Do you ever see the Christian life as fun?
Define fun however you will, a lot of what we face day in and day out seems to have been fun only in the distant past and no more. In other words, when it was new. It’s the natural order of things, the nature of the beast. I mean that sincerely. I saw a bumper sticker one day that said “Jesus loves you. But the devil gives you the cool s***.” Forgive me for being crass. A reason for much of the derision leveled at Christianity is because people feel that sin and sinning is more fun than holiness. And it’s one thing to see peace and contentment and joy as the necessities they are, but quite another to actually have fun in our walk. It’s what God wants. And while the world may look at the Christian life as stodgy and boring and exclusive to the point of exclusionary, Jesus makes this simple statement that silences the naysayers: “Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of Heaven.” (Matthew 18:3)
“Kingdom of Heaven” as in “going to Heaven (it’s capitalized because it’s a proper noun) after we are old and die? Or could Jesus be referring to some realm that is ever present and not glimpse-able unless we are humble as a child? I think both. But it’s the latter interpretation I’d like to focus on.
I think one of the principle things that made the childlike life the fun thing it was, was the lack of time’s perceived flow. And while the same holds true for our lives as adults (getting back and staying in timelesness is worth the time it takes to do), it’s the added dimension of purpose that makes our present life fun and exciting. Purpose, that is, coupled with the realization that we are going places (literally, figuratively). Even if you feel stagnant and you’re in a period of suffering and trial, dig deep and you will find that there’s a glimmer inside that says that the suffering is not designed to last. This, too shall pass. And when I say “going places”, I mean wherever God leads. When once the deep seated convictions and passions of our lives become aligned with God’s will in our lives, then everything we do is channeled into those pursuits. Fun. Plain and simple. Sure, it helps to have wonderful people to share the fun of life with, and if you have no one, know that they’re on their way, another day closer. If you so desire. Yes, the right people can make life enjoyable, but fun? The added element of fun, I believe, comes from having a child-like approach to life. Carefree, confident, trusting, timeless. Do I speak from experience? Sporadically, yes.
Taking all the fun out
How much fun did you have as a child? Assuming you’ve left the childish (and childlike) ways behind, think back to the things that turned you from the fun-loving child you may have been (and most likely were) into the serious adult, burdened, with your world on your shoulders. There is a way to unravel, to reverse engineer the days, months and years that led you to become the cynical person you may well be today. And I hope that’s not the case.
But if it is, take heart.
The best way I know to “become as little children” is to do as the children in that passage did. Come to Jesus. “For with Thee is the fountain of life:” (Psalm 36:9) And referring again to the first nodes that began to push us out of the nest of childlikeness begins necessarily with our inward honesty toward God. I think that when things begin to unfold in ways that eventually become confusing and disconcerting, rather than hold on tight, we let go and exert our will and soon find that life is too much for us to bear. “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) If we turn back in the simplest ways of honesty and truth before God, knowing that He loves us as the good parent He is, the childlikeness we lost will be found again. We’ll enter into the “Kingdom of Heaven”.
Jesus can and will restore the childlike wonder that we originally came with. All our answers and facts intact. Rest assured. Life will be fun again, for all the right reasons.