[Willow Creek Association] 1998-01-07 - Are We Having Fun Yet?

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. (NIV)

A few weeks ago my twelve-year-old daughter Morgan won the State Championship for Level 5 Gymnastics ages 12 and over. (Yes, it has taken me this long to figure out how to work this into a devotional!) This was quite a huge accomplishment for her and involves 12 to 15 hours a week working out in the gym. It boggles my mind to watch her and her sister Mary working out 5 days a week, 3 hours a day and loving every minute of this. Every month, I pull the girls aside and ask one simple question, "Are you having fun?" and every month for the past two years, the resounding answer has been a hearty "YES!"

The local paper interviewed Morgan, and the reporter was quite impressed with her dedication to the sport. He kept questioning her about why she liked gymnastics, why she excels, what are her goals and so forth. Finally Morgan, who is very soft-spoken, said, "It's fun." Notice she didn't focus on the hard work, the falls, the bruises, the sprains, the rips on her hands from the bars, the disappointments, the failures or the doubts about whether she could compete at a high level of competition. She simply focused on the joy of it all.

Is being a Christ-Follower fun for you? I often observe people at the church I attend, and I have to tell you they for the most part are a happy-looking group of people, but there are a few that just need a frown lift, or better yet a heart transplant. Is being a Christ-follower a burdensome, sorrowful and empty life? Is that what the Father had in mind when He sent His Son Jesus Christ to live among us and to set an example for us? Is that what Jesus had in mind when He took YOUR place on the Cross? I really don't believe Jesus thought, "Let's see, I will die for ALL people and they will all walk around acting sorrowful." I tell you, I have been in some churches and looked around and thought, "man if this is what Christ does for you, I want no part of this!" We need to rejoice, we need to be glad, we need to be thankful, we need to have a worship-filled heart and an attitude of gratitude that we are Christ-followers. We need to be glad that God has not given us what we deserve, and has given us love that is totally undeserved.

John 10:10 I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly.

An abundant life is a life lived to its fullest. Sure we will have seasons of sorrow and mourning, but overall our lives should reflect the example that Christ set for us. Let's stop focusing on the pains, the trials, the slips, the failures, the sins, and the painful times. Let's focus on the joy in the journey. Let's fix our eyes on Jesus, it's fun.

Dear Father, thank you for our lives, thank you for sending Jesus to show us how to do life right. We praise you in all things. Help us to view life from Your perspective and not get mired and bogged down in our past failures. Thank you for sending Jesus, so that we can live an abundant life here on earth and eternally in Heaven. In His Name, Amen.