`Are we having fun yet?'

OPPORTUNITIES for ``fun'' flow from many directions today. Some are innocent. But others--such as the temptation to find pleasure in alcohol, drugs, or irresponsible behavior of some sort--inevitably carry danger and remorse, and aren't really fun. Is it any wonder that many, yearning to lighten the load of daily experience and having tried ordinary methods of pleasure-seeking, may well understand the mute bewilderment on a bumper sticker, ``Are we having fun yet?'' True satisfaction in life is based on something much higher than a temporary, perhaps detrimental, sense of amusement. It's based on a deepening understanding of and love for God and man. This foundation is spiritual and Christly--and it is lasting. Christ Jesus spoke to his followers of purpose, steadfastness, obedience to God, and love for one another. Then he added, ``These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.'' 1 If we are willing to express such healing qualities, to practice them daily, we gain clearer views of true joy. This doesn't deprive us of anything that is truly good; but it does show us how to express good in more meaningful and substantial ways. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes, ``Happiness consists in being and in doing good; only what God gives, and what we give ourselves and others through His tenure, confers happiness: conscious worth satisfies the hungry heart, and nothing else can.'' 2 Being good and doing good develops an unselfishness that steers the individual away from actions promoting moral degradation and spiritual starvation. He discovers more of the natural joy within himself and inherent in everyone. This joy is God-given and protected. And when nurtured, it brings more vitality and spiritual light to our daily activities. Actually, it just isn't true that everything fun is illegal, immoral, or fattening. Such a definition of fun may provide a laugh, yet it points to a material, sensual concept of pleasure and offers no hint of the uplifting happiness founded on a deepening understanding of God and an ever-growing love for man. The satisfaction that accompanies an inner confidence of spiritual well-being has its roots in the divine. It does not depend on circumstance, wealth, marital status, popularity, or mood. It expresses a daily dawning of the joy that is a natural gift from God to His image and likeness, man. Spiritual joy conquers any tendency to cling to habitual influences that would offer ``fun'' by serving up platters of pleasure for indulgence. Such temptations are nothing but brief spurts of escape from boredom or stress, and they can only result in greater emptiness. They can be outgrown by the one who yearns to be receptive to the joy God is already bestowing on us as His children. When our sense of purpose rises above the limited and trivial and we realize more of the dependability of the spiritual, we no longer find happiness precarious. Instead, we find growing satisfaction in life, which springs from a perception of God as the source of all good. As this understanding matures in us, we are not surprised to feel and look better. Cushions of humor plump up routine. Smiles often appear on faces around us, and we are not incredulous at undaunted joy. The Psalmist realized that putting God first in our lives puts everything good into focus. He sang: ``I have set the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth . . . . Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.'' 3 1 John 15:11. 2 Message to The Mother Church for 1902, p. 17. 3 Psalms 16:8, 9, 11.

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