Thursday, July 16, 2015
Temporary Fun or Everlasting Joy
“You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11
God created fun, happiness, leisure, joy and things that lift the human heart. In His goodness and mercy to us He created joys we experience on earth. He is a refuge and resting place for us, He places dreams in the human heart, laughter and joys. Ultimately though, pursuing the kingdom of God doesn’t mean that we only pursue ‘fun’ and make a sacred cow of it. Fun and entertainment are an idol in most of American society. Most people work hard to make a living, and with their leisure time pursue only fun. This is hedonism-when pleasure, fun and self-indulgence are seen as the chief goal of life. To many people, hedonism is like a religion, they follow pleasure as if it’s a lord and master.
The entertainment industry makes billions of dollars a year because of our addictions to being entertained. Sometimes pursuing fun can become a temporary high like shopping---being thrilled with the new purchases but bored in a day or two and moving on to the next ‘spree.’ Concerts, movies, shopping, and endless activities designed to entertain us have numbed our spirits to what God wants us to pursue. They have dumbed us down to God’s true joy and life giving spirit. God’s joy is everlasting--- fun is temporary and the pursuit of pleasure will never be satisfied by the pursuit of the entertainment this world offers. It is not mandatory for believers to participate in the modern day roman colosseum entertainment.
Finding fullness of joy in God makes the heart satisfied. When we are content and resting in God, we don’t pursue the world’s so called satisfying entertainments with the same enthusiasm. Walking God’s path of life we can see behind the masquerade of entertainment, excitement and materialism. Pursuing pleasure and our own ‘happiness’ can truly blind us to the depth of riches God has for us to possess if we will only seek Him first.
God’s people are not meant to pursue all of the pleasures those who do not know God make a life of endlessly chasing. God’s word speaks of the older women being ‘sober minded’ and full of ‘good works.’ We are told by God to “glory in the Lord.” We find joy in God, doing the work of our hands He has placed before us, pursuing Him and glorifying Him. He gives us good gifts from above to enjoy, but they come from joy in God and seeking first His kingdom. They are not an idol above God, but a gift from Him to be thankful for.
Prayer: “Lord, show me how to pursue you and not entertainment to numb myself. Show me how to find my rest and pleasure in you. Reveal to me the fullness of joy in your presence that I may come to know you more. Amen.”
“Light is sown for the righteous, and joy for the upright in heart.” ~Psalm 97:11
“But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves.” John 17:13
“These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” John 15:11
“If this sense of need and a feeling of dependence are at the root of natural religion, it is not hard to see why the great god Entertainment is so ardently worshiped by so many. For there are millions who cannot live without amusement; life without some form of entertainment for them is simply intolerable; they look forward to the blessed relief afforded by professional entertainers and other forms of psychological narcotics as a dope addict looks to his daily shot of heroin. Without them they could not summon courage to face existence.
No one with common human feeling will object to the simple pleasures of life, nor to such harmless forms of entertainment as may help to relax the nerves and refresh the mind exhausted by toil. Such things, if used with discretion, may be a blessing along the way. That is one thing, however, the all-out devotion to entertainment as a major activity for which and by which men live is definitely something else again.
The abuse of a harmless thing is the essence of sin. The growth of the amusement phase of human life to such fantastic proportions is a portent, a threat to the souls of modern men. It has been built into a multimillion dollar racket with greater power over human minds and human character than any other educational influence on earth.
And the ominous thing is that its power is almost exclusively evil, rotting the inner life, crowding out the long eternal thoughts which would fill the souls of men, if they were but worthy to entertain them. The whole thing has grown into a veritable religion which holds its devotees with a strange fascination; and a religion, incidentally, against which it is now dangerous to speak. For centuries the Church stood solidly against every form of worldly entertainment, recognizing it for what it was—a device for wasting time, a refuge from the disturbing voice of conscience, a scheme to divert attention from moral accountability.” ~A. W. Tozer “The Great God Entertainment”