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“Fun, Joy, and the Pursuit of Happiness,” A GOC Bulletin Devo

03/10/2013

I got the chance to write another bulletin devotional for Grace on Campus this past week.  Here it is:

“Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see Him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory…” (1 Peter 1:8)

As college students in an environment like UCLA, one of the most difficult distinctions to make is that of the difference between fun and joy. The two are often hard to distinguish from one another, since they both generate some level of “happiness” in our lives. While the immediate thought may be that fun is temporary happiness and joy is a longer lasting, even-if-I-don’t-get-good-grades version of that same happiness, the difference between the two is far greater.

The difference is the source. Fun finds its roots in the offerings of this present world. True Christian joy, on the other hand, is anchored in the Person and work of Jesus Christ. It is manifested in the certain gladness and hope we have in Christ’s imminent return, though we do not now see Him.

The implications for the life of the discerning Christian are crucial. While fun often is a result of enjoying the common graces extended to us by God in this life, we must pay careful attention to practice discipline and moderation in all things. If left unchecked, an addiction to fun develops, most likely indicating that the sin of worldliness has taken up residence in one’s life.

Additionally, we must be intentional to cultivate true Christian joy. This is something that is neither automatic nor easy; it requires discipline and humility. We must not try harder and do more to obtain it, but instead prayerfully approach God, ready to willingly submit to God’s Word and remember true joy’s source—our Lord Jesus Christ. In and through this, we will find true joy.

The author of Hebrews describes Moses as a faithful man of God who “consider[ed] the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward.” May we be as such!

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