CHRISTIANS AND HAVING FUN
by Roger D. Campbell
“Let’s do something fun.” “That’s no fun.” “That was the most fun I have had in a long time.” These are common statements which both Christians and non-Christians make. At one point in our life, we may think constantly about doing things that we consider to be fun. Later in life, however, many people, while they still have playful thoughts, begin to think much less about fun stuff, their definition of “fun” changes, and the activities in which they participate “just for fun” may be different.
Some folks seem to have the idea that Christians should never be happy, never smile, and never have fun. In their minds, being a Christian is a life of drudgery, burdens, and void of any fun. God wants us to work (2 Thessalonians 3:10-12), but there is also the reality that having days off from work, going on vacation/holidays, or simply having a change of routine can be helpful to a person’s mind and health – a time for rest, relaxation, and revitalization. Jesus once told His apostles, “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while” (Mark 6:31).
When we consider the Bible’s teaching, we see in it no command or principle which would forbid God’s children from having fun. Loving life is something that the Bible portrays in a positive way (1 Peter 3:10). In addition, it is written: “A merry heart does good, like medicine” (Proverbs 17:22). There are, indeed, benefits in being able to enjoy life, laughing, and, yes, even doing “fun” stuff. While that is true, it is essential that we keep matters in proper perspective. With that in mind, here are a few reminders for each of us to keep in mind.
- It is okay to have fun, but it is not okay to become obsessed with having fun/going to excess. Being “lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God” (2 Timothy 3:4) does not please our Master. We must learn to practice self-control in our approach to fun things. Even for fun activities which are lawful, let us each share Paul’s mentality: “I will not be brought under the power of any” (1 Corinthians 6:12). It certainly is not a laughing matter when a person becomes addicted to video games, sports competition, or sending text messages to friends. Covetousness is idolatry (Colossians 3:5), and so is being obsessed with fun affairs.
- It is okay to have fun, but it is not okay to have fun in a way that is a violation of God’s will. Sinful fun is off limits for the saints of God. Make no mistake about it: sin is pleasurable (Hebrews 11:25), but the Lord charges us to “abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul” (1 Peter 2:11). So, as we consider our options of fun things to do, we need to choose those which do not endanger our souls.
The world’s idea of “a good time” often involves drinking parties (1 Peter 4:3), unrestricted sexual activity (1 Thessalonians 4:3), cutting down other people by rude and inconsiderate words (Colossians 4:6), driving recklessly, dancing/lewdness, and pornography. The discerning disciple knows that participating in fun-filled activities which involve the works of the flesh will prevent a person from inheriting the eternal kingdom (Galatians 5:19-21).
Surely it goes without saying, but it never hurts to remind ourselves: having “fun” during our worship assemblies is the height of irreverence (Psalm 95:6). Sending text messages, whispering jokes, or engaging in some type of competition with others during worship are such blatant actions that we find it repulsive to even mention them. Yet, some members of God’s church do those very things as they sit in a worship service. The saddest part? They are not at all ashamed and do not know how to blush! (Jeremiah 6:15).
Another form of forbidden “fun” is the type of activity which brings harm to people. Some find it enjoyable to destroy the personal property of others. Others think it is cool to say things which hurt another person’s feelings, self-esteem, or even their reputation. The followers of Jesus are supposed to be compassionate, tenderhearted, and considerate (1 Peter 3:8), treating others in the fashion that we would like them to treat us (Matthew 7:12). Though some consider it fun, there is nothing spiritual about being obnoxious, mean-spirited, and a jerk.
- It is okay to have fun, but it is not okay to allow fun to interfere with our commitment to God. Our God is more important than doing something fun! Our hearts must be set on spiritual things, not the affairs of this world (Colossians 3:1,2). Our priorities must be clear and inflexible: God comes first (Matthew 6:33), above everything else. That includes having fun.
When our commitment to fun things conflicts with the worship time of God’s people, worship takes precedent over fun! When family gatherings are scheduled at the same time as the services of the local congregation, God still comes first! When we make expenditures in fun-related activities, let us not spend money in such a way that we are forced to reduce our contribution to the Lord. Fun is fun, but it is not fun when marriages struggle because one of the spouses is obsessed with fun hobbies.
- It is okay to have fun, but let us not forget that God expects us to be wise stewards of the time and resources which He has placed in our hands. “. . . it is required in stewards that one be found faithful” (1 Corinthians 4:2).
God is not opposed to us being happy, but let us strive to keep our longings for fun under control. Good, clean fun is great. Soul-damaging fun is not.
Note: The above article is extracted from the TRUTH, a monthly periodical dated March 2010.
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