I often say that if I’d had a crystal ball when I was younger, I would have cried looking at my life now. If Julie-girl would have seen grown-up Julie – a Christian, married, raising three kids, publicly writing and speaking about Jesus – I would have tried to save myself from such a “boring” life. More to the point, I imagined a life lived for Jesus would be a terrible life (how’s that for transparency?).
As you can tell, growing up, I didn’t have the best impression of Christians, although I considered myself one. Truth be told, the Christian life seemed… lifeless. It seemed quiet and dull to a girl who is talkative and likes sparkly things. It seemed like I would have to become someone I wasn’t (not in a “new creation” 2 Corinthians 5:17 way, but in a counterfeit way) to live what I thought was a Christian life.
Add to that, I had immature views of what “living a fun life” would look like. Wasn’t I going to be jet-setting across the globe? Running a multi-billion dollar company? I thought a fun, full life looked like an acquiring life; rack-up-the-goods life. I would have looked at my life now and wondered where the adventure was and how I could possibly enjoy Bible studies and carpool so much. I would have pitied me. I would have tried to thwart the “boring” life reflected in the crystal ball.
Thankfully God, in His graciousness, doesn’t give us a crystal ball.
However, when I look back on what Julie-girl thought about the Christian life, it had nothing to do with Jesus, but everything to do with my perception of the “Christian lifestyle.” As a girl, I thought of Christianity as behavior modification; a set of rules to follow and trying to be good enough. I thought Christian fun was quarantined to a few youth group activities and after church picnics. Yippee. Even as I began to write this post, I Googled “Is being a Christian fun” and came up with list after list of things Christians can do to have fun – pizza parties, board games, potluck dinners, watching movies on Pureflix. I’m not even kidding.
Julie-girl and these lists miss everything that it is to be a Christian.
Here’s the real story: The fun of being a Christian is found in Christ alone. That’s the not-so-top secret. Living a life tethered to Him is the joy of life. The fun of Jesus is not in an activity or lifestyle, but in life suddenly making sense. The whole of history making sense. And a future that’s not up for grabs, but meticulously laid out awaiting the appointed time. Knowing Jesus is fun in the sense that you get to be in on the joke of this world; not in a laugh-a-minute way, but in a peace-like-a-river-while-everything-is-in-chaos way.
What makes being a Christian fun is not activities or circumstances, but rather watching God work daily. It’s knowing you are a part of His story on this earth. It’s watching how creation, fall, redemption, and restoration all go together and are playing out every single day. It’s trusting in Him and His sovereignty and not needing to control everything and everyone.
For those on the outside looking inside at what it is to be a Christian, the Christian life can appear boring, deprived, and constantly running into a wall of “thou shalt nots”. But Jesus said clearly that He came so we would have life to the full (John 10:10). And He is the full.
I can say without a doubt, I receive the most joy watching God work. There is truly nothing that beats KNOWING He is behind that answered prayer that was oh-so-specific or Him giving just a flash of His glory to me to let me know His eyes are squarely on me. There is nothing that even comes close.
Reading God’s Word and learning His character have been the greatest joys of my life. The only thing better is watching Him jump off the pages and into my day-to-day life. I cannot imagine going through trials I’ve gone through without knowing God’s character and that He is the One in control. I cannot imagine going through today’s headlines without knowing Bible prophecy is playing out right before our eyes and that in all of the chaos, Jesus reminds us over and over, “Do not fear.” Being a Christian is fun in the way that comfort is fun; that peace is fun.
I laugh looking back at what I thought would make for a fulfilling life. God knew who He was dealing with. As for Julie-girl’s dreams of jet-setting around the globe… God knew grown-up Julie would like to sleep in her own bed, eat her familiar foods, and a four-day trip is about her maximum. He would teach her that things of this world can be fun, but anything that rust or moth can destroy is ultimately worthless (Matthew 6:19).
If the concept of God being fun is foreign to you, I encourage you to ASK God to show you that side of Himself. He’s the author and creator of fun and I know He’d love to reveal that side of His character to you. Read His Word and know His character – He doesn’t hide who he is, but delights in revealing every facet of Himself to His followers.
And if you are answering “Is Christianity fun?” with a litany of activities and not the Person of Christ, you’ve missed answering the question at all. The only thing in this world of everlasting value is a relationship with Jesus. A Christian who is fully committed to Christ (by the way, He offers no other type of relationship) will never live a boring life.
The fun of being a Christian is watching God be God and knowing where to attribute the awe.
Dear Lord, thank You for being a God that constantly inspires jaw-dropping awe. Living in awe of You is the high of my life. Sifting everything through Your hands and knowing that nothing happens out of Your control is comforting and, dare I say, exciting. Being called by You is, by Your very nature and character, fun. You hold the whole world, and my life, in Your hands. Maranatha! Amen.
* Thank you, Cara, for the nickname Julie-girl. It has stuck after all these years.