Summary: Why I should draw the line where God does in order to lead a fulfilling life and properly respresent the Christ following life to the unchurched.
Last week we concluded from Scripture that God isn’t the bogeyman some people make Him out to be. (“Does God Punish Us When We Sin?”)
Instead of being inclined to punish us when we sin He is actually more inclined to show us mercy. He loves us so much that Jesus suffered our punishment. When He does punish is not in vindictiveness. His punishment is just because it stems from His perfect nature and His desire to protect. If we trust in Jesus and walk in the light, our sin and punishment problem can be solved.
Today in our series on “The God Questions” we’re going to try and clear up another vital misconception about God. This is another mistaken belief, sadly, that unnecessarily keeps people from enjoying God’s friendship.
The church should address any misconception that Satan uses to discourage people from knowing God.
Here’s the dilemma: because God has given us guidelines on how to live (“Here are the things you should do; here are the things you shouldn’t do.”), many have wrongfully concluded that God is a killjoy, a transcendental wet blanket who throws cold water on all of our attempts at having fun.
His rules are a big “keep out” sign to a lot of people. And they think the activities God wants us to abstain from must surely be wonderful experiences. He’s just keeping them from us because He’s so paranoid that we might become God-like ourselves.
This is an old trick the tempter has used since the beginning. Remember what he said to Eve about eating the forbidden fruit?
The tempter’s lie:
“God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.” Genesis 3:5 (NLT)
Paraphrase: “God’s just trying to keep you from something that will advance your knowledge, your bliss, your gratification.” Believing that lie turned out to be a very costly mistake for the human race. Eve is not any guiltier than the rest of us. We’ve all fallen for it.
Because of this misunderstanding a lot of people don’t want anything to do with God. People who have bought into this misinformation and propaganda see God as a grinch and they imagine the life of a Christ follower as dull and boring. They’re afraid that if they follow Christ their life will be stodgy and stuffy. They don’t want to lead the colorless existence they erroneously believe you have to live in order to be a Christ follower. To them, part of the package of following God is you have to be somber all the time and frown a lot.
If you’re one of those people that doesn’t want to live a bland life (which is probably most of us) - the Bible, God’s Word, has some very good news for you!
God did NOT create you to live an uninspiring, uninteresting, and unstimulating life! God formed you with this tremendous propensity for joy and pleasure – and yes, even fun. He wants you to use this passion He has given you to live life to the fullest! He is NOT trying to keep you from enjoying life by giving you rules. He’s trying to give you boundaries in order to help you enjoy the kind of life for which He created you!
Jesus Himself made this very clear. He said:
“The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).” John 10:10 (Amp)
Circle “have and enjoy life.” Doesn’t sound to me like Christ intended for His followers to go around frowning all the time. What Jesus taught us is – living a life of frowning is the devil’s game. He’s the thief who wants to rob us of our zest for life. Jesus came so that we could have real life and enjoy life!
I’m not saying that enjoying life is about fun and pleasure all the time, or even that seeking fun and pleasure should be our main goal in life. But God not only created us with the capability of enjoying fun and pleasure but also with the divine approval of doing so.
Just because He gave us boundaries for our own good doesn’t mean He is against us enjoying life. He’s simply trying to protect us from doing things that will eventually bring us harm and sadness. He’s trying to teach us to live a balanced life.
Let’s start with sex. Is God against sex? Is sex a guilty pleasure or a godly pleasure?
Well we happen to be in luck as far as knowing God’s answer to this inquiry because this very question was asked and answered in the Bible - when Paul was corresponding with the church at Corinth in ancient Greece!