April 10th - The fun list
I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. Gal 5:16-21 (NKJV)
There is a big lie...a really big lie. It goes something like this: "If you become a Christian, you will have to give up doing a lot of fun stuff." I have heard more than one person give this imaginary list, of fun things that they will have to give up, as the rationale for not becoming a Follower of Christ. The "fun list" that they are referring to is found in Galatians, Chapter 5. The fun list includes adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries and the like. "OK, here's an opinion--the "fun list" doesn't sound like much fun; actually, it sounds more like a tragedy.
I have three thoughts concerning the "fun list" of sin. Firstly, people who live a life full of these activities are usually coming loose at the seams. Their family structure cannot survive the destructive choices and people's lives are often irreparably damaged. (Especially, children--who are along for the ride) Secondly, Followers of Christ have a "real fun list" that includes a million or more choices of amazing things that a person can enjoy without destroying either their life or the lives of those they love. Think about the opportunities to be creative, to be productive, to build relationships, to
experience adventure, to study and learn, to travel and see new places, to try new foods, to pick up a new recreation, to go to Disney World...and we have not even talked about the adventure of growing in God.
Thirdly, according to the Apostle Paul, Followers of Christ are free to engage in the activities of their choice. "All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify" . 1 Cor 10:23 (NKJV) Let me see if I can put this into perspective. My freedom is best understood as being free from sin--not free to sin. In Christ I am empowered to walk in freedom from the bondage and the unwanted baggage of sin. So, do I feel like I'm missing out by not engaging in the "fun list of sin?" In the words of Michael W. Smith: "All you're missing is a heartache, disillusioned for a keep sake..."
Author's Note: I know that sin has a reputation of being "fun" in the short-term, but I believe that is giving more credibility to sin than deserved. Sin is destructive from the first moment it is put into motion. Unwanted pregnancies, driving under the influence, unremembered words and activities, new born jealousies, unfaithfulness... The results of sin are certainly not fun and the collateral damage created by sin is never controlled. RJD