It is difficult for many of us to believe that God wants us to be satisfied. My wife affectionately refers to me sometimes as a “fun-sucker.” A “fun-sucker” is someone who can emotionally vaporize every ounce of joy in a room with a single word. I am a master at the craft.
One of our favorite things to do in the spring of the year is to attend the University of Georgia G-Day football game. The weather is warming. There is a real family atmosphere in the stadium. It has been a long, dark winter and it has been a long time since we have seen some football. Best of all, its free! A game will cost my family a small fortune in the fall, but the spring game is perfectly priced.
We get out of bed the morning of G-Day and the weather is perfect. Our plan is to stop at a mom-and-pop breakfast joint in our town and grab biscuits on the way to the game. Apparently, everyone else in the metropolis of Chatsworth, Georgia had the same plan. We live in a small town with only a few thousand people. Apparently all of them meet up at the same hole-in-the wall joint for biscuits and invite out-of-town guests.
We sat at the drive-thru 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 20 minutes, and it seemed like we had moved less than a car length closer to the window. It was at that moment that fun sucker determined to save the day.
I loudly expressed to every passenger in my van my thoughts regarding the inefficiency of the restaurant servers. I condemned harshly the idea that other people in our town would want biscuits as badly as I did. Comparatively, I pointed out why my day must certainly be more important than theirs. How dare the good people of Chatsworth inconvenience a man on a schedule going to a glorified spring football practice! By the time I had yelled, stomped, and slung gravel while bolting out of the parking lot, there was not a single ounce of fun left within the confines of our Honda Odyssey van. Mission accomplished.
For some reason we believe God is a “fun-sucker.” We believe God is a mostly stoic, otherwise temperamental, unpredictable, ruler of the universe who requires us to be miserable if we are to have any shot at being godly. If you share this belief allow me to ask a few questions.
Who was it that created the Garden of Eden full of perfect provision and told Adam and the Eve to have it all, but one?
Who was it that invented the day off?
Who was it that instituted seven feast days on the Jewish calendar?
Who was it that created the concept of a promised land flowing with milk and honey?
Who created Paradise?
God is not a fun-sucker. The God of the Bible is happy.
In John 17 we have recorded a divine conversation between Jesus and the Father. There Jesus prays, “But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves.” – John 17:13 (ESV)
As a happy God, the Bible teaches that there are things that God approves, that He delights in (Psalm 35:27). We have a God who actually likes things. Remember why we said that, when we turn our attention to God’s face instead of our own, we are more likely to be satisfied? Because you need only one “like.”
Someone may object and point quickly to the Ten Commandments. It is difficult to envision a happy God who likes anything when the 10 most familiar statements in the Bible begin “Thou shalt not.” Through our eyes we see God as a warden on patrol. He has a scowl on His face and He is quick to bring harsh judgment on anyone who dares to break one of the ten rules. But is that really a fair assessment of what the Ten Commandments truly are?
Is it really fair to presume that negative statements are always motivated by hate? When a child walks too close to a fire, is it hateful for a mother to scream out, “Stop!” Is it judgmental for the manufacturers of rat poison to put a skull and crossbones on the box and to warn you that, if you eat it, you will die? Think about this: Do the warnings on a box of poison diminish in any way the pleasure that is found in cake?
What we need on a box of poison is a warning about the contents, not a commentary on the taste of cake. Would you rather the box list all the things you can eat and allow you to figure out by the process of elimination what you can’t eat without harmful repercussions? No way! What we need is for warnings to get to the point. It’s not so much negative as it is practical.
What if you rethought the Ten Commandments and didn’t see them only as negative statements, but as affirmations of what God loves? If the Ten Commandments are the primary list for what God doesn’t like, what do the Ten say about what God does like?
Let’s take the last 6 as an example. The last 6 govern our relationships with one another. Honor your father and your mother. Why, because God loves the family.
You shall not murder. God loves life.
You shall not commit adultery. God loves loving marriages built on trust.
You shall not steal. God wants you to enjoy ownership and have security with your stuff.
You shall not bear false witness. God loves truth and in the same way He protects His image (no graven images, do not take the Lord’s name in vain), He protects your reputation.
You shall not covet your neighbor’s house or wife . . . or anything that is your neighbor’s. God values contentment and security in community.
Is it really a fun-sucker move on God’s part to protect your property, your marriage, your parents, your children, and your very life? The Ten Commandments say more about who God is and what God likes than they do about what He doesn’t.
If you will learn to like what God likes, you can have your fill of it. It is here that the word “fun-sucker” enters the equation. So what does God like? Is it singing in the choir? Wow, now that sounds eternally fun – forever a choir boy!
Surely God likes modesty. Does that mean I must wear khaki and white everyday? If we like what God likes, we imagine ourselves having only our fill of a monkish life, holed up in a bell tower, hooked on Gregorian chants, destined to forever wear khaki. Nothing could be further from the truth. God has greater desires than khaki for His people.
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