Can Christians have a sense of humor?

Gospel Sober-mindedness and humor, sober-minded

Can Christians have a sense of humor? Is it OK to have fun and be light-hearted as a Christian, even amidst the seriousness of living out the Gospel?

This is something I’ve been thinking about, as I love to laugh, be silly and spread humor and “ridiculum.”

It gives me great joy to discover or think up something funny and share it with others. If it makes me laugh, or smile, I figure it might do the same for at least a few others.

When left to my own antics, I am naturally inclined to be a silly person. When life gets stressful, that side of me can take a backseat, unfortunately, but silliness is my default.

Can Christians have a sense of humor? The challenge explained.

In recent years I’ve noticed that as I have continued walking with the Lord, and have become more committed to in-depth Bible study and prayer, I often find myself going thinking more about weighty things. After all, the world out there is getting crazier, darker, more depressing and evil all the time.

People need the hope of redemption through Christ, and there are only so many hours in the day. There are so many pressing concerns for which to pray, so many passages to read, so many relationships to invest in, so many people to serve. There is always a tidal wave of urgent matters for which the Christian can and should concern himself or herself.

In light of all that, it is easy to get lost in the thoughtful nature of living the Christian life to the fullest for the glory of God. For me, I entertained the idea that gospel sober-mindedness (that is, being alert and obedient to God’s work – 1 Thessalonians 5:5-8, 2 Timothy 4:5) can squeeze out the humor and silliness that I find so delightful.

This is a dilemma that I have wrestled with recently. In doing so, I was tempted to think that one has to dominate over the other: be immersed in work for the kingdom, or be silly. It is true that these things don’t naturally seem to fit together. After all, when I am defending the truths of God’s word, cracking jokes seems to fade away for the time being.

Does it have to be one or the other?

While it might be two different mindsets, I have ultimately concluded they are not mutually exclusive.

If I believe that God is the giver of all good gifts (James 1:17), then I must acknowledge that humor is a gift from Him. If it is a gift from Him, then He has a purpose for it, and it is to be enjoyed (1 Timothy 6:17). That being the case, suppressing humor in light of “serious” work seems less like an either/or and more like “both please!”

The Bible teaches that we are made in God’s image (see Genesis 1, James 3, Psalm 8). It follows therefore that characteristics we have that are positive, such as an appreciation for, or the gift of, humor is a reflection of God Himself. He can’t give us humor if he doesn’t have it to give.


In light of this reasoning, the question then becomes, what do we do with this knowledge? Like other ontological issues, the answer is, I believe, to use what God has given us for His glory (Colossians 3:17, 23). If I have a sense of humor, I am to use it for the good of others and the glory of God. This in and of itself can be a service to Him, and could also be useful in kingdom work.

I’m not suggesting that humor should be as prioritized as equally as earnest gospel work. I am of the mindset that engaging in the spiritual disciples of Bible study and prayer take the highest priority.

Like anything, gifts from God such as humor are obviously misused for evil and corrupted intent just as certainly as worldly comics use vulgar words as adjectives. But knowing from whom we received such a kind endowment and its intended use, we don’t need to worry about leaving it behind in favor of “serious” work.

For further reading, I suggest this article from Desiring God.

Your thoughts on this subject are always welcome!

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updated 8.9.2023

3 responses to “Can Christians have a sense of humor?”

  1. Being serious about spiritual discipline vs. enjoying humor: I say BOTH are important! I enjoyed reading your blog post tonight. I think you made excellent points, Summer !!

  2. Just discovered this post and I agree that the two are not mutually exclusive. Jesus used humor in many of his teachings. I can’t help but think that He had a little smile when he made some of His replies to the Pharisees who were so serious that they couldn’t laugh at themselves.

    1. Summer Sorensen Avatar
      Summer Sorensen

      I wouldn’t be surprised. I bet Jesus would have been a lot of fun to hang out with!

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