Nehemiah 8:10 (NLT2)10 And Nehemiah continued, “Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the LORD is your strength!”
Having a good time is not a sin, but we should pay attention to the principles God has laid out for godly living when we do engage in leisure activities. First and foremost is;
Colossians 3:17 (NLT2)17 And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.
When we are relaxing and having fun or when we are seeking entertainment, we should always make sure these activities are pleasing God.
Fun, like everything else we do, grows out of your heart. What you are on the inside determines how you live on the outside. What you do is who you are.
Luke 6:45 (NLT2)45 A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.
James 4:1-2 (NLT2)1 What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you?2 You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it.
For us it is not about work or play, but about bringing glory to God in all that we do. There is nothing more fun (enjoyable or pleasurable) than glorifying God.
1 Corinthians 10:31 (NLT2)31 So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
These spiritual conditions are fear, discontentment, and anger. If you have ongoing patterns with any one of these things, you will struggle to enjoy life.
Fear – A person who is overly concerned about what others think about them is bound to their opinions rather than God’s view of them.
Proverbs 29:25 (NLT2)25 Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the LORD means safety.
If this is the case, they are not free to have fun. Fear stands guard around their hearts, which keeps them in bondage.
Discontentment – Without sound awareness of the freedom that you have in Christ, you will become discontented.
Your discontentment will grow as you fail to enjoy fullness that the Lord provides. The temptation will be to give tacit acknowledgement to the Christ-life while pursuing “fun” like the world, those who do not understand the gospel. They have not tasted the victory we have in Jesus.
Psalm 34:8 (NLT2)8 Taste and see that the LORD is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!
If you’re discounted you’ll always look for a quick fix, rather than engaging and enjoying the fullness of God’s blessings.
Anger – The result of fear and discontentment is the frustration. These things working together will make you angry, which is a set up for a trap. In time, you will overreact by throwing off the shackles of religion and begin acting like the world.
Those coming out of a legalistic culture, whether it is a condemning church environment or a critical home, do this. They jump from legalism to licentiousness because they want to have “fun.”
In their haste to get away from a no fun religion, they jump “over the gospel” and fall flat into pleasure-seeking. They would not characterize themselves as angry, fearful, or discontented but if you spend enough time with them, you’ll know..
Galatians 5:1 (NLT2)1 So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.
By Brad Rymer
So I commend the enjoyment of life, because there is nothing better for a person under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany them in their toil all the days of the life God has given them under the sun. – Ecclesiastes 8:15
What about fun? Is it okay for Christians to have fun? How much fun? What kind of fun?
It depends on what you mean by "fun".God wants us to enjoy ourselves. But pleasure can be serious business. In today's scripture, an assembly of Israelites is instructed to enjoy themselves. They had just listened to a reading of the sacred Scriptures and were crying and mourning over how poorly they had been paying attention to God's Word regarding how to live purposefully and reverently. It is interesting to see how preceding and following a time of pleasure were periods of studying the "Book of the Law"
Nehemiah 8:1-2,13 (NLT2)1 all the people assembled with a unified purpose at the square just inside the Water Gate. They asked Ezra the scribe to bring out the Book of the Law of Moses, which the LORD had given for Israel to obey.2 So on October 8 Ezra the priest brought the Book of the Law before the assembly, which included the men and women and all the children old enough to understand. 13 On October 9 the family leaders of all the people, together with the priests and Levites, met with Ezra the scribe to go over the Law in greater detail.
After hearing the reading of Scriptures, the Israelites were told to have a feast, to celebrate. They were celebrating with the joy of the Lord.
To pursue pleasure sensibly, we need to include God. We need to be grounded in God's life instructions.
When we leave God out, we tend to revert to our sin nature. Our priorities get out of balance. Pursuing pleasure can become more important than anything else. We tend to revert to our sin nature and may even pursue evil desires leading to addictive and destructive behaviors.
How do we include God? By finding joy in His love for us and our walk with him. By asking him to help us find balance in our lives. By finding ways to have fun that don't lead to disobedience to the Scriptures. By always putting him first in our lives.
Father, I thank you that you want me to enjoy times of fun and celebration. You are the creator of fun and you love to see your children enjoying the world and gifts you've given them. Help me not be afraid to have fun. Help me pursue fun in ways that honor and bring you joy. In Jesus' Name, Amen.