I pray that how we respond to good news will have sharers and hearers both being met with the blessings of God, as we allow ourselves to not only brag about Him, His abilities, and His achievements ourselves, but encourage others to do the same! If we accept His hand, working in someone’s life, as truth, we may feel the positive affect on our own soul and, in turn, begin to share their story with our circle and add to it stories of our own! What an impact we can have on God’s kingdom through our lives and the lives of other people!
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