Is God Anti-Fun?
Should you be enjoying loud music? Should you be laughing with your friends? Should you be making jokes and dancing? All these activities and more are considered fun to most people. I know I enjoy a good joke and my daughter is an avid dancer.
Having fun is an essential part of our lives. It is what makes us feel good and keeps us psychologically balanced. So, why would we consider God to be against something that is good for us? We are His children, and He wants the best for us.
When we explore God’s word in relation to the world we live in, we can easily answer our initial question. God is not anti-fun. He is the complete opposite.
“You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand” (Psalm 16:11).
What Makes Something Fun?
Fun is defined as lighthearted pleasure, amusement, or entertaining. It is doing something that is enjoyable. The definition of fun leads us to think about how fun makes us feel. In my experience, when I am having fun, I am laughing or desiring to do that task again. For example, I love to garden. While this is a monotonous, tedious task to others, I thoroughly enjoy it. That is why I choose to garden every year at the first sign of Spring.
What we know about fun is that it is subjective. More than the definition, we must think about what is fun to you. What is it that you enjoy? What makes you laugh? What gives you that feeling of lighthearted pleasure? For the Christian, our answer should be God.
How Important Is Fun to God?
From the beginning, God put his desire for His children to have fun at the top of His priority list. When we look in Genesis, we see God creating the world we live in. His creation is filled with animals, vegetation, water, and perfection. He wanted His children to live in a world where no darkness could hinder their pleasure.
When God made man, his desire for us to enjoy the world around us becomes obvious. He gave us taste buds to enjoy our food with. He gave us the sense of feel and touch so we might experience the feelings of love and pleasure. God also gave us ears so we could hear the musical sounds of nature and the laughing of our families. Finally, he gave us eyes to take in all the beauty of his creation.
When the Israelites were led to the Promised Land, God gave them instructions to celebrate. In Leviticus 23 we read about the feasts God’s people were to enjoy. Each of these feasts includes a coming together of believers, a sacrifice, and a meal. All these feasts were given with the instruction to make them a lasting ordinance for generations to come. God wanted the people to never forget the blessings he gave them by continually celebrating together.
Even Jesus Had Fun
Jesus was God in flesh. He was fully God, but He was fully man. He had feelings just like us and throughout His time on earth, he even had fun. As a child, we can only imagine how Jesus acted. I think back to how my children enjoyed a box more than a toy. They enjoyed beating the wooden spoon on a pot more than the bouncy seat. Jesus probably enjoyed the same things as a child. He had moments of fun while growing up.
When Jesus begins His ministry, he does not stop having fun. In John 2, Jesus is attending a wedding party. While they are all enjoying themselves, Jesus’ mother tells him there is no more wine. Jesus instructs the servants and turns water into wine; He even tells the bridegroom “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”
At another time, Jesus had been teaching and people began to bring their children to Him. The disciples rebuked the people, but Jesus said “Let the little children come to me…” “As the children came, Jesus wrapped His arms around them and blessed them.
Jesus spent his years in ministry with twelve men whom He called to be His disciples. These men went everywhere Jesus did. The Scripture may not state it as fact, but we can presume Jesus enjoyed His time with these men. He enjoyed sharing meals with them and teaching with them. If not, would he have kept them around? Jesus loved His disciples, and we see that at the Last Supper. It is written that Jesus was reclining with them at the Last Supper (Mark 14:17-18).
Jesus experienced torment at the end of His life on earth, but He didn’t spend His entire life in misery. He was doing what the Father had tasked Him to do, and that was enjoyable.
Why Do We Think Christians Can’t Have Fun?
When I was a young girl, my grandmother’s neighbors would pick me up every Sunday for church. It was in that church that I was saved at the age of eight. When I began my teenage years, I stopped going to church. I had been told I could not listen to country music and serve the Lord. At the time, I didn’t understand why and where that command in the Bible was.
So, I couldn’t approach this question without wondering where the idea came from that if you are a Christian, you couldn’t have fun.
America was settled by Puritans looking for a place to worship freely. Throughout history we have been taught how pious they were and given an almost dreary take on their lives. In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s book “The Scarlett Letter,” we are given a picture of Puritans who are so strict they would humiliate another person for a mistake. In Arthur Miller’s play “The Crucible,” we are shown a cruel society hanging anyone they believed to be a witch.
Today, we have become a society that relishes hedonistic philosophy. If it feels good, then it is good. When Christians speak out, we are often thought of as cruel and unloving. We become like the Puritans who were believed to live dull lives. We can forget that just because the world says its fun, does not mean it is pleasing to the Lord. Paul shares in Galatian 5:19-21 that our sinful nature is obnoxious and if we live in that nature, we will not inherit the kingdom of God.
How Should Christians Have Fun?
Christians should be having fun! We should be the most joyful people on the planet.
“I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them” (John 17:13).
Our God is not opposed to us having fun. But He is opposed to fun usurping His authority in our lives. There will be times we must forgo having fun or experiencing pleasure to invest in God’s kingdom, but He does not ask this of us all the time.
We should be aware that pleasure is fleeting, but while we are in this earthly vessel, we can have fun. We can have joy. Christians can fellowship with others. We can laugh and make jokes. We can dance to music and praise our Lord in the beautiful creation He has made.
God is not anti-fun. He is a God who desires for us to have an abundant life with joy and happiness. He created fun and His desire is for us to embrace it. He wants us to show others how good He is by showing them how exciting our lives are living for Him.
“Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4).
My charge to you is to go out there and have fun!
Photo credit: ©Getty Images/nicoletaionescu
Ashley Hooker is a freelance writer who spends her time homeschooling her two children, ministering alongside her husband as he pastors a rural church in West Virginia, and writing about her faith. Currently, she is a contributing author for Journey Christian magazine. She has taken part in mission trips with the NC Baptist Men during the devastation of Hurricanes Katrina and Harvey in Mississippi and Texas. In her local church, she has served on various committees focusing in the area of evangelism along with traveling to West Virginia and Vermont to share the Gospel. Her dream is to spend her time writing and sharing the love of Christ with all she meets.