1 Timothy 6:17Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy.
While God has given us all things to enjoy, perhaps it would be a good idea to define “all things,” and how we enjoy them. It is one thing to enjoy what God has given you; it’s quite another to walk in lust. 1 John 2:15-16Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.
What does it mean to enjoy? In one sense, it means to take delight or pleasure in an activity, occasion or person. It also means to possess or benefit from something or someone. It implies the cleaving or adherence of the mind or affection to an object. Of course, to enjoy oneself is to have a pleasant time.
True enjoyment as God intended requires integrity of heart. Turning the grace of God into an insatiable desire for pleasure is a perversion of enjoyment. It leads to the denying of the Lord Jesus Christ (see Jude 1:4). In some circles of the Christian community, it is often said, “God wants us to be happy.” It’s actually a twist on grace in the sense people use that statement to fulfill desires that don’t necessarily make God happy. Grace is not God’s blanket stamp of approval to do what we want. It is not okay to embrace what is contrary to His nature. Otherwise, why would Jesus say, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” (Matthew 16:24)?
Godly freedom is not autonomy to do what you want; it is the liberty to worship Him in Spirit and truth. This is grace: God’s unmerited favor bestowed upon us, which enables us to do the things of God that we are incapable of doing on our own.
Do you want to be happy? Conform to His desires and you will find more bliss than you ever thought possible. The idea is not to get as close to sin as possible, and still be alright. That is not faith, nor is it obedience. With obedience comes joy.
John 15:10-12If 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 so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full. This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.
So then, what is okay for me to enjoy and what is not? To be clear, it is not a one size fits all category. It boils down to submission. Galatians 5:15But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. By submitting to Holy Spirit, you will know rather quickly. This does, however, go back to what was previously stated: true enjoyment requires integrity. You have to be honest enough to be willing to hear what He says to you. Allow Holy Spirit to convict and lead you into repentance when necessary; otherwise, your conscience becomes seared and less moldable in the Potter’s hands.
Ironically, the more we try to make ourselves happy, the less happy we will be. On the other hand, the more we conform to our Father’s will and desires for us, the more content and joyful we will be. Selfishness never made anyone happy! Consider this: happiness is based on outer stimuli; whereas, joy is an inner glee that doesn’t rely on outside circumstances. The more one seeks happiness, the less he will seek God, and that means possessing less joy.
Finally, it is quite acceptable to be happy and enjoy things; otherwise, nothing in life would be enjoyable. Think about it. Do you enjoy good tasting food? God could have made all food bitter to the taste. Who created spice and things that are sweet to the taste? Do you enjoy music? Where do you think music comes from? Do you realize that He sings over us (see Zephaniah 3:17)? God created all things good. It is a question of how we use those things that determines the difference. Let the Lord lead you, and you will find enjoyment beyond your wildest expectations. Do you take joy in a loved one enjoying things? Where do you think you get that from?