The Paris Effect…
Psychiatrists call it "The Paris Effect." It simply means the disappointment that many first-time visitors to Paris experience after hyped up expectations from the media. A recent (2015) article in The Wall Street Journal explained: "It was Dr. Hiroaki Ota, a Japanese psychiatrist working in France, who first identified the syndrome in the 1980s, which often affects women … who arrive expecting an affluent and friendly European capital where slim, beautiful Parisians walk around smelling of Chanel."
The article went on to note that many Japanese, and now Chinese, visitors "expect a place full of romance, beauty, and wealth. Instead, they find pavements peppered with cigarette butts and aggravated commuters in packed metro trains … For some, the shock is too much to bear, prompting them to seek medical help for symptoms that may include irritability, fear, obsession, depressed mood, insomnia, and a feeling of persecution by the French. In extreme cases, the only remedy is a one-way ticket out of France."
In other words, disappointment sets in when visitors realize that daily life in the City of Light is nothing like the romanticized vision in movies like Midnight in Paris and Amélie, or Sofia Coppola's evocative Dior commercials. The suggestive images of Paris in the media inevitably build up high expectations and create a lot of room for disappointment.
We all know that life is full of disappointments and most disappointment is tied to our perceptions and circumstances. When our perceptions are less than expected, we’re disappointed, and our happiness is affected accordingly. But we can also experience a kind of spiritual “Paris Effect” when our spiritual expectations are determined by our feelings rather than our faith. Many Christians lack joy in the Lord because they have elevated their feelings over the facts of God’s Word and faith in its truth. They ride the wave of circumstantial happiness and miss out on the steady peace and joy of in the Lord.
So how do we avoid the spiritual “Paris Effect”?
- By Rejoicing in the Lord always (Phil. 4:4)… that means focusing on Christ rather than focusing on my circumstances.
- By allowing the Word of God to shape my thinking (Rom. 12:2)… that means the perceptions of the world become servant to the truth of God.
- By being filled with the Spirit of God (Acts 13:52)… that means the Spirit of God in us brings the consistent joy of Christ to us no matter what is going on around us. Acts 13:52 tells us that the disciples experienced hostility toward their Christianity, but they were undaunted and full of joy because of the Holy Spirit operating in them.
Speaking of Joy… today we bring in our “Sacrifice of Joy” offering. I trust that you have been seeking God and listening to His voice and are ready to bring an obedient and sacrificial gift today as we catch up our ministry budget and make a substantial gift to world missions.
God gave His best for us in the sacrifice of His Son, so it is a joy to give sacrificially to Christ and His work— Let me say thank you in advance for the sacrifices you’ll make today and in the weeks to come. This is an act of worship… it will bless God, and allow God to bless you through your obedience.
Remember, God is always trying to take you someplace new. I love being your Pastor!!!!
For God’s Glory Alone,