Sometimes a bad dream ruins a good night’s sleep. I had one of those where some people were having fun, but what they were doing distressed me. Getting back to sleep was impossible. However, the Lord put a song into my mind and as I praised Him. The dream was not real, and He changed my distress to peace, even joy.
I’ve had people say they didn’t want to be Christians because that would ruin all their ‘fun’ which suggests that some ‘fun’ activities would not win God’s approval or please the church. Maybe so, but the good news that any so-called fun activities disapproved by God and His people are replaced with something far better.
Jesus speaks in general that instead of those who “come only to steal and kill and destroy,” He has a better plan. He says, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10) Abundant means “considerably more than one could expect or anticipate.” Is abundant life better than fun?
The Lord adds specifics to this abundance. He promised His disciples: “Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” (John 16:24) Answered prayer is awesome, and joy is far richer and longer lasting than fun.
Perhaps some have a false idea of fun. For one thing, it totally depends on circumstances. On the other hand, God is the source of joy and it is ours as a gift. Things that turn us away from God might be fun for a while, but like the wise man said, some things seem right at the time, but lead us down a dark path.
Jesus probed at the motivations that cause people to reject Him:
“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.” (John 3:17–20)
What do darkness lovers really believe? Is their philosophy of life like my dream where life’s pleasures seem fun at the time, yet fades because it is fake fun that depends on activities, things, other people, stuff? In some ways, that kind of fun is like my dream — at some point it goes poof and is gone.
Dreams are usually illogical too, but the Bible definition of faith seems to fall into that same category:
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1)
Fun-lovers can see what gives them pleasure, but they cannot see God or the results of faith until they experience it. Yet biblical faith is more than the verbal description. The Bible describes by what happens to people who have it. Hebrews 11 gives many examples, and yes, some faith-filled men and women die — persecuted for their faith. (Need I say that everyone dies?) Some give their lives to serve in harsh and demanding conditions — yet there are categories of ‘fun’ ruin health, mental stability, the capacity to think with wisdom, relationships, and a host of other important things in life without anything to show for it. Faith produces a different set of values.
Faith also comes with the gift of the Holy Spirit who gives us attitudes as we live our abundant life: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22–23)
Faith means freedom from the tyranny of selfishness and sin. Faith means fullness and meaning in life. Faith means intimacy with God and insight into His plans for this planet. Faith means forgiveness and freedom from guilt. Faith means total delight in doing His will. It means power and a sound mind, wisdom, hope, assurance for the future even the future after this life is over. Loving Jesus makes me extremely happy. My search for ‘fun’ never satisfied me as He does.
Jesus, You gave me emotions that I might experience life in its fullness. Never let me be satisfied with ‘fun’ if it means abandoning the deep joy that You give, a joy that carries me through good times and bad, and never leaves me wishing for more perks to keep my mood up!