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Three Cheers


These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.
John 16:33

While I was a teenager in Britain during the 1970s Ian Dury and the Blockheads conquered the pop music world with their number one single, "Hit Me with Your Rhythm Stick." That was followed shortly by another hit single "Reasons to be Cheerful" that rose to number three in the pop charts. By the time Ian Dury tried to relaunch his career in 1985 with a remix of those two earlier songs, the new British music sensation was Morrissey, lead singer of The Smiths. The interesting thing about Morrissey was that besides being known for his music, he was also known for his melancholy. His songs on the whole had depressive themes and tones to them, so much so that an interviewer for a British newspaper asked him what lyrics he would have chosen for the earlier Ian Dury song "Reasons to be Cheerful" had he written it. After a pause, and with a straight face he said, "I think it would have been an instrumental . . . No, it would definitely have been an instrumental."

Sadly, here is a man who finds no reasons to be cheerful. The lyrics of his songs repeatedly focused on fractured relationships, lonely nightclubs, the weight of the past, and the prison of the home. It seems that life for Steven Patrick Morrissey too often resembled "a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing," to quote Macbeth. Life for this pop star was to be lived in a minor key. For Morrissey there was no rousing anthem of hope.

In contrast, the disciple of Jesus Christ has three great and good reasons to be cheerful. It struck me sometime ago in reading the Gospels that Jesus told his disciples to be of good cheer on three occasions and for three reasons. These are what we might call the three cheers of the New Testament (Matt. 9:1-2; John 16:33; Mark 6:50).

The first reason a Christian should be cheerful is that our sins are forgiven and forgotten in Christ (Matt. 9:2). It is a wonderful thing to know the joy of sins forgiven. To know that the Damocles sword of God's wrath has been lifted from us because of Christ's death, and that our sin will not come into judgment (John 5:24; Rom. 8:1). This is the Christians' chief reason for joy and thanksgiving (Psa. 103:1-3, 10-12).

The second reason a Christian should be cheerful is that we are not fighting for victory, but from victory (John 16:33). While in the world, Christ did not sin, and death and hell did not win; therefore, the Christian is able to overcome under any circumstances through faith in the conquering Christ (Rom. 8:37; 2 Cor. 2:14).

The third reason a Christian should be cheerful is that Christ is with us despite what or who is opposing us (Mark 6:50). In the storms of life, our peace is anchored to the reality that Christ will not forsake us (2 Tim. 4:16-17; Heb. 13:5-6). Remember, peace is not found in finding a place where there are no storms, rather peace is found in knowing that Jesus is in the boat with us. You have reasons to be cheerful!