Recently I was listening to a sermon where the preacher said, if I remember correctly, "Entertainment is the devil's substitute for joy. The more joy you have in the Lord the less entertainment you need." Is that so? Before becoming a Christian, I had these habits of reading and consuming culture for selfish reasons, now I want to dedicate everything I do to the Lord. I remember I Corinthians 10:31 and Romans 14:23. Almost every time I go to see some videos or read something, a feeling invades me that I should be reading the Bible or listening to a sermon. Some days ago, I was watching video of the impact of pollution in the Pacific Ocean and I felt guilty for not listening to another sermon. I study the Bible (your web site is helping me with it, by the way), but I feel compeled to always look at Christian-related content. If there's a video about history for example, and another about a preacher and I click in the history one, an immense guilty invades me. I don't know what to do. One part of me says I'm exagerating, but another tells that I'm not doing enough. Proverbs says that our hearts are not trustable, what should I do, then?
"He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but whoever walks wisely will be delivered" (Proverbs 28:26). True, we don't trust our emotions to guide us; instead, we turn to wisdom -- the wisdom taught by God. "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths" (Proverbs 3:5-6).
The root question is whether it is wrong to do things simply because they are fun. "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 11:9-10). Life is not meant to be lived without enjoying yourself. Some fun is necessary. "My son, eat honey, for it is good, Yes, the honey from the comb is sweet to your taste" (Proverbs 24:13).
"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" (Ecclesiastes 2:24).
"I have seen that nothing is better than that man should be happy in his activities, for that is his lot. For who will bring him to see what will occur after him?" (Ecclesiastes 3:22).
"Here is what I have seen to be good and fitting: to eat, to drink and enjoy oneself in all one's labor in which he toils under the sun during the few years of his life which God has given him; for this is his reward. Furthermore, as for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, He has also empowered him to eat from them and to receive his reward and rejoice in his labor; this is the gift of God. For he will not often consider the years of his life, because God keeps him occupied with the gladness of his heart" (Ecclesiastes 5:18-20).
"So I commended enjoyment, because a man has nothing better under the sun than to eat, drink, and be merry; for this will remain with him in his labor all the days of his life which God gives him under the sun" (Ecclesiastes 8:15).
But there are caveats. Entertainment has its place in life, but life is not all about fun and games. There is "a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance." Overindulgence in fun can be harmful. "Have you found honey? Eat only as much as you need, lest you be filled with it and vomit" (Proverbs 25:16).
"The light is pleasant, and it is good for the eyes to see the sun.Indeed, if a man should live many years, let him rejoice in them all, and let him remember the days of darkness, for they will be many" (Ecclesiastes 11:7-8).
As was mentioned previously in Ecclesiastes 11:9-10, it is proper to go and have fun, so long as we remember that we still face God's judgment. Fun is not an excuse to sin. The thing to be careful about is that sin often wears a mask of pleasure. We get distracted and end up accepting what is wrong.
Therefore, what you need to look at is not whether something is entertaining or not, but whether it promotes righteous thought and righteous living. We should reject things that encourages sinful behavior (I Corinthians 15:33). Nor should we pursue entertainment to the exclusion of doing good that might be less fun.
Thank you, preacher. We indeed need to seek guidance in the wisdom the Lord gave us through the Bible. God bless.