Young people need recreation. Our Saviour does not frown upon wholesome recreation. He was interested in the games of the children when He was here upon earth. He watched the children at their play [Matt. 12:16-19], and He watches the children at their play to-day, and delights in their play when it is wholesome and elevating. In the stress and strain of modern life older people need recreation if they are to do their very best work. But there are recreations that are wholesome, and there are amusements that are pernicious. It is impossible to take up amusements one-by-one, and it is unnecessary.
A few principles can be laid down.
1. Do not indulge in any form of amusement about whose propriety you have any doubts.
Whenever you are in doubt, always give God the benefit of the doubt. There are plenty of recreations about which there can be no question.
"He that doubts is condemned; for whatsoever is not of faith is sin" [Rom. 14:32, RV].
Many a young Christian will say, "I am not sure that this amusement is wrong." Are you sure that it is right? If not, leave it alone.
2. Do not indulge in any amusement that you cannot engage in to the glory of God.
"Whether therefore you eat or dink, or whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of God" [1 Cor. 10:31].
Whenever you are in doubt as to whether you should engage in any amusement ask yourself, Can I do this at this time to the glory of God?
3. Do not engage in any amusement that will hurt your influence with anybody.
There are amusements, which perhaps are all right in themselves, but which we cannot engage in without losing our influence with some one. Now every true Christian wishes his life to tell with everybody to the utmost. These is so much to be done and so few to do it that every Christian desires every last ounce of power for good that he can have with everybody, and, if any amusement will injure your influence for good with any one, the price is too great. Do not engage in it.
A Christian lady had a great desire to lead others to Christ. She made up her mind that she would speak to a young friend of hers about coming to Christ, and while resting between the figures of a dance she said to the young man who was her companion in the dance, "George, are you a Christian?"
"No," he said, "I am not, are you?"
"Yes,: she replied, "I am."
"Then," he said, "what are you doing here?"
Whether justly or unjustly the world discounts the professions of those Christians who indulge in certain forms of the world's own amusements. We cannot afford to have our professions discounted.
4. Do not engage in any amusement that you cannot make a matter of prayer, that you cannot ask God's blessing upon.
Pray before your play just as much as you would pray before your work.
5. Do not go to any place of amusement where you cannot take Christ with you, and where you do not think Christ would feel at home.
Christ went to places of laughter when He was here upon earth. He went to the marriage feast in Cana [John 2], and contributed to the joy of the occasion, but there are many modern places of amusement where Christ would not be at home. Would the atmosphere of the modern stage be congenial to that holy One whom we call "Lord"? If it would not, don't you go.
6. Don't engage in any amusement that you would not like to be found enjoying if the Lord should come.
He may come at any moment. Blessed is that one whom when He comes, He shall find watching and ready, and glad to open to Him immediately [Luke 12:36, 40]. I have a friend who was one day walking down the street thinking about the return of the his Lord. As he thought he was smoking a cigar. The thought came to him, "Would you like to meet Christ now with that cigar in your mouth?" He answered honestly, "No, I would not," He threw that cigar away and never lighted another.
7. Do not engage in any amusement, not matter how harmless it would be for yourself, that might harm someone else.
For most of us the recreations that are helpful are those that demand a considerable outlay of physical energy. Recreations that take us into the open air, recreations that leave us refreshed in body and invigorated in men. Physical exercises of the strenuous kind, but not over-exercise, is one of the great safe-guards of the moral conduct of boys and young men.
Feed Yourself Assignments
These assignments assume the student has completed the Feed Yourself course.
1. Memorize 1 Cor. 10:31.
2. Look up in your Bible each Scripture reference mentioned in this lesson - even the ones that are quoted.
3. Consider your amusements, entertainments and fun activities. Prayerfully as the Lord if they are in His will for your life. If not, don't just drop them and leave a void, but find wholesome activities to replace them with.