Have you noticed how much we American Christians like to focus on fun? People invite me to their events to show that “Christians can have fun.” Slogans like “Christians should have more fun than anyone” commonly get thrown around. Understand, I like to have fun as much as anyone. As a Christian entertainer I work hard to help people have fun. However, I’m not sure our obsession with fun is biblical, or even healthy.
I did a search of the Bible for the word “fun.” It is never used in the King James version. I did find one use of the word in the New International version, when people “made fun” of Peter. Clearly “fun” is not a major focus of the Bible.
Examining the lives of major biblical characters, I don’t see fun being a priority. John the Baptist lived in the wilderness, went to prison where he began to doubt everything, and ended up being beheaded. Paul was shipwrecked, imprisoned, beaten, and “despaired of life itself” (2 Cor 1:8). According to tradition all but one of the disciples died a martyr’s death. Peter was crucified upside down (assuming the traditional account is accurate), and I somehow doubt he was thinking “Wheeeee! This is fun!” Sure you can find examples of people having fun. Jesus himself spent time at parties with “sinners.” However, fun is never the focus or goal. Jesus never promised his followers would have fun. He promised trouble, persecution, and suffering.
When thinking about this, the plight of persecuted Christians around the world today comes to mind. I don’t think these believers would describe their situation as fun. Just because I happen to be in circumstances where being a Christian can be fun, it doesn’t mean that fun is a defining part of the Christian experience for everyone. It also doesn’t guarantee my circumstances will always allow for a fun life.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti-fun. I love to have fun. I love to help others to have fun. But if our focus is on fun, we can miss out on deeper and more important things. Fun is based in our circumstances—events going on around us and the people we share them with. We need to aim for something higher. While I feel blessed to live in circumstances where being a Christian can be fun, I want more than that. I want a faith that goes deeper than my circumstances. Being a Christian doesn’t guarantee freedom from trouble, but comfort during trouble. God didn’t promise freedom from hard times, but that he would work through the hard times for good.
In 2 Corinthians 1:3-7, the Apostle Paul explained,
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.
I want to have fun, and I hope you have fun, too. A lot of fun. But more than that, I hope you have joy. Fun is based on circumstances, and will leave when times get tough. True joy comes from the Lord, and can carry us through the tough times when fun is a distant memory.