George Erwin

Recreation is defined as "refreshment of strength or spirit after toil." When properly used, it is a very helpful diversion. However, many are living for the pleasures of this life rather than making them an occasional interlude. Paul shows that pleasure must not dominate our lives. "She that lives in pleasure is dead while she lives." 1 Tim. 5:6. We must never engage in any activity that is sinful no matter how much pleasure may be derived from it. We must remember, "The pleasures of sin (are) for a season. Heb. 11:25. Pleasures of this life are temporary. Instead of re-creating, many activities are destructive to the body or the spirit. Both body and spirit belong to God. 1 Cor. 6:19, 20. We have no right to destroy either. 1 Cor. 3:16,17. The following guidelines are offered to help us choose recreational activities wisely.

Will it come between us and God? One characteristic of perilous times is that many will love pleasures more than God. 2 Tim. 3:4. Anything that hinders our faithful service to God becomes an idol. We cannot serve two masters. Matt. 6:24.

Does this activity interfere with our duty to the church, the spiritual kingdom of Christ? He said, "Seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness." Matt. 6:33. We must seek those things which are above where Christ is. Col. 3:1, 2.

Will it make us less spiritual? Some things, by their nature, destroy spirituality. Though a thing brings physical pleasure, if it destroys spirituality, the cost is too great. Paul wrote, "Walk in the spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh." Gal. 5:16.

Does the activity destroy our influence? Our greatest responsibility in this world is to influence others to follow Christ. We must not participate in anything that will cause the light of our example to be extinguished. Matt. 5:14-16. We must never do anything that will influence others to sin. Rom. 14:20, 21. "We are the only Bibles The careless world will read; We are the sinner's gospel; We are the scoffer's creed."

Will this put us in association with evil companions? "Evil communications (bad company) corrupt good manners (morals). 1 Cor. 15:33. Many good people get into serious trouble because they get with the wrong crowd.

Does it provoke impure thoughts or desires in myself or others? It is imperative that we keep our hearts pure to please God. Matt. 5:8. Anything that tends to produce lust is lasciviousness and is therefore condemned. Gal. 5:19-21. That which provokes lustful thoughts is evil. Matt. 5:28. Any activity in which one is not clothed modestly is unacceptable to Christians. 1 Tim. 2:9.

Will our participation be in harmony with our desire to follow the example of Christ? We are to follow in His steps. 1 Pet. 2:21. Before doing anything, we should ask, "What would Jesus do?"

Is it doubtful in our own minds? Paul gives the principle, "He that doubts is damned ... for whatsoever is not of faith is sin." Rom. 14:23. When we do that which we believe to be wrong long enough it may cause our conscience to be seared. 1 Tim. 4:2. We must not do anything if we THINK it is wrong or have doubts about its being right.

Will this activity rob God? We can rob God by spending so much on pleasure that we have little to give to help the poor and preach the gospel to the lost. 1 Cor. 16:1, 2. If we spend so much time in recreational pursuits that we do not have time to read the Bible, pray, or assemble with God's children to worship, we are robbing God. We must make wise use of the time God gives us. Eph. 5:15, 16.

Will our participation injure us emotionally, physically, or spiritually? If so, the activity cannot be called recreation. We are created in the image of God, and we must never do anything that will mar that image. Gen. 1:26, 27; Matt. 5:48.

When Christ comes to judge us for the deeds done in the body (2 Cor. 5:10), would we want to be engaged in this recreational activity? Anything that causes us to lose the confidence we should have at Christ's coming must be avoided. 1 John 2:28; 1 John 4:17. We do not know when the Lord will come. Therefore, we must remain faithful to Him at all times. Rev. 2:10. Even if we would be involved in something more wholesome at that time, if we have not repented of sins of the past, we shall perish. Luke 13:3-5.

We must make a choice between God and the world. 1 John 2:15-17. The world will pass away, but those who do God's will live eternally. There are some things we must sacrifice if we follow these guidelines. That is what being a Christian is about. "I beseech you ... by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice ... Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God." Rom. 12:1, 2. -111 Heather Court, Scott Depot, WV 25560


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