Spirituality can be Joyous and Playful

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Spirituality can be Joyous and Playful

Spirituality has thus come to be regarded by the world as those futile, self-torturing excesses of strange men and women who lived in far-off, benighted places and times. Accordingly, 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 bodily functions and certainly would not permit him to throw a frisbee or tackle someone in a football game.

But God is not opposed to natural life with all its pleasures and pains and is even very favorably disposed toward it. Yet we find that hard to believe even though many well-known Christian teachers have laid great emphasis on that point. In his book He That Is Spiritual, Lewis Sperry Chafer remarks that it is a morbid human consciousness that has misled us into the view that to be spiritual one must avoid play, diversion, and a helpful amusement. This view, however, is not only opposed to scriptural teaching, but is a device of Satan to make a blessed life in God distasteful to young people overflowing with physical energy. Overemphasis on negatives, Chafer points out, leaves the impression that spirituality is contrary to pleasure, liberty, and spontaneous expression.

Spirituality is not a pious pose. It is not a “Thou shalt not”; it is “Thou shalt.” It flings open the doors into the eternal blessedness, energies and resources of God. It is a serious thing to remove the element of relaxation and play from any life. We cannot be normal physically, mentally, or spiritually if we neglect this vital factor in human life. God has provided that our joy shall be full.

From The Spirit of the Disciplines: Understanding How God Changes Lives. Copyright © 1988 by Dallas Willard. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.


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