Categories: Expressing God
How do we know if we're having fun?
We're usually smiling or laughing. We feel good about ourselves and those who are with us. We feel excited, safe, and we have a sense of peace about what we're doing. We're doing what we love, enjoying life.
But when we start to feel uneasy, unsafe, worried, and restless, we know something is up. If we're too focused on ourselves, if we're ignoring potential negative consequences, if we're arguing against our better judgment, we're probably not having fun.
Sometimes things look like fun, sound like fun, or feel like fun, but aren't truly fun because they lead to pain and hurt. The story of Adam and Eve is a classic case of misunderstanding fun (Gen 3). Adam and Eve had everything they could want, and they were having a blast. They were in Paradise!
Then the serpent enters. The serpent doesn't tell Eve that she'll be kicked out of Paradise. The sneaky animal doesn't explain the negative consequences. Nope. It tells her she'll be like God. Who wouldn't want that? And so, she engages in what she thinks will be fun; Adam joins in; and then they both realize what they've done. Big oops! Too late.
There are lots of different serpents in our lives today that try to tempt us with "fun," telling us: "You'll be better off. It's only once. A little bit won't hurt. It'll be fun." This is serpent reasoning, and it only leads to disaster. Unfortunately, the media has reported tragic outcomes of what some kids thought were fun activities.
- Parties with lots of drinking and/or drugs end up with people getting hurt. They're put in compromising positions, which take away purity and often end up damaging self-image, respect, and others' property.
- Posting inappropriate material on the Internet has ended in tragedy. Girls have committed suicide because boys took advantage of them and then posted what happened online.
- Watching TV or playing video games all the time doesn't allow part of the brain to develop – the part that enables people to interact with others. As a result, those who spend a lot of time with screens don't know how to cope with others and often become violent. Generally, these people end up in jail. (The book Magical Parent Magical Child! talks about a lot of these studies.)
To avoid negative results, let's do a "fun check." This isn't your usual checklist; it's one that will ensure fun.
- Does the activity glorify God?
Paul told the Corinthian church, "So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God" (I Cor 10:31 ESV). This is good advice for us, too. Is there a spiritual purpose in this activity? Can we express Godlike qualities, such as rhythm, grace, persistence, joy?
- Is the activity pure?
Jesus tells us in the Sermon on the Mount, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God" (Matt 5:8 NIV). Phillips' translation of this is: "Happy are the utterly sincere, for they will see God!"
- Am I being wise?
Am I placing myself in a position where I could be compromised, lose sight of my values, or be unsafe? Am I disregarding common sense? Am I listening to the angels or to that intuition that says to go for it? A wise person wrote: "Fools enjoy doing wrong, but anyone with good sense enjoys acting wisely" (Prov 10:23 CEV).
- Will I still respect myself or have God's approval after doing this?
Would I want to tell others about what I've done? If we can't tell others about it (unless of course we're planning a surprise party), then we shouldn't do it because there's something not right about it. Will I regret it? We read in the Bible: "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth" (2 Tim 2:15 NIV).
- Will this activity result in feeling blessed?
The Old Testament is full of passages that say if we follow God's rules, then we'll enjoy a long life. If we put God first and give to God, then, "says the Lord of Heaven's Armies, 'I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won't have enough room to take it in!''' (Mal 3:10 NLT). Putting God first also means loving others, as Jesus explains.
If you can answer positively to all these questions, you're having fun! And you're growing spiritually in the process.