July 2011

Some people seem to have the idea that Christians should never be happy, never smile, and never have fun. They apparently are convinced that if you are a Christian, then life is pure drudgery, a real burden, and no fun at all. While it is true that the Lord wants us to work (2 Thessalonians 3:10-12) and to be sober-minded in character (1 Peter 1:13), it is not true that happiness and fun times are forbidden for God’s children. The Bible plainly declares, “A merry heart does good, like medicine” (Proverbs 17:22).

It is okay for God’s people to be happy, upbeat people. In fact, that is the kind of people that we ought to be. Here are a few reasons why members of the Lord’s church ought to be the happiest people in the world.

 God wants us to be happy. “Rejoice always” (1 Thessalonians 5:16). “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4).

‚ We have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. The Father “. . . conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:13,14). That eunuch from Africa rejoiced after he was baptized into the Lord and had his sins washed away (Acts 8:35-39).

    ƒ God supplies us with all spiritual blessings. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3).

„ We are the Lord’s friends. Before we obeyed the gospel, we were His enemies. “And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled” (Colossians 1:21). Abraham was God’s friend (James 2:23), and Jesus told His disciples, “You are My friends if you do whatever I command you” (John 15:14).

… We have fellowship with the greatest people in the world because we are part of the best family in the world. The church is the house or family of the living God (1 Timothy 3:15). When one obeys the gospel, he/she becomes a child of God and is entitled to the fellowship and blessings of the family of God (Galatians 3:26,27). Those that forsake all to follow Jesus are given houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children. How? Through the great brotherhood that is ready to help and serve them (Mark 10:30; 1 Peter 2:17).

† We are headed to an eternal house. “For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (2 Corinthians 5:1). Yes, the followers of the Christ have a living hope, looking “to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven” for them (1 Peter 1:3,4).

‡ Happy saints attract others, but sad, sour saints that are always negative and pessimistic turn others off. The apostle Paul learned to be content, despite facing less-than-ideal situations in life (Philippians 4:11-13). From a Roman prison he time and again exhorted the saints in Philippi to be people of joy. Having that mentality is a matter of choice. I think Paul’s attitude would have moved them to work at being happy, don’t you?

ˆ When we walk in the light, we know that we are doing what the Lord wants (1 John 1:7). That certainly gives us a sense of satisfaction, a sense of fulfilling our real purpose in life.

So, yes, God’s children need to be happy people. And, it is okay for members of the church to have fun along life’s way. When it comes to fun and happiness, perhaps some reminders will be helpful.

(1) It is alright to have fun, but it is not acceptable to have fun that is a violation of God’s will. In other words, sinful fun is out. The world’s idea of fun is often unlawful behavior, such as  drinking parties (1 Peter 4:3,4), drugs, outside-of-marriage sex, gambling, looking at pornography, or even verbally attacking other people in sarcastic, belittling fashion. Works of the flesh close the door to heaven (Galatians 5:19-21).

(2) It is okay to have fun, but it is not okay to become obsessed with having fun (go to excess). Christians must not become fun addicts, acting as “lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God” (2 Timothy 3:4). In all things we must practice self-control and avoid become the slaves of anything (1 Corinthians 6:12). Watch out for addiction in fun activities – things like video games, sports, or even sending text messages to friends.

(3) It is fine to have fun, but it is not permissible to allow fun to interfere with our commitment to God. Our number one commitment must always be to God and His affairs – no exceptions! (Matthew 6:33). When games/sports/fun activities conflict with the times that the church assembles, then one who chooses fun time over God’s time sins against the Lord and His body. Again, those who reduce their contribution in order to have more money to spend on fun activities are not setting their hearts on things above, are they? (Colossians 3:1,2).

(4) It is alright to have fun, but we must not forget that our God expects us to be wise and faithful stewards of the time and funds that He has placed in our hands (1 Corinthians 4:2). Let us not forget the Source of our blessings (including fun time) or the need for us to keep our priorities in order. Let us make sure to keep first things first.

Roger D. Campbell

TRUTH is published monthly by the Klang church of Christ in order to help educate, edify, encourage, and equip the saints of God.

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