*Now, I know what some of you are thinking. “Ok, here we go, another legalistic nut-case telling us to throw our televisions out the door.” And you’d be wrong, although that might not be a bad idea for some of us. And I’m not writing to tell you that entertainment is a sin. How could it be? Things aren’t sins. Our rebellion and transgression against the love of God are sins**. So no, I’m also not writing to tell you that entertainment is a sin.
As a matter of fact, this article is not about sinning at all. It is about finding Joy in the presence of the Lord. You see, entertainment can be great. It can give us something to gather around as a community and share some fellowship. It can give our minds and bodies some much-needed relaxation after a long day of work.
The problem is when we allow it to be a substitute for joy. If we wander away, for nearly any period of time, from seeking the joy that is found only in the presence of the Lord (Psalm 16:11), then a natural (read: carnal) course of action seems to be to fill our lives with more entertainment.
From there, it can easily become the thing we long for. So many of us who call ourselves Christians, myself included, have found ourselves longing, literally longing, for the time of day that we can just sit down and __________________. Fill in the blank: watch TV, play Xbox, mess with our iPhone, surf the internet, check Facebook, play Words with Friends, update our blogs.
Some of us don’t even long for that time of day, because it consumes us. We do it all day. Everyone in the twitterverse not only knows where we are at all times, but also what we are having for breakfast, lunch, and dinner—and who we are having it with. We find it…enJoyable.
And there’s the rub. Sometimes, we can enjoy these things (i.e. experience them with Joy) without ever finding the Joy that Jesus wants us to find only in His Presence. Jesus said that he wanted us to be with Him where He is.
John 17:24 (NIV) “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.
That should be what fascinates us and captures our gaze: a Holy God wanting to show us His Glory—not the dull glow of a computer monitor. The fleeting things that we so easily fix our eyes on in our day-to-day lives cannot begin to compare with what Jesus wants to reveal to us. The inexpressible and glorious joy that is available just beyond the veil of our human eyes can be fully ours, if we fix our gaze on what we cannot see.
1 Peter 1:8-9 (NIV) 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
So, like I said, this article is not about sinning at all. It is about finding Joy in the presence of the Lord. I urge you to cultivate in yourself a longing for only Him. These lesser joys, that may not be sinful in and of themselves, you will find to be…nothing…in light of Him.
*DISCLAIMER: I published this same article on an earlier blog of mine, but every time I stumble across it I can’t help but think of how relevant it still is. So, I thought I’d post it here on my newer blog.
**Transgression against God’s love? Of course. If all the law and prophets hang on Loving God and Loving People, then a sin would be a transgression of God’s love (Matthew 22: 34-40)—a blatant disregard for the love He has demonstrated to us. I’m not sure how that idea would pan out against the hamartiology chapter of some of our favorite theology books though.