God is sometimes viewed as a harsh dictator rather than a loving, heavenly Father. Is this true? Is God a cosmic killjoy—opposed to fun and pleasure? Not according to the view presented in the Bible. When we understand God's character, as defined in Scripture, we see Him as one who restores and gives true joy.
First, God created us. The opening words of Scripture declare, "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth" (Genesis 1:1). He planned every detail of our making with great care as part of His great love for us. He created us to enjoy pleasure in many ways—the taste of food, the beauty of sight, the emotion of relationship, and so much more.
Second, God offers forgiveness of sin and eternal life through Jesus Christ. First John 1:9 teaches, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." John 3:16 shares, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." God gives eternal life to His children.
Third, God offers abundant, meaningful, and purposeful life right now. In John 10:10 Jesus said, "I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." God created us to experience fellowship, recreation, and creativity. We are created specifically to glorify God and delight in Him!
Fourth, God's discipline is because of His love. Even when bad things happen, God has a purpose. Hebrews 12:7 teaches, "It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?"
Fifth, times of testing are intended to help us grow in maturity. Trials are not to end our joy. Instead, James 1:2-4 teaches us to consider life's challenges with joy: "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."
Sixth, we find the most fulfillment when we delight in the Lord. Psalm 37:4 teaches, "Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart." We might think that worldly pleasure will bring us happiness, and since God is opposed to some "pleasures," we label him a killjoy. As we study God's Word, we see that worldly pleasures don't offer lasting joy. Hebrews 11:25 calls them "fleeting pleasures of sin." When we understand that God is protecting us from hurt, we appreciate the boundaries He has given us.
Seventh, God is the source of all true joy. Galatians 5:22-23 lists joy as part of the fruit of the Spirit. Nehemiah 8:10 teaches that the joy of the Lord is your strength. Abiding in God brings joy, as Jesus noted in John 15:10-11, "If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full."
As the apostle Peter shared, "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, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls" (1 Peter 1:8-9). Salvation in Christ provides the greatest joy, not a cosmic killjoy.
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