Laugh, Play, Pray, and Hope
By Rick Warren
“The Son of Man came, enjoying life” (Matthew 11:19b Phillips).
God meant for you to enjoy your life, not just endure it. He formed your body in a way that illustrates that truth. God’s Word is clear: Enjoying your life will lead to a healthier year.
The Bible teaches in Proverbs 17:22, “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones” (NIV). In other words, he who laughs, lasts.Science is beginning to catch on, too. Studies prove that when you laugh — a great sign that you’re enjoying life — your number of T-cells and your immunity to illness goes up. Humor is God's gift to you. Accept the gift!
The Bible says in Matthew 11:19 that “the Son of Man came, enjoying life” (Phillips). While Jesus was the most intensive, ministry-oriented person who ever lived, he also lived life to the fullest and loved life with every fiber of his being. For him, this was no contradiction.
So that means that if one of the great purposes of your life is to become more like Jesus Christ — and it is — then you can’t fulfill God’s purpose unless you know how to enjoy life like he did.
To enjoy life to the fullest, we need activities that recharge our emotions. We need activities that literally re-create us. Since God made each of us different, we all have different ways that he does that in our lives.
Since I do a lot of “brain work” throughout the day, I enjoy “re-creating” myself by working with my hands. If you work with your hands all day, you may enjoy working with your mind, like reading or doing crossword puzzles, as a break.
Laughter is actually one of the most important ways you re-create yourself on a regular basis. We all need laughter throughout our day. God made us in his image, and the Bible says God laughs. In fact, God always gets the last laugh (just see Genesis 21 and the naming of Isaac)!
To be an emotionally balanced person, you need to take God very seriously but not take yourself seriously at all. Learn to laugh at your limitations. You’ll have plenty of material!
You’ll need to enjoy life through more than just your good times, though. In fact, if you can only enjoy your life when all your problems are solved, you’ll never enjoy life. All your problems will never be solved at the same time.
It’s likely you’ll go through some tough times this year. But commit today to enjoying the gift of life God gives you this year. Laugh, play, pray — and hope.
Then get ready for a happier, healthier life.
Talk It Over
- What are some ways you recharge yourself emotionally, spiritually, and physically?
- Describe a time in your life where laughter helped you through a difficult situation.
- How do you need to change your schedule so that you have a better balance of work, ministry, and recreation?
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This devotional © 2017 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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