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Biblical Principles To Guide Us In Our Recreation PDF Print E-mail

The sovereignty of God in Christ Jesus means He is not only wonderfully interested in and cares for us in all of our life, but also that He claims a wise, authoritative rule over all of our life. This includes our recreations – our sports, hobbies, games, fun things, relaxation, holidays, camps, music etc etc. Today, we probably have more time than at any other time in history for recreations. It is important then that we seek to prayerfully understand what should be our attitude to and use of these things.

  1. Recreations are not wrong. It is not wrong to have leisure time and recreations, to find joy in life and to relax and partake of the Lord’s good gifts in the world around us. Ecclesiastes 3:11a & 13; Acts 14:17b; 1 Timothy 6:17b (Cf The ‘Feasts’ in Scripture E.g. Deut 16:13-15 & Wedding Feasts John 2:1 ff).

    We need to remember however, that while leisure times, fun and games are lawful and can be good and right, there is a problem in all our nature (called sin), which causes us to misuse God’s good gifts. So, we need the Lord’s wisdom and grace to guide us in this, as in all the fundamental matters of our life.

  2. Pleasure is not of the Highest Importance. We live in an Hedonistic Society. In many ways the motto of our age is that of the gladiators. Modern sayings teach this idea. For example, ‘If it feels good, do it!” It is made the chief end of life. The Lord, who knows what truly is best for us tells us what is of highest importance for us is to know the Lord in Christ Jesus and live life for Him His way. Recreations are a means to a good end, not an end in themselves. Matthew 4:4; 1 Corinthians 10:31; 2 Corinthians 10:5.

    We need to know the importance of priorities. We need to test our attitudes and use of recreations by this principle. We should ask ourselves about our activity, ‘Is the Lord pleased I am here?’; ‘Is the Lord pleased I am doing this?’; ‘Is my activity a good witness? Does it make me a better person? Does it help Jesus’ cause? Does it help others to know and serve the Lord?’

  3. All things in Moderation. The Lord, who knows best, teaches us self-control, self- discipline and a healthy balance in our thinking, feelings and life are important for finding a life really worth living. We need balance Today it is common for people to be very addicted, not only to drugs, but to sport, cars and other hobbies, sex, movies, computer games, music etc. People are constantly thinking about these things so they can not settle into their ordinary work and life. The Lord thus teaches us this important principle to show us a better way. 1 Corinthians 9:25; 1 Peter 1:13.

    We need to realize the importance of balance and that ‘too much of a good thing’ can be harmful to us.

  4. Have Moral Companions or Christian Friends. It is important to recognize that people affect one another. Those we mix and spend time with are either helping or hindering us in the Lord’s good way of life. It is easier to catch sickness than health. Therefore the Lord calls us to not freely mix with and have bonding friendships in recreations with just any body. The people of God are like the Israelites, who have to have a care not to mix with the Canaanites who have different values about right and wrong, different goals of life and different principles in many of the most important issues of life. 1 Corinthians 15:33; 2 Corinthians 6:14-18.

  5. Shun Recreations Which Stir up our Weaknesses & Faults. We all have various weaknesses in our character that if we give in to them make us less attractive, healthy and ‘good’ people. Some weaknesses are, pride, loneliness, envy, fear, spendthrift, sexual immorality, gluttony, drunkenness etc etc. There are certain ways of thinking, feeling and acting that do NOT help us. So, there are some movies, books, websites, places where people gather, parties, etc. that stir up the weaknesses, faults and unhealthy sick things in us. They bring out the dark side of us. They are no help and lead us to harm our own and others souls and lives. If we find such things, even if not wrong in themselves, lead us into temptation, we should flee them. Do not put yourself in harm’s way. We need to truly be honest with ourselves in this matter too. Mark 9:47; 2 Timothy 2:22.

  6. Our Recreations Must be in Conformity to God’s Golden Rules. The Lord has given us the ‘Golden Rules’ – the best, wisest rules of life in the Ten Commandments. Now some recreations may be OK in and of themselves, but at certain times and places the doing of them may be the opposite of what the Golden Rules teach us. For example, Soccer, Netball or various forms of sport may be quite healthy and good for us, but if they are on the Lord’s Day/Christian Sabbath, it is a breaking of the 4th Commandment. Some recreations are very popular with the world, and we might think they are therefore OK for us too, such as gambling. However, it is against the 8th and 10th Commandment. The principle to keep in mind then is what the Lord Jesus teaches us in John 14:15 (Cf Vs 21-24 & LC 135-136 & 139-142 etc)

  7. Be Good Stewards of our Time and Money. In a world that makes pleasure a ‘god’, excessive money is spent on recreations. All so often the recreations are non-productive and so the money is ‘wasted’. Follows of the Lord Jesus and His good ways are taught to be stewards – have a care to save and not waste what the Lord has given us materially. This includes not only an attitude to work and buying and spending generally but to recreations. We must not neglect to provide materially for tomorrow and for spending on acts that show the mercies of Christ Jesus. There is a need to provide for a home, loved ones, to spread the news of the gospel of Christ Jesus and to help those in need. The Lord will call us one day to give an account of our use of our time and gifts. Some recreations, such as ‘demolition derbies’, are very wasteful. In our spending for recreations, we should seek to get not only good value for our money, but even make our recreations ‘pay’. Luke 12:48, Ecclesiastes 11:9

    Ask yourself from time to time, am I spending my money in a wise and productive manner? Am I being a good manager of what I have been given? Can I give a good report to the Lord for my spending?

  8. Spiritual Evil is not in Matter. A positive reason for the Christian to enjoy God’s good gifts – recreations – is to remember that moral corruption and wrong is not in ‘things’. We should not condemn ‘things’. While we must be careful not to give a wrong impression by our use of things, evil in not in such things as cards, TV, radio, books, food, money, possessions etc etc. The evil that taints all things and causes us to wrong is in ourselves – our hearts and minds; our attitudes and the use we make of things. The evil is in the way we use things. 1 Timothy 6:10.

    To realize this truth is to have the insight that will help us to practically be better able to have a right use of God’s good gifts.

  9. Avoid the Appearance of Evil. As Christians we need to be sensitive to the impression we give to a watching world. We need to have a good, clear witness to unbelievers of the fullness of life to be found in the Lord Jesus. While we may have liberty to do certain things, and while certain things may be ‘lawful’ for us to do, they should not be the deciding factor in our doing of them. We need to have a care not to stumble others and to create a negative impression to a watching world. Our use of alcohol and going where alcohol is served and drunk is one example where we need to apply this principle. Romans 14:19-21; 1 Thessalonians 5:22

  10. Know and Walk in Life with Christ Jesus. To know the true and living God in Christ Jesus is really to find full and eternal life. So, while we appreciate recreations because they enrich our lives to appreciate and have our life in the care and keeping of Christ Jesus is to have the greatest riches of all in our life. Matthew 6:33; John 10:10; 1 Timothy 4:8.

Let us then look to this wondrous risen and living One who is King over all of life, for grace and wisdom to know what to do in all areas of our life – in our work, home, personal life and yes, in our recreations too. Let us use the world of which Christ Jesus is King, but not abuse the use of His good gifts. Let our focus seek to be that our recreations will help us grow into more beautiful people – people that are just, pure, lovely, of good report and virtue, and in whose heart and daily life is the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Chris Coleborn,
December 2008

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