Choose to Enjoy Life

Another Year of Choices

By Barbara Dahlgren


Enjoy Life...

Christians can be some of the biggest fuddy-duddies around.  That may seem like an old-fashioned word, but what would you call a boring, humorless, crabby person with no imagination?  The Urban Dictionary says it’s a fuddy-duddy.  Is this the kind of image we as Christians portray to others?

Some Christians don’t seem to be able to smile, laugh, or have a good time.  They lack a certain enthusiasm for life.  The word enthusiasm is derived from the Greek roots en, meaning in or within, and theos which means God.  The original meaning was having God within us.  Just thinking about God living in us should make us a little enthusiastic. Yet many Christians are afraid to enjoy life.

It reminds me of the man who had his annual physical check-up and the doctor told him, “There’s no reason why you can’t live a completely normal life, as long as you don’t enjoy it.”  We think God says, “There’s no reason you can’t live a totally committed Christian life, as long as you don’t enjoy it.”

C.S. Lewis said that most Christians lack “merriment.”

William Barclay said, “A gloomy Christian is a contradiction in terms.”

Billy Sunday once said, “The trouble with Christians is that they have just enough religion to make them miserable.”

Where does this Christian “downer” attitude come from?  Certainly not from God.  We miss a lot by keeping God locked in a box of our preconceived ideas of righteousness.  Ask yourself the following questions:

A merry heart is good medicine...

Does God like it when we laugh?  I think so… Look at creation: duck-billed platypuses and long-necked giraffes. Way before cartoons, God made Balaam’s donkey speak. Why would God tell us a merry heart is good medicine if he didn’t want us to be merry?  (Proverbs 17:22)

Does Jesus like it when we party?  I think so… Jesus’ first miracle was turning water into wine at a wedding party.  (John 2:1-11) We can debate all day long about whether it was wine or grape juice – I have my personal opinion – but the point is it happened at a party and the intent was to keep that party moving. Of course God is not pleased with drunkenness, lewdness, or vulgarity, but shouldn’t we as Christians be able to show the world that people can have a good time without those things?

Does God enjoy our company?  I think so… Psalm 149:4 says God delights in his people. Delight doesn’t mean tolerate; it means He enjoys us.

Does God like dancing? I think so…The Bible is full of scriptures of God turning mourning into dancing and people praising God with dance. David danced before the Lord with all his might. (2 Samuel 6:14)

Does God like it when we shout for joy? I think so… There are plenty of scriptures that tell us to do that.  Just like there are plenty of scriptures that tell us God likes it when we praise, worship, and thank him.

Does God like it when we celebrate? I think so… Every time something good happened in the Bible there seemed to be some sort of celebration.  In a way, each new day is a time for celebration.  Psalm 118:24 says, “This is the day that the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it.” Well, guess what? Every day is the day the Lord has made. If we wake up breathing, we might want to rejoice!

Does God want us to enjoy life? I think so… 1 Timothy 6:17 tells us God provides for our enjoyment.

Consider this… There will always be people criticizing us for being Christians and actually enjoying life.  After all, they criticized Jesus.  Matthew 11:19 said that Jesus came eating and drinking. So much so that some said He was a glutton and a drunkard. They were wrong, of course.  Did Jesus stop enjoying life because of this criticism?  I don’t think so!

If we aren’t enjoying the Christian life, perhaps we don’t know God well enough.  Psalm 16:11 says that in God’s presence there is fullness of joy.  I can’t help but think that those who live and move and have their being in Christ, will be enjoying life.  (Acts 17:28)

Make someone smile


Suggestions for practicing this choice…

  • Lighten up!
  • Smile!
  • Laugh!
  • Don’t isolate yourself!
  • Thank God for your blessings and don’t feel guilty about enjoying them!


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