Recently I was talking with a youth about some choices and how much more deeply satisfying it will be in their core to choose to honor God and love and serve others than anything they could do for themselves. After some thought the youth said, "But it won't be as much fun." I pointed out that I hadn't used the word "fun" and that they were right, it wouldn't be as much "fun," but that I was talking about something much more satisfying and lasting than temporary fun.
The world is right. There are a lot of things more "fun" for a moment than surrendering to God in that moment and loving or serving another person instead of yourself. I can't argue that the alternatives are a lot more fun than helping out a parent, or submitting to what someone else wants to do instead of you want to do, or doing an unpleasant job that needs doing but others are walking around. But I didn't say, "fun."
What I did say is that there is nothing we can do for ourselves that will match, at a level of deep satisfaction and lasting joy, what comes to us by choosing to love another more than we love ourselves, and to express that love in tangible acts of selflessness. To walk in the plans prepared for us by the Star Breather Himself when He created us—what greater honor or deeper joy could there be? To make God smile and to open up a flow of relationship with Him instead of quenching or grieving His Spirit—what higher goal could there be than this? To invest in things eternal instead of things that moths eat and rust destroys and thieves steal—what could rank higher than that? To say to God, "I love you" through our life and not just our words and songs—what louder voice could there be than that? To be conformed closer to God's image—what higher desire could there be for ourselves than that? And what an adventure and promise of clarity of God's voice it is to explore, through our obedience, the amazing words of Jesus in John 7:17 when He says, "If anyone's will is to do God's will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority."!
No, I didn't say "fun." Didn't mention the word. I can't argue against fun for the moment. Curl up with a good book, or help someone unclog a toilet—I won't even try and say that the toilet wins over the book for "fun." But this isn't about fleeting fun that in the end has no lasting value—it's about finding the deepest level of satisfaction possible in living in the plans we were created for and expressing our love for our Creator through our obedience to Him and our laying ourselves down for another . . . and experiencing the closeness with Him and intimacy and fellowship that seems to often spring forth from simple acts of love and obedience.
And, you know what? I've often found that when I have obeyed and loved, often I'll sense the Spirit release me to have "fun" and He often prepares the way and blesses me in it far more than I could ever do for myself on my own. And it feels so much better to know He's given me the fun, than that I took it when my Spirit was nudging me to something else I turned away from.