Friday, February 26, 2010
Morality and Pleasure
“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 very beginning is that the very best pleasure is found outside of the God-given bounds of life. This is why so many people believe the "good life" is found in doing their own thing and living for the moment. The party mentality isn’t just something new invented by students on college campuses, but has gone back thousands of years. It is easy to see that many people have given their lives away to the party in an attempt to feel good.
For many people morality seems to stand in the way of pleasure. Morality tells us not to get drunk or get 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 through giving your time and/or money to help someone in need. When we look through the eyes of the world morality looks pretty dull compared to the party. So we wonder; "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” (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, provides people a moment of pleasure, which is one reason why people continue to use them even when they face negative consequences. Ask yourself; "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. Here is what I want you to remember: The worldly 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. Carnal pleasures tear down the trust and love needed to produce loving relationships and lasting achievements. In God's economy relationships are the key to experiencing the pleasure God intended for us to experience in life.
When we look at the bigger picture of eternity, the life lived in pursuit of worldly pleasures will cost the pursuer the ultimate price of being separated from the true source of Love and Joy: God. The person who seeks after God's Kingdom will experience the ultimate form of pleasure: an eternal relationship with his Heavenly Father.
Make no mistake about it, 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 of morality to experience pleasure the way it was meant to be experienced? That is the choice God has given you to make.
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