A Christian’s Secret Joy | Ignite America
Episode 2

A Christian’s Secret Joy

If you claim to follow Jesus and don’t have joy, something’s wrong. But when you do, people will want to know your secret! Join Barry and special guest Eric Metaxas as they discuss how God fills you with joy when you pour into the lives of others.

Listen on:
Subscribe to our channel

Show Notes

If you claim to follow Jesus and don’t have joy, something’s wrong. But when you do, people will want to know your secret! Join Barry and special guest Eric Metaxas as they discuss how God fills you with joy when you pour into the lives of others.

Host Barry Meguiar is a car guy and businessman who hosted the popular TV show, Car Crazy, on Discovery Networks for 18 years. He loves cars, but he loves Jesus even more!

Hear from guest Eric Metaxas who is the New York Times #1 bestselling author of Fish Out of Water, Martin Luther, If You Can Keep It, Bonhoeffer, Miracles, Seven Women, Seven Men, and Amazing Grace. He has written more than thirty children’s books, and he is the host of the Eric Metaxas Radio Show — a nationally syndicated radio program heard in more than 120 cities around the U.S.

Learn more about:

Check out IgniteAmerica Certified Statistics:

Find resources to help ignite your faith and move everyone, every day closer to Jesus at  IgniteAmerica.com — including the Ignite ePrayer app (available on the App Store and Google Play), Faith Sharing Stories, One Minute Inspirations, SeekingGod.org, and more. Sign up to receive emails that will deliver practical faith-sharing tips and powerful inspiration.

Episode Transcript

Barry Meguiar 

Welcome back to another episode of Ignite and here with Eric Metaxas. Of all guys, can you believe this? No, he calls me he says, Hey, I’m in town for a night. Can we hang out? Try to hang out?

 

Eric Metaxas 

I’m in town. I got no credit. I can’t get a room. Help me out, bro. Come on.

 

Barry Meguiar 

Right? So oh, gee, you know oh alright if you, if we gotta you know? Yeah

 

Eric Metaxas 

He’s like but you got to do the podcast anyway Eric.

 

Barry Meguiar 

We’ve had a lot of fun over the years, but he is Eric Metaxas of course and I love this guy because, you know, Jesus was fun. We, I mean, we have all these austere, serious pictures of Christ and rightfully so. But then people get afraid of Him like He’s not approachable. And I like, I love Eric because he does it better than me. But I still feel that serving God is fun.

 

Eric Metaxas 

Better be? Well, you know, it’s funny because we say we all use different words. What if we say joy, right? People get that? You know, like, if if you do not have joy, and you claim to be following Jesus, you gotta think something’s wrong. Because it doesn’t mean there’s not sorrow. It doesn’t mean there’s not gravity and such. But if you do not have a secret joy in the midst of it, you’re missing something key. And that’s what I appreciate about you. Because of Christians that come across as what we call religious and austere. Most people look at that and go, you know, what you have? I’m not interested in that. Yeah, that’s not very attractive to me.

 

Barry Meguiar 

But most people don’t want to be Christians. They don’t want to be like that. But that’s what statistics tell us that.

 

Eric Metaxas 

That’s right. And it doesn’t mean there’s not a there’s not a place for weeping but it’s in some ways the the truth that you express and weeping is very similar to the truth you express in laughing and in rejoicing. And so I think that that’s one of the things I just appreciated about you, Barry, that you you see that that’s really central somehow to the to the whole thing. So thank you for you know, flattering me by claiming that I like to have fun. Yeah, I’ll take it.

 

Barry Meguiar 

Well, you’re you’re not just fun. You’re zany fun I mean.

 

Eric Metaxas 

Zany. I don’t know if that’s biblical. I don’t know.

 

Barry Meguiar 

How do you? How do you write the definitive book on Bonhoeffer, CS Lewis? And yet do a TV special like he did for Christmas?

 

Eric Metaxas  

Most people don’t know about that thing. What are you talking about? Listen,

 

Barry Meguiar 

Right into the streets of New York.

 

Eric Metaxas 

The fact that you saw that means everything to me. I’m not kidding. But you don’t. But you don’t understand. Most people have no idea what we’re talking about. I did, I’ve done a lot of comedy. But I went to the folks at TBN. Now, because they air my program on there. It’s just once a week. I mean, I do eight hours a week, but they take a half an hour on the weekends. But I said to them, let’s do an old fashioned Christmas Special. Now, without going into details. You want to see it. Like you won’t actually believe it, you’ll be shocked. I didn’t even believe I didn’t even believe him when he said it was weird. But I did. Now I understand how weird and crazy. And it really was. And I think we’re airing it on a loop on Lyndale TV, this month. But the point is, it was the first time I had an opportunity to really do comedy, comedy. And at least in a way that people would see. So thank you for appreciating it and seeing it. Because I think more people who will see it will just think like, I don’t know, I don’t know who this guy is. I can’t be the same guy with the Bonhoeffer book. That’s just weird.

 

Barry Meguiar 

That does not make sense.

 

Eric Metaxas 

Well, what can I tell you?

 

Barry Meguiar 

And you’re sitting where, Mike Lindell was here. And I said to Mike, okay, like, I don’t want to hear about voter fraud. I don’t want to hear about pillows. I don’t hear. Why is it where you go, you share your faith. And he just exploded it was, it was really great. But you know that there’s a different joy and happiness. Happiness is based on your circumstance we be happy.

 

Eric Metaxas 

Because I’m an English major. And because my great grandfather in Greece was into etymology, I got the etymology gene. I care about the meaning. It means where words come from the origin of words. Okay, so when people use the word happy, okay, happy, of course, is related to the word happenstance, happy in other words, it means an occasion. So when somebody says you’re happy, it really means you fit you’re lucky you’re, you’re in a moment of things come together and everything’s great. We know that joy is not dependent on circumstances. So when people say happiness, you know, it’s kind of like saying, you you’ve had a wonderful happenstance. And you’re like, you have no control over that. Right? Things come and go, tragedy. Victory, Joy. Joy, is from within and so I’m not against the word happy but you’re right the word happy, in fact, in the Declaration of Independence, when they talk about the pursuit of happiness, in a weird way there, you could argue that that’s wrong. It should be the pursuit of joy, but we won’t talk about that.

 

Barry Meguiar 

But it’s so true. And you can see people that are joyful. There are a lot of Christians. Most Christians aren’t joyful. They’re, you know, that there’s a server, we do a lot of statistics, you know, we just were crazy about statistics. You know, there’s actually a video on it. Well, if you Google, why are Christians so? The answer that, I mean, it’s astounding. Why are they so mean? Why are they so unhappy? Why are they so negative? Why are they so damning?

 

Eric Metaxas 

The only problem is Google is from the pit of hell. Right, in parentheses. So we don’t know if that’s a real thing, or if they’re inserting that, but it’s perception issue we have in our culture.

 

Barry Meguiar 

They never mentioned love. Why? Why are? And they should know us by our love. If we’re disciples of Christ, and that’s joy, you knew that about as good or better than anybody I know. So if

 

Eric Metaxas 

Well if you can fake joy, folks, you’ve got it made. I always say that. No, it’s, it’s interesting, because listen it cuts both ways. I know, so many people who have profound faith in Jesus, who have joy, who are loving, the media often portrays us negatively. Sometimes we participate with that. But sometimes we don’t. And I just think it’s important to say it, as you’re doing now, that if you know Jesus or claim to know Jesus, there better be some evidence of joy in your life. Because if there isn’t most people, I think, look at you and they say, if there’s such a thing as truth, if they said, if I try to put it all in together and try to figure it out, I would expect that there would have to be some joy, that religiosity that, that austerity, that doesn’t seem if there’s such thing as truth, it doesn’t seem to me that it would look like that.

 

Barry Meguiar 

Does it sound like you don’t like religion?

 

Eric Metaxas 

Well I mean, religion, a negative sense of religion? In other words.

 

Barry Meguiar 

What? Why? What is the difference between being religious and hearing what you’re talking?

 

Eric Metaxas 

I think, I think we’re, words are funny, right? Because the word religion, there’s nothing wrong with the word religion, but it has taken on negative connotations. And so, what we Christians often say is, it’s a it’s about a relationship with Jesus, it’s not about a religion. Because a religion implies a set of beliefs and standards and a moral code. That’s all very nice. But that’s missing the heart of Christian faith. If you walk with Jesus, all of that stuff follows. But you can fake all of that stuff, and miss the relationship with Jesus. So I think it’s important for us to say over and over and over again, it’s a relationship with Jesus, if you haven’t, your life will change, you will see your behavior. But it’s not about the behavior. It’s about the relationship.

 

Barry Meguiar 

Now we both know a lot of people that are religious, dot the i’s and cross the T’s and do all the right things that don’t know God. But they’re very religious, and they’re very proud that they’re very religious. Pharisees.

 

Eric Metaxas 

That’s the other side of it is that I mean, if you if you really have to break it down to the most basic thing, let’s this is the most basic people say like, what is the good news of Jesus Christ? What are you talking about? This gospel is good, what is the basic thing? I say, here’s what it is: We are infinitely separated from God, we are so far from him, that if you start climbing the ladder to get up to heaven, you could start now, in a trillion years, you won’t have scratched the surface of getting to Him, it’s so far away, you’ll never get there. Religion is about I can make it, I’m going to do it. And I’m going to I’m going to get there. In fact, quicker than you or I will climb faster than you. It’s like a moral competition, right. But Jesus says, unless you become as a little child, you can’t enter the kingdom of heaven. In other words, a little child realizes I am sort of hopeless. If God doesn’t lift me up to heaven, I’m never going to get there. And so we have to realize that if there’s an infinite distance between me and heaven, the only way I’m going to get there is if God is going to reach down and pull me up. That takes humility. So to recognize that takes humility, and to try to do it on your own is prideful. So those are really the two opposite poles between what we would call them the negative sense religion. I’m going to do this and this and this and this and I’m going to work my way up. Versus saying, you know what, I wish I could, but I can’t. And if I’m honest, I realize that the distance between me and God is just too much. If if He is the God that the Bible says He is, if He loves me, He will reach down. If I look up and say, Father, lift me up, He will reach down in His mercy. And He will pull me up. And if He doesn’t, I’m not getting there. That’s completely different than the idea that I’m going to do it on my own. I’m going to, I’m going to get there before you do. I’m going to work harder. I’m going to look down my nose at people who make mistakes. That’s not God.

 

Barry Meguiar 

It is humility, I want you to I’m very proud of my humility. And so

 

Eric Metaxas 

That’s my joke. That’s my dumb joke.

 

Barry Meguiar 

I got that from you. I got that from you. You know, there’s a there’s a wonderful story. We had no joy, Karen and I had no joy. We were doing everything we were kind of in our form doing religion. We signed up everything the church, we’re gonna go out and knock on doors, and we’re gonna be there and set up chairs. And it’s like, we’re trying to earn God’s love. And we were dry as could be. And then I met a guy by the name of Herb Ellingwood. He was, he was a, he was the legal fair secretary for President Reagan. I mean, for Governor Reagan. That’s what I meant, all the way back then. And he had more joy. And he was just telling me all these stories. He was sharing his faith with and I walked away from that man in tears saying, I want that joy. And I didn’t realize it sharing faith had something to do with joy. And so Karen started to say, okay, we’re going to not just do it once a while we’re going to do it all the time. We started doing it. And without her even knowing it all sudden, we’re having fun. It really works. And then we found this scripture in James- John 15:11. When you bear fruit, it’s this is the dry branches and the branches. When you bear fruit when you’re bearing Christians, my joy remains with you and your joy will remain full. And it’s so true.

 

Eric Metaxas 

Okay, so when you’re bearing fruit, in other words, when you are pouring out, it is only then that God is given the opportunity to fill you back up. So you give out and He fills you in, if you don’t give out God has to sit back and wait till you get empty. And if you never give out, you’ll never get empty. So yeah, it all makes sense.

 

Barry Meguiar 

It really makes sense. And we’ve been through we’ve both been through a lot of challenges in life, we lost our daughter, our 50 year old daughter. She just turned 50, a two and a half years ago, and I looked back and I cried more in that month or so time than the whole rest of my life put together. We were very close. She was like a clone of me and we just, we disagreed and everything. And we just, I loved her so much. I cried so much. But it didn’t cost us her joy. You know, and at her memorial service, we called it her Celebration of Life service, we had 1000 people there, over 9000 people watched the video of her celebration, how many people watch a video of a funeral? Over 9000 people watched. I was not happy.

 

 

Eric Metaxas 

You get you get to the heart of it. You get this I say to people I say if you believe you say you’re a Christian, or whatever you believe, you believe Jesus defeated death? Well, if you don’t act like it, you’re a hypocrite. So when somebody says, Oh, they’re dying, this person died, you say, yeah, did they go to heaven? Because if they went to heaven, it means they actually didn’t die. It means they transition from this life, to real life. Now, the point is, a lot of people say I believe that, do you really believe it? Cuz if you really believe it, and by the way, it’s true. You’re gonna, you’re gonna be different. You’re sad when someone leaves. I mean, of course you’re sad. But at the same time you say, I know where they are. I don’t hope they’re there. I know they’re there. It changes things. And I think we have to communicate at least I’ve been trying particularly lately to say to people, listen folks, don’t hope you know that heaven is real or don’t hope. You need to know because these things are real. This is not some like religious reality. This is either true or it’s garbage. It’s true. You can you can look into it. And you can you can see for yourself. But if you don’t have the time, take my word for it. This is true. This is not some philosophy or something like that. And I think a lot of people they’re afraid to know for sure for sure. So they just kind of act well I hope it’s true. I think we need to encourage people this is true. And God let’s put it this way: God wants you to know that it’s true. It’s His will, forget about what you want. It is His will that you know, it is true.

 

Barry Meguiar 

Yes, yes. And I can tell you folks, our daughter has been gone for two and a half years. I carry a picture of– Karen and I both carry pictures of Nicole on our phones. Okay, with the biggest smile she ever had, you know, look at it and every time I go, oh, I miss you, I don’t do that. And you’re even happier now you’re with Jesus. My daughter was with Jesus. If she’s happy, why should I be unhappy? Right? I mean, my daughter that I birth is with Jesus. She’s in heaven right now. It’s a whole different world when you know, when you know.

 

Eric Metaxas 

I was gonna say, but people need to know if I think I was talking about this recently. We’re at a point where I think God is forcing us to choose. Do you know this or not? Stop hoping. Like you need to know. You don’t hope one plus one equals two. If somebody said I hope to speak to you say that person’s an idiot. Yeah, well, when it comes to this kind of thing, you need to know it. I mean, there’s it’s not I don’t hope Jesus died for me. I don’t hope. It’s true. And we need to know it. And when things get tough, you need to know it and He wants you to know it.

 

Barry Meguiar 

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. With that we’ll close this episode. Good to have you back some time. Isn’t he awesome? Or what? For now, all we can say is see you next time.

Ignite America Logo

Great source of practical faith-sharing advice including how to start faith conversations, videos from everyday people who tell their faith-sharing stories, and the daily Ignite Your Life One Minute features.

Ignite Your Life Television logo

Entertaining 13-episode online show with guests from all walks of life who share practical advice and their stories about faith sharing.

Seeking God logo

Created to help people seeking God, help seekers get answers to their questions, learn about the faith journeys of other seekers, videos with insights into faith-inspiring words of Jesus, and how to.