Is it wrong to have fun and enjoy life? Is it okay to love life? Is joyful living a sin? These are questions that used to haunt me as a teenager. I was on the verge of independence, eager to start out my own life. I had grown to love the Lord more than anything but I didn’t know if it was okay to have fun, enjoy life. I have a bubbly personality so this was indeed an important question for me. Should I suppress my joy?
What did I learn? I struggled, prayed, talked to mentors, struggled, prayed and finally came to an understanding that, actually, it would be a sin not to love LIFE that God has given you. We are not to love the world or things of the world but we are to love life and the Giver of Life. Loving life is the best thank you we can give to the Giver of Life. We are to love life and live our lives with thankful and joyful hearts. “Be glad in the Lord always! Again I say, be glad!” (Philippians 4:4, CEB)
We are to enjoy ice skating and family fun! We are to enjoy the sunrises and sunsets. We are to enjoy good laughs and sharing our life with others. We are to enjoy this life that God has given us. As long as we remember the Giver of Life and give thanks and praise for him. As long as we embrace what Jesus is asking us to do: “love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27, CEB)
We are not to be of the world but we have been placed to live in the world. It is a challenge to live a balanced life as a follower of Christ but we are not alone on this journey. God is willing to help us each step of the way if we are willing to receive the help.
I know that there’s nothing better for them but to enjoy themselves and do what’s good while they live. Moreover, this is the gift of God: that all people should eat, drink, and enjoy the results of their hard work. (Ecclesiastes 3:12-13, CEB)
Jerry Bridges points out that “God intends the Christian life to be a life of joy – not drudgery. The idea that holiness is associated with a dour disposition is a caricature of the worst sort. In fact, just the opposite is true. Only those who walk in holiness experience true joy.”
Our joy is not happiness of the worldly pleasures. Our joy is far deeper than that. Happiness depends on happenings but joy depends on Christ. God has brought us from the land of death into the land of living!
Saint Augustine states “A Christian should be an alleluia from head to foot.” Indeed! God has blessed us with the joy of salvation! God has blessed us with a beautiful world! God has blessed us with grace upon grace! What’s not to like? Sure, there are struggles. Sure, there are bad days. Sure, there are sad things in this world. But we have been made right with God! We are citizens of God’s kingdom! We are called to love and serve the Lord!
Mother Theresa has said “Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls. A joyful heart is the inevitable result of a heart burning with love.” Joyful living is not a sin but a spiritual fruit God can use to catch souls.
Thank you for giving us life!
Thank you for giving us joy!
Thank you for giving us your grace!
Show us how to live out our joy in Christ!
Show us how to live with gusto!
Empower us to love you over everything else
and our neighbors as ourselves.
In Jesus’ name,
Q4U: What are your reflections on joy of living?
Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you embrace grace and live with gusto!