From Duty to Delight

How many of you have seen the news about John Crist? I have to admit, I LOVED John Crist. I thought he was funny, I could relate to 99.9999% of what he said, and I could play the videos with children around. It was the best of both worlds. I’m not trying to be rude, but it’s usually rare for a Christian comedian to be as funny as a secular one. John Crist seemed to have that down.

Then the allegations broke about his sexual misconduct. And then we found out that women had been accusing him of inappropriate behavior for years, but no one listened. Shocker. Honestly, he wasn’t even trying to hide this stuff. Drinking a ton, sexting tons of women, sending graphic videos, and so forth. Truthfully, this man just hid behind the Christian culture and assumed he wouldn’t get caught.

But here’s where I’m having trouble. I’m definitely not one who idolizes Christians and thinks they are immune. In fact, some of the people responsible for hurting those I love most have been “Christians.” But, at what point do we have a responsibility to change the narrative among sexual abuse in the Christian setting? Was John Crist a pastor? No. Was he a spiritual leader? No. Did he use Christianity as an outlet to make a ton of money? Yes.

For those of us who grew up deep in the purity culture, hopefully this will make sense. How many of you remember your youth group meetings going something like this:

Girls: “Remain PURE until marriage.”, “SAVE yourself for your husband.”, “Don’t DEFILE your wedding day.”

Boys: “Once you have sex, you won’t be able to stop.” “Girls will tempt you, so don’t put yourself in a situation you will regret.”

The narrative from an early age was this……girls, don’t make yourself unclean before marriage and guys, don’t do something you can’t stop. It gave the impression for a girl that once she messed up, it was over. She was damaged. Boys were given the impression that they just couldn’t control themselves. After all, they are men for goodness sakes. Boys will be boys.

Do you remember when Paul told people to follow him, because he was following Christ so closely? He felt confident enough to tell people that if they follow him, they would essentially be following Christ. Paul followed Christ out of pure delight.

What if we followed Christ, not out of a sense of obligation, but because He had the very best for us. Because we knew His way would lead us to absolute abundance. It wouldn’t mean things would be easy, or we would be rich, or never get sick, or never experience tragedy, but simply that we would be delighting in the things of Christ.

I’ve mentioned before that I love the story of the woman at the well. I love the idea of someone feeling so discouraged and broken, but leaving with so much hope and amazement. She leaves ready to tell anyone who will listen. To me, that is the picture of pure delight. Whatever law had been imposed on her before, she had clearly not followed. She was sleeping around, living with a man, and had a terrible reputation. And yet, when she decided to follow Christ, things changed. She no longer worried about following this long list of rules and obligations. She simply followed Him.

Our Pastor said something recently that I love. He said he’s praying for us to move from duty to delight.

How amazing would it be as Christians, if our duty turned to delight. Maybe our sons wouldn’t objectify women, because Christ would NEVER objectify women. Maybe our girls wouldn’t feel pressured by society, because Christ sees them as amazing as they are. Maybe Christians would truly be transformed by delighting in Christ. And maybe, just maybe, this narrative of abuse would stop.

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