Saturday, February 16, 2008

Pleasure as Worship

The world is full of broken lives. They are broken, not because of pain, but because of pleasure unrestrained. My heart breaks to think about the number of people who are stuck in bad relationships, in addictions, and with broken hearts because they did not have the strength to put pleasure where it belongs. We live in a country where pleasure and freedom and promoted without regard for whose lives might be destroyed. Consider what Ravi Zacharias wrote in Cries of the Heart:
“Neither the Supreme Court nor law can change the wills that are determined to market their products that offer pleasure without restraint and destroy people without apology” (p. 123)

When pleasure is pursued unrestrained the result is broken lives. The reality is that we never have the option of only breaking our own lives, but we also end up breaking the lives those around us as well. While this is a terrible reality there is very little we can do about it. We can’t control what other people decide to do.

The number of abortions in this country is a direct reflection of people unwilling to put the pleasure of sexual intimacy in its proper place. To them sex is all about pleasure and it is to be enjoyed whenever. A life is created and because there is no commitment beyond that of pleasure, the baby is killed. No Supreme Court ruling can change the fundamental problem of an inaccurate view of pleasure.

God desires us to have pleasure and to experience joy. That is one of the reasons He gave us all the different senses that we have. The ability to touch, smell, taste, see, and hear all bring pleasure into our lives. God wants us to experience life with our senses, to find pleasure in His creation.

Pleasure is ultimately a pathway to God. Why? Pleasure is a pathway to God because it gives us a foretaste of the life God wants us to have. It also stands in stark contrast to the evil and pain in the world around us. Pleasure helps us understand that we were made for another world.

There is a danger of equating the feelings of pleasure with our relationship with God. The majority of people don’t even realize this is what they do. They have just bought the lie that the most important thing in life is to feel good, to experience pleasure. Anything that is painful is bad and is to be avoided at all costs. Pleasure in exalted and used as a way to escape the pain, and God is ignored.

As Christians we shouldn’t think pleasure is evil or sinful. Just because something feels good doesn’t mean that it is wrong! When put in their proper context the pleasures of life bring us closer to God. This is how twisted Satan gets us to think. He helps the world glorify pleasure above all else, and he gets Christians to feel guilty about the pleasure in their lives. The next time you are having a good time, wherever it is, doing whatever, use it as a time of worship. Thank God for the experience, for the people with you, and for giving you life.

It is up to us, as followers of Christ, to show the world the real purpose pleasure serves in our lives. King Solomon wrote:
The way of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, which shines ever brighter until the full light of day. But the way of the wicked is like complete darkness. Those who follow it have no idea what they are stumbling over. (Proverbs 4:18-19; NLT)
We cannot stop people from destroying their lives with pleasure. That is a choice they have to make. We can worship God through the pleasure He gives us through our lives. Turn your times of joy into times of worship. Let the world know how much pleasure you have in your life.

  • Point to Ponder: Pleasure is ultimately a pathway to God.
  • Passage to Remember: Proverbs 4:18-19
  • Question to Consider: What part does pleasure play in your life?

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