There are many new and newer Christians attending Northstar and that number increases weekly. But even people who have been Christians for some time or even all their lives have questions on Christianity in contemporary culture. There is a pretty wide array of common misperceptions, characterizations, stereotypes, caricatures and outright myths about Christianity that circulate heavily within today’s society. I would like to address some of those myths and urban legends about Christianity beginning with the general perception that becoming a Christian means I will have to undergo a fun bypass.
Are Christianity and fun on opposite ends of the spectrum? The media and society in general like to paint Christianity in a certain way, but none of them think Christianity and say: being a Christian is groovy, or a blast, or off the hook, or fresh or whatever the latest terms are. Becoming a Christian just doesn’t seem fun to people.
Christianity has gotten a reputation as a killjoy. It’s something for boring people and old people. The picture they have given of Christianity is one where you had to change everything about yourself; you had to stop enjoying everything you’ve been enjoying, so becoming a Christian is the last thing you’d do if you wanted to enjoy yourself. If you wanted to have fun.
I think one of the reasons people talk about Christianity this way is because of the way Christians are portrayed in the media. Christians in a movie or TV show are the worst. They’re usually judgmental and corny. People unfairly caricature many Christians and play to the public’s perceptions.
Another reason is that some Christians give others that vibe, and as a result they are contributing to the stereotype. Some Christians focus on the bumps in the road, and as a result don’t have much fun.
So does becoming a Christian mean the end of my fun? My answer is no.
If you really think about it, it’s an odd question to ask because it suggests that God wants you to have an un-enjoyable life. That’s kind of like Lee Baker making up a new worship song hoping that people will hate it when they hear it. Or myself or one of the campus pastors spending hours preparing a sermon for Sunday and hoping people will hate it. Lee wrote that song and the teaching team prepared the sermon, for the most part, so that others can enjoy it. God is the Creator of all life. Of course, he wants you to enjoy the life that He created.
There is nothing in the Bible that suggests that God does not want us to enjoy our lives. When you read the Bible that’s just not the picture you’re going to get. The way people talk about Christianity you’d think there was a verse where Jesus says, “If you follow me, you must be miserable, hate everything, and drag others down with you.” But you’re not going to find any verses like that. Instead you’ll find God wanting us to enjoy our lives.
Consider a few passages from scripture. James 1:16-17 says “Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. “
God doesn’t try to keep us from good things; God is the Giver of all good things. He’s the source. God created friendship and marriage. God created smiling and laughter. These are all gifts from God. So, to act like he doesn’t want us to enjoy them is simply wrong.
In Psalm 16, David is talking to God and here’s what he says. “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forever more.” (Psalm 16:11)
So coming closer to God doesn’t lead to boring sadness, it leads to joy. Not just any joy, but fullness of joy. And there are pleasures. Not five minutes or five years of joy, but joy for eternity.