Been to a good party lately? I have. In fact, I’ve been to a bunch over the last few months and in the process, I’ve been able to hang out with some great people ranging from some amazing new friends I made who live in Long Island, NY, to some long-time friends I was able to reconnect with recently. It has been an awesome summer! Not only that, but I’ve also been able to live more like Jesus lived by doing so.
You see, taking time out to party in the positive sense of the word is something that Jesus did, and it’s an activity that God expects us to engage in. I talked about this in my last post so in case you missed it, just go to “It’s Time to Party!: Part 1” to read about it. Partying is an important activity and there are important reasons why.
When we set aside time to enjoy life, it reduces stress. It helps us to gain perspective and worry less. It enables us to be more thankful for all that we have, and more. Along with these reasons, though, there is an even more important reason why we need to party, and it’s this: Partying in the positive sense of the word helps us to avoid giving an inaccurate picture of Jesus and the Christian life.
Jesus made an important statement about why He came. He said,
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” – John 10:10
Simply put, Jesus came so that we can have a place in heaven forever and be able to live life to the fullest until we get there. Not only that, but when people look at the lives of those who have decided to follow Jesus, they should see people who know how to enjoy life. They should see, for example, people who have a peace and joy that transcends whatever is happening in their lives. They should see people who live on purpose and know their lives have meaning no matter what they have or do. And they should see people having fun in the process, just like Jesus did. Yet, when we don’t take time out to party, or worse, think it is “unspiritual,” we end up pushing ourselves, and others, away from what God wants for us.
Dallas Willard in his classic book, The Spirit of the Disciplines, makes this point when he says, “…the One who came to give abundance of life is commonly thought of as a cosmic stuffed shirt, whose excessive “spirituality” probably did not allow him normal body functions and certainly would not permit him to throw a Frisbee or tackle someone in a football game.” A few paragraphs later, he adds, “It is extremely important for us to realize that what we are discussing here is no mere matter of fine philosophical speculation or psychological theory. It deeply concerns Christian practice and it’s effects upon others. How many people are radically and permanently repelled from (Jesus) by Christians who are unfeeling, stiff, unapproachable, boringly lifeless, obsessive and dissatisfied?”
In short, we need to party so that people are drawn towards Jesus and not away from Him. Or to put it another way, we need to genuinely enjoy life so that people can attend the best party ever, which I will talk about in part 3. Until then, help yourself and the people you care about by making sure you take time to party like Jesus did!