Read His Words Before Ours!
As humans, we are constantly in search of satisfaction and pleasure. We want to feel good. One easy way to feel good is through partying. “Let’s have fun!”, we say. After all, we are social beings; doesn’t God want us to “have fun” together?
But, as Christians, should the pursuit of fun be our top priority?
Can it satisfy the yearning of our souls?
To answer these questions, we first need to understand what fun is, and what God’s Word says about it. A quick online search defined fun as:
- What provides amusement or enjoyment (Merriam Webster)
- Something that brings pleasure, or playfulness (Yourdictionary)
- Pleasure, enjoyment, or entertainment (Cambridge dictionary)
- Enjoyment of life to the fullest potential (writer Lisa Smith)
Based on these definitions, we might decide fun is all about enjoyment and pleasure, but what does the Bible say? Unfortunately, the specific word “fun” seems to be scarce in some translations of the Bible. However, one study suggests that within Scripture, fun is synonymous with pleasure.
For example, consider Luke 8:14, when Jesus uses a story of seeds falling into different types of soil to illustrate how the Gospel is received by different audiences.
The Message translation actually uses our English word fun:
“And the seed that fell in the weeds–well, these are the ones who hear, but then the seed is crowded out and nothing comes of it as they go about their lives worrying about tomorrow, making money and having fun.”
The same passage in the New International Reader’s Version uses pleasure, instead:
“The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear the message. But as they go on their way, they are choked by life’s worries, riches, and pleasures. So they do not reach full growth.”
Not only does this verse demonstrate the synonymous nature of fun and pleasure within Scripture, but it answers an important question on the role the pursuit of fun ought to play in our lives.
Are fun and pleasure inherently sinful?
Not at all! In fact, God designed us to live in community, as a reflection of the perfect community He experiences within Himself (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). Enjoying, or finding pleasure, in doing life together is a gift.
When the pursuit of momentary pleasure becomes our top priority,
when we leave the bounds of healthy relationships in search of an ever-more-fleeting emotional high,
or when we shift our hearts away from gratitude to our Father as the source of the blessings of community and pleasure,
the work of the Spirit within us is choked, or crowded out.
As believers, when we are considering a fun activity or choice, we can ask ourselves:
Is it beneficial?
And does it glorify God?
Scripture explains, “‘Everything is permissible,’ but not everything is beneficial. ‘Everything is permissible,’ but not everything builds up [. . .] So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:23, 31)
Perhaps someone may say in light of giving up certain pleasures for the glory of God, “If that is all about the Christian life, then it is a dull life”. I also thought that way when I had not known Christ well.
Steering clear of fun as an end unto itself can leave us feeling dull, or deprived, or even resentful, until we turn our gaze from our abstention to all the Father offers instead.
It is in knowing God in ever increasing fullness, we find He alone provides a life overflowing with abundance of joy, abundance of intimacy, and abundance of everlasting pleasure.
Even the best of earthly pleasures pale in comparison to knowing God. King Solomon, the wisest and richest king of Israel, states succinctly, “I said to myself, ‘Go ahead, I will test you with pleasure; enjoy what is good.’ But it turned out to be futile.” (Ecclesiastes 2:1)
Fun cannot give us fulfilment; we may feel excited for a moment, but as our feelings fade, we are left more frustrated. And that was the experience of Solomon. He had the money, time, and influence to try whatever he liked. Therefore, he experienced fun through a steady stream of entertainment, amassing unimaginable wealth and accomplishments, and pursuing every whim of momentary pleasure . . . but at last, it was all meaningless.
When we remain on our own, we are bound to feel empty and depressed; as a result, we seek things to amuse us. But if we are sincere with ourselves, how satisfied have those fun things left us? Haven’t they left us emptier and more depressed?
What we truly need is not momentary pleasure, but that which makes us more like our Father and deeply satisfies the yearning of our souls. True transformation, true satisfaction, and true pleasure are only found in a consistent relationship with Jesus Christ, and submission to the leadership of the Holy Spirit. The Lord Jesus said He came that we might have life, and have it more abundantly (John 10:10); in Him alone do we find the sacred path for our lives, fullness of joy, and eternal pleasures (Psalm 16:11).
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!