Is life not meant to be enjoyed?
I still have some things troubling my mind. I always wanted to try my best and enjoy life as much as I can, obviously with God. But lately, in church and from reading the Bible, some things really confuse me. For example like how Jesus told us that if we wanted to be perfect we must sell everything to give to the poor and follow him. I see the good things with this, but does it mean that I should never get a house or start a family because I need to sell all my things? I really need an answer. I have been really confused these past two years about what God wants. I would really accept Him fully in my life and give up everything for Him. But I just don't know what God wants me to do with my life, and if just having fun and enjoying life is wrong. This kind of stopped me from trying my best in school and just enjoying it as it comes because I don't know how to live for God.
The book of Ecclesiastes was written to explain to us why God put us here on earth. Many people find it to be a depressing book because it calls so many things useless that most people think are important. But scattered through the book are statements about what is important in life:
"Nothing is better for a man than that he should eat and drink, and that his soul should enjoy good in his labor. This also, I saw, was from the hand of God. For who can eat, or who can have enjoyment, more than I? For God gives wisdom and knowledge and joy to a man who is good in His sight; but to the sinner He gives the work of gathering and collecting, that he may give to him who is good before God. This also is vanity and grasping for the wind" (Ecclesiastes 2:14-16).
"I know that nothing is better for them than to rejoice, and to do good in their lives, and also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor-it is the gift of God" (Ecclesiastes 3:12-13).
"Here is what I have seen: It is good and fitting for one to eat and drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labor in which he toils under the sun all the days of his life which God gives him; for it is his heritage. As for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, and given him power to eat of it, to receive his heritage and rejoice in his labor-this is the gift of God. For he will not dwell unduly on the days of his life, because God keeps him busy with the joy of his heart" (Ecclesiastes 5:18-20).
"Live joyfully with the wife whom you love all the days of your vain life which He has given you under the sun, all your days of vanity; for that is your portion in life, and in the labor which you perform under the sun" (Ecclesiastes 9:9).
"Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth; walk in the ways of your heart, and in the sight of your eyes; but know that for all these God will bring you into judgment. Therefore remove sorrow from your heart, and put away evil from your flesh, for childhood and youth are vanity" (Ecclesiastes 11:9-11).
There is a short study on this web site called, "Why Did God Create Man?" I would like you to go through it and think about the lessons you can learn from Ecclesiastes.
The problem is that while there are things in this world to give us pleasure while living here, for many people these pleasures become their sole focus. Instead of seeing money as something to be enjoyed if you happened to have some and an opportunity to do good with the funds God has loaned you, some people make money their primary reason for living. "Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life" (I Timothy 6:17-19). If a person will put their wealth before doing good to their fellow man, then something is seriously wrong.
What is causing you confusion is seeing what Jesus is telling one individual and thinking that the exact same command applies to you.
"Now behold, one came and said to Him, "Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?" So He said to him, "Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments." He said to Him, "Which ones?" Jesus said, "'You shall not murder,' 'You shall not commit adultery,' 'You shall not steal,' 'You shall not bear false witness,' 'Honor your father and your mother,' and, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'" The young man said to Him, "All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?" Jesus said to him, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me." But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions" (Matthew 19:16-22).
The man sincerely wanted to reach heaven, but he left in sorrow because what was asked of him was more than what he was willing to give. If you truly desire heaven, then you must ask yourself how valuable is it to you. What are you willing to give to possess it? Because what God wants of you is your all.
The point is not that every Christian must give up everything they have. The point is that if it came between your possessions and your God, would God become the second place in your life? If in your life you never gained wealth or fame, would you still be a Christian? Could you find contentment, happiness, if poverty was your lot in life? "Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content" (I Timothy 6:6-8).
I don't know what God has planned for your life. Rough times are bound to come. But whether rich or poor, can you accept what comes and keep God first in your life? "Therefore do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you" (Matthew 6:31-33).