Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Pleasure through Morality

“This is the great lost truth of the Christian faith, that correction of Judaism made by Jesus and passed on to us: the goal of morality is not morality—it is ecstasy. You are intended for pleasure!” ~ John Eldredge; The Journey of Desire

One of the great lies the human race has believed from the Beginning is that pleasure is found outside of morality. To often we believe that pleasure is found by breaking the rules and living the moment. God's Law, or morality, seems to stand in the way of our having a good time. The party mentality isn’t just something new invented by students on college campuses, but has gone back thousands of years. So many people have given their lives away to the party in an attempt to feel good.

Morality seems to be God's attempt to keep us from having a good time. Morality tells us not to get drunk or high. Morality tells us that sex should be between a man and a woman, and then only within the bounds of marriage. Morality says to be a servant to other people, even though by serving you will have to sacrifice your personal time and money. Morality seems dull compared to the party. How can pleasure come through doing the right thing?

Ravi Zacharias talks about this issue in his book Cries of the Heart. “For true pleasure the price is paid before it is enjoyed. For false pleasure the price is paid after it is enjoyed” (Ravi Zacharias; Cries of the Heart; p. 142). There is no doubt that illicit sex and pornography bring pleasure to people, if they didn’t people wouldn’t participate in them. The high of drugs, which include alcohol, gives people pleasure, which is one reason people continue to use them even in the face of negative consequences. Yet are these the types of pleasures God created us to enjoy? God created us to experience pleasures which add joy to our lives, not pleasures which enslave us.

The bottom line is that the false pleasures so many people chase after end up costing them in the long run. The cost is seen in disease, broken relationships, crime, and an empty life which they desperately want to change. To ignore morality and to embrace pleasure may seem fun in the short term, but it is going to cost in the long run.

To pay the cost of morality, to practice self-control, and to obey the commands of Jesus bring happiness and joy, the greatest forms of pleasure. Ultimately pleasure isn’t about the feelings produced by a high or an orgasm, but about the love one has for others and the knowledge that his/her life has been productive. False pleasures tear down the trust and love needed to produce loving relationships and lasting achievements. Relationships are the key to experiencing the pleasure God intended for us to have.

Put into the bigger picture of eternity the life lived in pursuit of false pleasures will pay the ultimate price of being separated from the source of Love and Joy, God; while the life lived in faith and laying down of wills will experience the ultimate relationship with the Creator. God wants us to experience pleasure! The question is are you going to sell out to the fleeting pleasures of the party, or are you going to pay the price to experience pleasure the way it was meant to be? That is the choice God has given you to make.

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