Rebels Have More Fun, for Now
Sin is pleasurable in the short-term, but faithfulness brings eternal rewards.
Everyone knows rebels have more fun: from "The Music Man" to "Footloose," which was the hip teen movie of my teenage years, to "True Blood"; from Cindi Lauper, "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun," to Madonna and Lady Gaga. For decades popular culture has constantly reminded us of this basic truth: rebels have more fun. Rules by their very nature restrict. Rules say no. Rules deny: you can't have. Rules repress: you can't be. Rules are a burden, aren't they? So throwing off the rules must lead to more fun, more pleasure, more success. Maybe you don't actually believe that, but the people around you do. And there's empirical evidence for it. When we look back at the revolutions during the past 50 years, the ones that have changed our lives—the economic revolution, social revolutions, sexual revolutions—what have they done? They've thrown off the norms that our parents lived by. Why were they pursued? They were not pursued so much in the name of justice abstractly understood; they were pursued in the cause of greater personal fulfillment and liberty. Rebels, at the end of the day, aren't so much anti-authoritarian; they just want to have more fun, more freedom. What's so bad about that?
This is where the idea that rebels have more fun even resonates with us inside the church, we who call ourselves Christians. It's not that we want to overthrow morality; we want to bend it a little for the sake of our pleasure, for fun when we want it. We want a relationship with God, but we don't want the burden of self-denial. We like the idea of following God, but following God so often seems to be all about duty. And if we're honest, what we really like is just a little more happiness.
We are working through the Psalms of Asaph. ...
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Michael Lawrence is pastor of Hinson Baptist Church in Portland, Oregon, and author of "Biblical Theology in the Life of the Church" (Crossway).