Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

We can and should Enjoy life, but not Everything is about Having Fun!

Meditation for the week of April 7, 2013

Heb 9:27  And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment
Heb 12:11  Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

What is our purpose in life?  Is it not to glorify God?  Is it not to love God and to love one another?  Is it not being concerned about others and being willing to sacrifice self for “the greater good?”  Isn’t that why soldiers are trained or disciplined to fight for their country?   Are we who preach the Gospel making it clear that life is not all about the here and now, but it is also about the afterwards?  Are we making it clear that while joy is an important result of a godly life, “fun” is a word that is not even found in the Bible?  The idea of having fun is in the Bible because many people “partied” and they had unpleasant experiences afterwards.  Normally this partying included alcohol and today it includes other intoxicants.  But while Christians can and should be happy and they can and should be filled with joy, their objective in life is to glorify God and not to have fun.

I was saved because of my concern about the “afterwards.”  I knew this life was not all there is and when I died I wanted to be in heaven and not in hell.  People today want to preach a gospel that makes our present life more worthwhile.  It seems to be politically incorrect to tell people that if they die without trusting Christ as their own personal Savior they will be punished in hell for eternity.  Many people want to be spiritual but not Biblical.  But I was saved because preachers were faithful about the concept of a very unpleasant afterwards for the unbeliever.  After I was saved, I quickly realized that the life of a Christian was a life of discipline.  We are called to be disciples.  In school, I studied the discipline of accounting.  It took work.  The joy came the night I got a call saying that I had passed the CPA exam.  But the road to that call involved work, study, focus and a lot of money for tuition.  It involved going to a lot of classes and taking a lot of tests.  We call that discipline.  We don’t call that fun.  Those who come to college simply to have fun usually do not have the joy of getting a degree.  Christians are called to be disciples who learn from and who follow our instructor or master.  The road isn’t always easy.  The lessons are designed to teach us sacrificial living and not self-indulgent living.  It is not all about having fun.

Now fun is not all bad.  In Luke 15, it taught the prodigal son the emptiness of life.  He didn’t “repent” until he had spent all and had no place to turn but to the Father he had misused.  He thought he was living when in reality he was “dead.”  He didn’t find “joy” until he came back to his father who loved him and who was willing to pardon him.  But the self-indulgent life was not a life that satisfied.

John the Baptist lost his head after a birthday party for Herod.  In Daniel 5, Beshazzar lost his life after he had a drunken party where he rebelled against the Living God of Heaven.  He should have been defending his city but instead he was “having fun.”  There are parties in the Bible that I think the Lord honored.  I think of one where Mary was sitting at the feet of the Lord, listening to Him.  Martha was so busy serving that she missed the joy of communion.  The Lord attended feasts and meals and weddings.  He used them as times to teach.  His objective in going was not to kick back and “have fun.” 

Even Solomon found out that a life lived for self was empty.  After he had tried everything that life has to offer he said, “Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done And on the labor in which I had toiled; And indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind. There was no profit under the sun (Ecclesiastes 2:11).”  He had partied, he had built, he had acquired, he had obtained.  People thought he was great.  He had become self-indulgent.  But his life and heart were empty.  There was NO PROFIT in anything he had enjoyed under the sun.

I believe that we all need a reason to get out of bed in the morning.  We need to have purpose in life and we need to have things that we look forward to doing.  But “fun” is not the answer.  Living for self is not the answer.  Christians are disciples and that requires discipline, training, instruction and even chastisement.  We need to be honest with people when we preach the Gospel.  We need to tell them about the discipline required by a  true disciple.

The Christian life is a blessing and our afterwards is secure.  But the Lord has not called us to “have fun.”  He has called us to be disciples and to make disciples and that requires discipline.

Bruce Collins

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