Question:

Is life "all" about God and never about us? If so, are we ever allowed to enjoy personal pleasure for our own benefit? For example, marriage could be considered personal pleasure in that a relationship, future family, and sex are all involved. Or what about entertainment such as playing video games, or playing a musical instrument? Suppose a person plays in a music band for personal pleasure, yet that person puts God first in other areas such as spending time worshiping Him during services, reading scripture, praying, etc. Would it wrong for that person to spend time with music for his own pleasure, but at the same time worship God in various ways?

Is there anything life that is ever about us at all?


Answer:

Serving God is both about God and about ourselves. The reason God gave us instructions is so that we might avoid making mistakes that bring pain into our lives. "And the LORD commanded us to observe all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God, for our good always, that He might preserve us alive, as it is this day" (Deuteronomy 6:24).

"Let them shout for joy and be glad, who favor my righteous cause; and let them say continually, "Let the LORD be magnified, who has pleasure in the prosperity of His servant"" (Psalm 35:27).

"For the LORD takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the humble with salvation. Let the saints be joyful in glory; let them sing aloud on their beds" (Psalm 149:4-5).

"Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice with the wife of your youth. As a loving deer and a graceful doe, let her breasts satisfy you at all times; and always be enraptured with her love" (Proverbs 5:18-19).

"Nothing is better for a man than that he should eat and drink, and that his soul should enjoy good in his labor. This also, I saw, was from the hand of God. For who can eat, or who can have enjoyment, more than I?" (Ecclesiastes 2:24-25).

"I know that nothing is better for them than to rejoice, and to do good in their lives, and also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor-it is the gift of God" (Ecclesiastes 3:12-13).

"Here is what I have seen: It is good and fitting for one to eat and drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labor in which he toils under the sun all the days of his life which God gives him; for it is his heritage. As for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, and given him power to eat of it, to receive his heritage and rejoice in his labor - this is the gift of God. For he will not dwell unduly on the days of his life, because God keeps him busy with the joy of his heart" (Ecclesiastes 5:18-20).

"Truly the light is sweet, and it is pleasant for the eyes to behold the sun; but if a man lives many years and rejoices in them all, yet let him remember the days of darkness, for they will be many. All that is coming is vanity. Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth; walk in the ways of your heart, and in the sight of your eyes; but know that for all these God will bring you into judgment. Therefore remove sorrow from your heart, and put away evil from your flesh, for childhood and youth are vanity" (Ecclesiastes 11:7-10).

"Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand" (Philippians 4:4-5).

God wants people to enjoy life and have fun. The problem is that "fun" is being twisted. People do things that are actually harmful to themselves and others but insist on calling them "fun." "But these, like natural brute beasts made to be caught and destroyed, speak evil of the things they do not understand, and will utterly perish in their own corruption, and will receive the wages of unrighteousness, as those who count it pleasure to carouse in the daytime. They are spots and blemishes, carousing in their own deceptions while they feast with you, having eyes full of adultery and that cannot cease from sin, enticing unstable souls. They have a heart trained in covetous practices, and are accursed children" (II Peter 2:12-14).

In many ways, life is about men. Why do you think God created this world? To give Him something to while away the time? "The heaven, even the heavens, are the LORD'S; but the earth He has given to the children of men" (Psalms 115:16). Why did Jesus come to die for us? Because he had nothing better to do? "LORD, what is man, that You take knowledge of him? Or the son of man, that You are mindful of him?" (Psalm 114:3). "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved" (John 3:16-17).

So, yes, go out and enjoy the world God has placed in your hands. Not to do harm or to do wrong, but to do what beneficial and pleasing to yourself, others, and the Lord your God. Not to put pleasure to the exclusion of anything else, but find pleasure in daily living while serving God. "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man's all. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil" (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).

Thanks for your response!

I am wondering if you can please help me with something else related to this topic. Since God says to do everything as we are doing to Him (Colossians 3:17, 23), how do we do certain things such as playing guitar, playing a video game, or basketball for our own enjoyment and yet do it for God? What does it look like for a person to do those things above and do it for God? Would a simple thanks for the material possessions or skills to do such things be an example of doing "everything as we are doing it for God"? What does it really mean to apply this scripture to our lives with things we find personal pleasure in?

Since you are taking these passages out of their context, you're coming to slightly erroneous conclusions.

"And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him" (Colossians 3:15-17).

The phrase "in the name of the Lord Jesus" is an idiom meaning to do things by Jesus' authority or with his approval. See "All in a Name" for more details. Whatever we choose to say or do should be righteous and holy. Everything thing we do should be tempered by the fact that we are Christians and we seek through our lives to bring honor to God. Thus to have fun playing a guitar is perfectly fine. To play a song that contains profane language or glorifies a one-night stand is something else entirely. Everything we do should allow us to be thankful to God for the lives we have and the things we are able to do -- sin has no place in our lives.

"Bondservants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God. And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ" (Colossians 3:22-24).

Here the point is that even when we work, we should be conscious of the fact that we are representing Christ. When we work, we don't look at it as working for a man, but an opportunity to serve Christ. Where a person might be tempted to give less than great work because he doesn't like the boss or the boss isn't looking, a Christians sees that he work ethic reflects upon his true Master; thus, he gives his best effort, he works as if Jesus is his immediate boss. Then when others see him, they will remember: he was a great worker, and he was a Christian. Besides, an earthly boss can only give us raises -- Jesus gives us eternal life. It doesn't matter how badly our earthly boss treats us, we have a great reward waiting for us later.