Greetings MOL Family!
Did you know that God loves to make the youth (every one of us) happy? Now the question is… when is He happy?
A New Creature
When God has succeeded in making you happy, then He is happy. So, can you make Him happy? Why yes! You can make God happy by letting Him make you happy.
There are some people that it seems very difficult to make happy. They seem to find a morbid satisfaction in gathering dead leaves or brambles, thorns, briars – collecting them as one might collect stamps or rocks. Ah, my friends, God says He wants to show us the path of what? Life, fullness of joy, pleasures for evermore. Let’s enter in. What do you say?
2 Corinthians 5:17. Here Paul is presenting to us the wonderful privilege, the wonderful experience of being Christians:
If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature. – 2 Corinthians 5:17
The Revised Version margin says, “There is a new creation.” One of the things that we want to study in today’s lesson, especially, is this matter of the new creation, day by day. Re-creation, or, as we usually pronounce it, recreation.
You see, our bodies and our minds, too, they get tired. We “run out of juice.” “The battery goes down.” Did you ever notice how sometimes it is much more difficult to think than it is at other times? How sometimes a problem looks big, and you pray and go to sleep and wake up the next morning, and the problem has gotten so much smaller? Or did it? You were recharged, weren’t you? What is a hard job for a weak battery is an easy job for a battery that is fully-charged. Our text says that recreation, new creation, is in Christ. I know that this text is talking about conversion, but we need a new conversion every day, my dear friends.
And in experiencing that new conversion every day, we shall be recharged with power from on high. God wants us to be full of life, joy, and enthusiasm because we are constantly recharged from the great power house. God has channels to accomplish that. He has agencies through which He works. Just as food is made with certain elements in it to put iron in the blood and calcium in the bones and phosphorus in the brain and nerves, so God’s plan and program of recreation has in it the elements, the ingredients, that will refresh us and restore us and send us back to our work ready and willing and glad and able to carry the job through. Oh, I am so glad for God’s program of recreation. I was so glad when I began to understand what God gave us in place of worldly amusements.
When I was in my middle teens, I got a little notebook, and I began to copy into it quotations of various kinds from the Spirit of Prophecy. And what do you suppose was the first subject that my teenage mind seized onto as something that I especially wanted to copy references on? Recreation. I kept copying references from The Desire of Ages and Education and Ministry of Healing and the volumes, until I had eight pages of hand-copied quotations on recreation.
By the way, I recommend to every young person (you can all be young on this one if you wish) copying out by hand, or by the computer, your own selection of references on different subjects. There is no compilation of the Spirit of Prophecy that can ever do you as much good as the one you make. Just as there is no bird collection or insect collection or stamp collection that anybody else has made that can ever thrill you like your own.
So, in this subject of recreation, as I began to study, the thing began to open out to me, and I saw that God wanted us to have recreation, not just once a week on Saturday night (ah, that is a famine program), but every day. We need it every day. One reason that so many people are restless is they think of recreation as something for once a week or maybe a few times a week. We need it, dear friends, every day.
Jesus, Our Great Example
Let us take a look at the example of Jesus here in Ministry of Healing. He is the great Example for youth and children as well as older people:
The childhood of Jesus, spent in poverty, had been uncorrupted by the artificial habits of a corrupt age. – Ministry of Healing, pg. 52
Now notice, He didn’t get into the artificial habits of the people around Him:
Working at the carpenter’s bench, bearing the burdens of home life, learning the lessons of obedience and toil, He found recreation amidst the scenes of nature, gathering knowledge as He sought to understand nature’s mysteries. He studied the word of God, and His hours of greatest happiness were found when He could turn aside from the scene of His labors to go into the fields, to meditate in the quiet valleys, to hold communion with God on the mountainside, or amid the trees of the forest. The early morning often found Him in some secluded place, meditating, searching the Scriptures, or in prayer. With the voice of singing He welcomed the morning light. With songs of thanksgiving He cheered His hours of labor, and brought heaven’s gladness to the toilworn and disheartened. – Ministry of Healing, pg. 52
Was there time in the program of Jesus for recreation? Yes, every day. He needed it every day; He got it every day – recreation that meant refreshment, recreation that meant diversion from His ordinary work, and recreation that brought Him joy and satisfaction. That is what true recreation does. It gives us those three things: refreshment, diversion, pleasure – restoration, something different, something satisfying. And when you have those three ingredients in one package, you really have a good time in the true sense of the word.
The great enemy in this, as in all other things, has sought to pervert, to twist, to change that which God has made perfect. As the wise man says:
God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions. – Ecclesiastes 7:29
And the Spirit of Prophecy applies that expression to the competitive games of this world, the inventions after the way of the Gentiles. Jesus didn’t join, we are told, in the frolics and sports of the youth of Nazareth. He found His recreation in these God-appointed means – in nature, through the study of God’s word, in prayer, and in singing. Oh, what a source of recreation music is.
“Well,” somebody says, “I can see how a religious person might spend some time in Bible study and prayer. And I can see how a naturalist might want to get out and look at the birds and flowers. But I don’t call that recreation.” Now listen. Do you know why I call a certain letter “A?” Why do you call that certain letter “A?” I will tell you. Somebody you had confidence in told you, “That’s A.” And you said “A.” And you have been saying it ever since. You have said it so long, you think that’s it. Am I right? Yes. But if an Asian person would look at it, he wouldn’t know what it was. If he gave it any name it wouldn’t be that. And the only way he could learn would be what? Take somebody’s word for it and call it that.
And if he would keep calling it that, pretty soon, whenever he saw that, he would say that is what? “A.” Listen. We need to learn the alphabet, listening to the divine Teacher. And if Jesus says this is recreation, then I am going to call it what? Recreation. And the wonderful thing is, friends, He is the great Teacher, the true Teacher. He always says the truth for when He says it, it is the truth. And if you and I accept it by faith, we find in our experience, as we enter into it, it is the truth; it is recreation – there is joy and diversion and restoration in walking out in nature, seeing the birds and the flowers, and getting acquainted with the trees. But dear friends, remember, in order to get recreation out of these things, we must leave aside completely (if we want to get the full joy and the full satisfaction) all this competitive element that we studied about.
And the poor people of this world, even if they get out in nature, they have to introduce that alcohol of Babylon, which is competition and rivalry. Just as a man of this world may take a delicious fruit drink and spike it with alcohol, so the people of this world will take the beauties of nature and introduce some activity which produces this spirit of competition.
Our business is to take it pure, unadulterated, uncontaminated with the wine of Babylon, fresh from the Fountain, and we shall find refreshment.
Are you being refreshed by the Living Fountain? Or, are you still settling for broken cisterns…?
Join us next week, as we dig deeper into God’s beautiful way of enjoying recreation; as did Christ. Invite a friend, and we’ll see you then…
Did you know that we have more online classes available (and posted daily)?
- Country Living
- Courtship & Marriage
- The Christian Home
- Child Guidance
- Army of Youth
- The School of Health
- Other Present Truth Studies
* This study has been adapted from classes taken by Elder W.D. Frazee.