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I’m a Christian – let’s party!

May 10, 2014

Before I became a Christian, I thought of Christianity as not only untrue but boring. I thought that if I became a Christian, which I had no intention of doing; if I became a Christian I would have to give up lots of things that I enjoyed. I thought that being a Christian meant living a life of misery, with little lapses into pleasure and lots of guilt afterwards. That picture of Christianity is so different from that described by Jesus in John 10 where he says, I come that they may have life, and have it to the full (John 10.10). Life to the full, that is a wonderful thought – an attractive thought. But that is not what most people think of when they think of Christianity. It certainly wasn’t what I thought of as Christianity.

When people think of Christianity, or religion more generally, they think of a life restricted, a life less full or at least less fun. I’d now disagree but to be fair that is often how Christians have behaved. Christians are often been judgmental, telling people what they can’t do – in other words, lots of “thou shalt nots”. We have come across negatively. We are heard speaking out against this or that, rather than speaking out for something; perhaps speaking out for life in all its fulness. When did you last hear a church spokesman shouting about how important it is for people to rest, celebrate or party? – Yet all of these are all Biblical. What is wrong with a glass of nice wine? – Nothing – Jesus once provided it by the gallon!

When was the last time your heard a church spokesman urging people to do more to enjoy their life? How strange? After all, this life is a gift from God and the bit here on earth is time limited. We shouldn’t waste a second of it. It is not a sin to smile or even laugh, anywhere including in church. Living life to the full means that there are times to celebrate and party. Family events, like births, and birthdays should be celebrated. Sometimes just being alive needs celebrating too! Then there are Church festivals like Christmas and Easter where we are required to celebrate, as much as we are able.

I am not advocating hedonism, pleasure is certainly not the only good, but neither is pleasure evil. Fun and pleasure are good and part of the life we are to live to the full. As servants of Christ we are to follow his call to serve and act and perhaps suffer in the process. That’s also part of living life to the full. I may not always be called where I want to go, … but sometimes I am. Whether I am called to pleasure or discomfort or even suffering, I must readily obey, knowing that in obeying I will be led into a full and complete life.

Just as a shepherd knows better than their sheep that a roadside is a bad place to graze, no matter how lush the grass may look, so I need to trust Jesus who is my shepherd. I need to trust that he knows better than me. I follow Jesus and I hear from Scripture that I am to laugh with those who laugh and cry with those who cry (Romans 12.15). There may be so much to make us cry on this earth – just watch the news – all the more reason to laugh too when I get the chance.

I am to let Jesus be my shepherd, and then he will lead me into a life lived to the full. That will almost certainly include pleasure. But there is a difference between what most people think of as pleasure and the Christian view of pleasure. If I am part of Christ’s flock then pleasure may come but he will lead me so that I don’t become addicted to it. Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, can give me the strength to enjoy but not to make enjoyment my god. Happy or sad, I can become content, deeply content with my Shepherd.

With Jesus, I can enjoy speed on my motorbike, or martial arts, or a good wine or beer, all without needing them in order to be happy. I can enjoy those things and they make my life a little more full, but they are not my life, and they never should be. That is the difference. I have seen people who can’t live without their fix; speed, sex, drink, bingo, fighting, endless parties or whatever. They crave these ‘pleasures’ but sadly these ‘pleasures’ no longer bring the happiness they crave.

The Church may have been wrong to be so hard on pleasure, but perhaps this has been out of a desire to protect people from the danger of pleasure becoming a false shepherd. The danger that pleasure will become like one of those shepherds that Jesus describes as breaking into to the sheepfold in John 10 (John 10.1-10). These pleasures, like those false shepherds, are only capable of stealing and killing. Pleasure, twisted and distorted until it is no pleasure at all, is a thief. Such distorted pleasure steals real happiness and kills contentment. It promises a life to the full, but can only steal life away.

I’m sure you know what I mean. A drink, several drinks, can be fun but a drunk is not.

It is a fine line, a narrow way perhaps, and if you are like me, you will be all too good at wondering off and into harm. I know that I need my Shepherd if I am ever to really live my life to the full. In this world of cheap pleasures I think all people need the Good Shepherd to truly live life to the full. There may be another way, God may know of one, but I don’t. Also, if such a way exists and is good for me, he will lead me there anyway. So again, it’s best for me to stick with my Shepherd, I am learning to know his voice now, and to trust him.

Before becoming a Christian I thought Christianity would be boring and lifeless, a gray existence. Since becoming a Christian I have been learning that Jesus my Shepherd is looking out for me, leading me to life, life in all its fulness. Jesus is the true shepherd. The one who will lead me and anyone who will listen to his voice into life, life in all its fulness. Now that’s worth an ‘Amen’ a couple of ‘Alleluias’ and a ‘Yes!’ at the very least!

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4 Comments
  1. Alison schwier permalink

    Amen!!

  2. Lindy permalink

    Hi Nigel

    I do so agree.  Everyone should hear this.

    God bless. Lindy

    Sent from Samsung tabletKungFuPreacherMan wrote:

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