People tend to think of God as a big party-pooper.
After all, Christians live pretty restricted lives, don’t they? They can’t swear, can’t drink, gamble, smoke or experiment with drugs, can’t party, can’t indulge in a spot of fun watching raunchy movies, can’t live extravagantly, and can’t even check out that pretty girl without having to repent for it later.
On top of that, they have to remain faithful and devoted to God, live a pure, clean, humble and modest life serving God, read the Bible and pray every day, do a lot of charity and volunteer work, and spend a lot of time in church.
This is what the world thinks, and it’s a view that is unfortunately perpetuated in large part by how the church portrays Christianity.
Nothing could be further from the truth. The Christian life is not a life of rules and restrictions, but a life of freedom – true freedom – in Christ. And the pleasures and joys God gives always far surpasses those of the world in the same area, with the added bonus that it comes without any guilt, shame, or fear.
God never intended for us to live a life striving to do better and better in keeping His laws and following His ways, because He knew we could never keep His rules and ways to His standard no matter how sincerely or earnestly we tried.
That’s why He sent His Son Jesus as a Man to fulfil the law completely on our behalf, so that today when we receive Jesus into our life, we enter into a life where a holy and just God sees the law completely fulfilled for us through Christ (Matthew 5:17, Colossians 2:14, Hebrews 10:10, 14).
It means God will never ever hold or count it against us today when we fail to meet His laws and requirements, which we invariably will (Hebrews 8:12). We are ALREADY forgiven, once and for all, at the cross.
When we truly realise this, guilt, condemnation, shame, and fear will cease to be a controlling factor in our lives.
Does that mean it’s not important to keep in God’s ways today? Of course not! But God has that covered. For He Himself said:
“I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. None of them shall teach his neighbour, and none his brother, saying ‘Know the Lord’, for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” (Hebrews 8:10-12, quoting Jeremiah 31:33-34)
God Himself changes our hearts from within to walk in His ways. It’s not for us to try to change ourselves. And note how this change and knowing the Lord intimately will happen: by realising that He will be merciful to our unrighteousness, and will no more remember our sins and our lawless deeds.
The more we realise this, the more we will walk in the truth of His promise. Does that mean we won’t ever fall to temptation and stumble again? Sure we will. But it’s not continuous, and it won’t last.
We’re not saying that it’s okay to sin every now and then. We’re saying that God knows how to eradicate sin – and the effects of it – to the root much better by His way of grace than man does by our own fallible efforts.
There are those who may think that being atheists or “free thinkers” allows them to enjoy and indulge freely in whatever pleases them. But rather than being “free”, they end up bound by sinful thoughts and habits, and ensnared by the effects of such ‘guilty pleasures’.
God always gives something better. He takes away what is hurting and harming us – sin, guilt, condemnation, fear – and gives us pleasures that are even more abundant and exhilarating than what the world can offer.
Is there partying in the house of God? Absolutely! When the prodigal son came home, the father – who is a picture of our heavenly Father – celebrated so lavishly that his older son could hear both the music and the dancing from outside the house (Luke 15:25). David danced with abandon before the Lord when he finally brought back the ark of the Lord into the City of David (2 Samuel 6:12-15).
Today, where the gospel of Jesus Christ is unveiled and the person of Jesus is magnified, people in churches around the world celebrate and worship with unparalleled joy, a joy that comes from the full assurance of salvation and redemption. We can sing and dance with no fear of getting sick, hangovers, or anything untoward happening to us or our belongings.
We become effortlessly lifted above the need to use swear words. And instead of getting hooked on unhealthy things like cigarettes, drugs, alcohol, gambling, pornography, and gluttony – which come with the price tags of premature ageing, fear, disease, and even death – we fall in love with and get addicted to Jesus. This is an addiction that has only benefits – the more we get hooked on and feast on Jesus, the healthier, younger, stronger, richer, bolder and more fruitful we get! So many people who have battled and been freed from such addictions by the grace of Jesus testify to this.
And what about sex? Well, what about sex. The world focuses heavily on the physical aspect and pleasures of sex, e.g. through movies and pornography, which is what the devil wants people’s attention on. But God made us with 3 parts – spirit, soul, and body. So maximising physical pleasure only hits 1/3 of the maximum potential that God intended and created.
Even in a monogamous love relationship like in marriage, the most we can achieve is 2/3 enjoyment, with the added soul connection of 2 lovers intimately devoted to each other.
It’s only when God Himself comes into the equation – through His Spirit – in the lovemaking of a married Christian couple can we even begin to explore the ultimate maximum pleasure in sex that God originally designed it to have.
For all believers are one spirit, soul and body with the Lord Jesus (1 Corinthians 2:16, 6:15, 17). What this means is that in that most intimate act between husband and wife, not only are they joined in all 3, but God Himself is present and will show them more of His love for them personally through that very act.
Surveys have also shown that married Christian couples enjoy more frequent and pleasurable sex than others, pleasure that increases well into old age. And needless to say enjoying sex in marriage comes without the fears and burdens of shame, unplanned pregnancy, abortion, disease and mistrust.
This sounds very theoretical, and some may argue that the surveys won’t be accurate because of the respondents’ limited experiences – but the only way to know for sure is to experience it yourself. Ultimately, it’s better to trust God than to find out the long and hard way, because He is the only One who knows all, and who has your best interests at heart.
And for living extravagantly – well, we have already addressed those myths in earlier posts. Not only can we expect God to bless us abundantly with far more than enough, but we will also find ourselves giving more generously, knowing that we are blessed to be a blessing, and having no doubt that He will always keep on blessing us with more.
There’s no way we can out-give God – He will always be the greatest Giver. We give Him our life, and He gives us a life free from the clutches of sin and condemnation, and filled with supreme, guilt-free enjoyment.
Think you could be missing out? Then ask God to show you. And come join in the fun: pure, unadulterated, and free.
Because when we encounter Jesus, we encounter grace.