Saturday, August 18, 2007

# 214: Are We Having Any Fun Yet?

The question this bumper sticker is indirectly asking is: “What is fun?” Let’s start by giving Webster’s definition of fun. Webster says: “a fool, foolish, or fonnen, to be foolish. 1a) lively, joyful play or playfulness; amusement, sport, recreation, etc. b) enjoyment or pleasure; 2) a source or cause of amusement or merriment, as an amusing person or thing." The question I ask is this: Why do we as humans desire to be amused? I am certain there can be a variety of answers to that question. But is there a core reason why we like to have fun? Proverbs 17:22 says, "A cheerful heart is good medicine." That sounds like a good reason, if fun gives us a cheerful heart. I think a better reason is that it gives us a break from the serious side of life. And who doesn’t need an occasional respite from life?

But without knowing it, having fun, like most other activities, can easily become addicting. There is an old adage which is a warning to all peoples: “Do something once, a habit is started; do something twice, a habit is born,” and once a habit is formed, it is extremely difficult to break. Am I recommending we should stop having fun because it may be addicting? I will a give a short commentary on that question shortly.

One of the main reasons we engage in fun is because it usually is easy. Another reason: It seems life without fun would be incomplete. Why? Regardless what type of lifestyle we are living and how great it may seem, it could be lacking a primary component: a clue, a controlling purpose and a dominating reason for living. And I can guarantee that if one thinks drinking, smoking, wealth, even inordinate sex, etc. is difficult to stop, having fun is even more difficult to control.

The reason being, most will say, “It is not harmful or even sinful to have fun.” That is partially true. Another truth: Our subconscious mind is a sum total of everything we have ever said, done, thought and seen. With that fact in mind, our conscious mind can indicate to us the difference between actuality and make-believe, but our subconscious is not able to differentiate reality from fiction. Therefore, when we have to make a correct decision, we rely on our past experience as an indicator to tell us the course we should take. Another unknown most humans forget is that a majority of life’s experiences rely on our subconscious to direct us.

This principle is seen more so in the young when they get involved in bad behavior. Those who watch the most violent actions on TV, etc. are more inclined to act out what they saw. The older we get, the more blurred it becomes, as we are unknowingly acting out what we saw, did or thought. This old adage comes into play: “We become like those we gaze at.”

Therefore, the time we spend enjoying ourselves is shaping how and what we will desire to have and do tomorrow. Put another way, the more fun we have at the present, the more we will want and do in the future. It eventually will come to where doing fun-type activities that are relaxing, enjoyable, pleasant, and easy to handle, such as sports, vacations, eating out, movies on TV, DVDs, movie theaters, along with many other types of activities, will be the dominating desires in our lives. Some will say, “Isn’t that what we all are living for, to have life easy?”

Let us analyze “fun” from a Biblical point of view. If the majority of people in the world were asked, “If you had a choice, what sort of life would you desire, bar none?” I am certain the vast majority would want a life that is free of stress, worry, physical effort, lack of hatred (where all people get along), and most of all, security from all harmful and distasteful uncertainties. Is that asking too much?

It is very unlikely that many, if any, could ever acquire that blissful type of life. I tell you a mystery: That is the type of lifestyle we subconsciously are seeking. That is why fun-type activities worm their way into our lives.

How many genuine Christians include the aforementioned premise in our lives? One thing is for sure: If a person only claims to be a Christian and attempts to exclude fun from one’s life, he/she will be an unhappy and unfilled person. I have met a few like that. I heard a story of a pastor on an airplane flight coming home from some missionary work; he was offered some ice cream at break time. His response was, “Oh, no; I can’t indulge in eating ice cream; it would be sinful.”

Repeating, how will a mature Christian respond to the fun question? Let me quote a verse from Philippians 4:7. “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” There is the answer for Christians. It is the peace of God that makes our lives full of the presence of Jesus Christ. A full measure of that Godly peace will make worldly fun undesirable and unnecessary. Yes, that peace and joy will make the genuine Christian life overflowing with completeness.

Here is what that Godly peace consists of: living in certainty that all will go well, regardless of what happens, meaning we will live in the joy of the Lord in all circumstances. Let’s go one step further. Genesis 1:26. “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him, male and female he created them.”

Now here is the point: in all the thousands and thousands of years since we were originally created, through our God-guided evolution process, mankind has strayed, to say the least, from the Godly characteristics and attributes we were endowed with. But that doesn’t mean those innate instincts went away. No. The desire to live in a serene, utopian/heavenly environment is still with us all. That is the hidden reason we desire life to be easy, pleasant and carefree. But that is not even close to how life is, so we do the best we can to make it like the storybook Shangri-La. And having fun is the best way the lost (those who don’t obey Christ’s teachings) know how to acquire that heaven-like peace. Ephesians 5:6. “. . . God’s wrath comes on those we are disobedient.”

The only problem is that all fun-type activities will leave us empty as to meaning and purpose in life because the more we engage in them, the more we need them—I know; I have been there for years. They are not able to permanently fulfill our need for lasting tranquility, peace and joy, which only our connection with our Lord Jesus Christ can suffice.


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