There are glad songs of victory in the tents of the righteous: “The right hand of the Lord is exalted; the right hand of the Lord does valiantly.” Psalm 118:15,16
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Philippians 4:4
What’s the most dramatic moment of victory you’ve experienced? Was it the last-minute field goal for the championship series win? The day your boss finally had to admit that you were right? And at least nearly indispensable? And worth a large raise? Was it the day you paid off the last of your debt? The day you achieved your goal weight?
Do you recall the adrenaline rush on the day of that victory? What did you do when it occurred? Perhaps you pumped your hands in the air. Maybe you did a little whup whup dance or shouted “Woo hoo!” You might have been a little more subdued and simply gone out for a celebratory dinner or gave your spouse a joyful hug.
All of these expressions of joy are appropriate in their proper context. Sometimes, however, our rejoicing surpasses the degree appropriate to the win. A colleague likes to ask the question, “Is the juice worth the squeeze?”. I would ask whether or not the win is worth the celebration. Are the things we celebrate worthy and good as well as substantive and truly consequential? I would add as well, are our celebrations over wins that are at the expense of a brother or sister in Christ?
Kenny Hatfield is a dedicated Christian football coach. He was asked one day after football practice, “Hey Kenny! Did you talk with God about the game tomorrow?”
“Sure did,” was his simple answer.
“Who’d he say was going to win?”
“God said he don’t care,” was his simple answer.
God does care when righteousness prevails over evil. He does care when one lost sinner is found. He does care when godly people respond in grace and kindness toward others. He does care when people pray and acknowledge his answers to our prayers.
All those celebrations are centered in God, his goodness, faithfulness, justice, and love. They all celebrate something that God has done through Jesus Christ. So let’s celebrate that raise, that good diagnosis, that personal goal achievement! Let’s say, “Woo Hoo!” when our team wins. But let’s rejoice more deeply and fully in the gifts of God’s grace and mercy in Jesus Christ, and bring him glory now and forever.