What is a Christian view of hobbies?
Two primary Scriptures to guide our choices when pursuing a hobby are Colossians 3:17 and 1 Corinthians 10:31. Colossians 3:17 says, "And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." First Corinthians 10:31 says, "So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God."
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A hobby is something we pursue or engage in apart from our regular occupation that is meant for enjoyment and/or relaxation. Certainly God promotes rest and there is nothing wrong with engaging in non-work related things for enjoyment. The issue is generally not the hobby itself, but the attitude of the one involved with the hobby. The danger in pursuing hobbies with vigor is that we may create idols of them (1 John 5:21). We must check our motivations and the product of what we pursue. Do our hobbies glorify God or ourselves? Are they a gift from God that we receive with thanksgiving? Or are we using them as an escape to avoid life and God?
God expects us to live lives of freedom, but with cautions. "For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another" (Galatians 5:13). Hobbies can be a source of rest. In our hobbies we may sense God's delight, see His glory, or form meaningful connections with others. Alternately, hobbies may be something that cause us to elevate ourselves above Him or to look for in worldly things what only God can provide. Again, we are free—and free to enjoy the good things in this world—but we must not allow our freedom to lead us into sin.
Our main pursuit, in all things, should be our relationship with God. Hebrews 12:1–2 says, "Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God."
With any hobby, we should ask whether it hinders or promotes our pursuit of Jesus. Do our hobbies set Him aside or obscure Him in our sight or in the sight of others? Or do they help us draw closer to Him and give Him praise? We must measure the fondness and the energies we apply to our hobbies against these weighty questions.
When we pursue hobbies, whether they be sports, crafts, video-gaming, photography, recreation, or another hobby, we can receive God's gift of rest and joy and connect with others. However, we can also elevate those pursuits and relationships above our relationship with God. Our aim must be to glorify God in all we do, show others His goodness, and build God-honoring relationships with those who also pursue such hobbies.
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