You and I have cravings. We crave small things and big things. We crave things that are necessary for life and things that are detrimental to life. The bottom line is that we cannot escape from our cravings.
As we seek to satisfy these cravings our cravings we have at least three different responses.
The first response to the cravings of our hearts many of us try is indulgence. We hope by giving into our cravings and living a life of indulgence will bring the satisfaction to our lives that we need. The problem is that while this response seems to work for a while there comes a time when indulging the craving no longer brings us the pleasure it once did. We are brought face to face with the reality that we cannot get the lasting satisfaction that we long to have.
The poster child of this life is King Solomon. Solomon was the third king in history of Israel. His father was the great King David. Solomon was great in his own right. At the beginning of his reign he asked God for wisdom so he could correctly govern God’s people and God granted Solomon’s request. Since Solomon's request was so wise God also granted him great riches and a long life. Solomon’s wisdom was known world wide and Israel prospered under his rule. The problem is that Solomon, at least for a time, abandoned God and began to worship the foreign idols of his foreign wives. At this point Solomon started to indulge his heart's desire. Listen to what Solomon had to say about indulgence:
I said to myself, "Come on, let's try pleasure. Let's look for the 'good things' in life." But I found that this, too, was meaningless. So I said, "Laughter is silly. What good does it do to seek pleasure?" After much thought, I decided to cheer myself with wine. And while still seeking wisdom, I clutched at foolishness. In this way, I tried to experience the only happiness most people find during their brief life in this world.
I also tried to find meaning by building huge homes for myself and by planting beautiful vineyards. I made gardens and parks, filling them with all kinds of fruit trees. I built reservoirs to collect the water to irrigate my many flourishing groves. I bought slaves, both men and women, and others were born into my household. I also owned large herds and flocks, more than any of the kings who had lived in Jerusalem before me. I collected great sums of silver and gold, the treasure of many kings and provinces. I hired wonderful singers, both men and women, and had many beautiful concubines. I had everything a man could desire!
So I became greater than all who had lived in Jerusalem before me, and my wisdom never failed me. Anything I wanted, I would take. I denied myself no pleasure. I even found great pleasure in hard work, a reward for all my labors. But as I looked at everything I had worked so hard to accomplish, it was all so meaningless—like chasing the wind. There was nothing really worthwhile anywhere (Ecclesiastes 2:1-11; NLT).
According to Solomon the life of indulgence is a life of meaningless. It doesn’t get us anywhere and the cravings of our souls are left unsatisfied. I think we have all been there. As children and teenagers we think that we have to have what we desire right way. We try our best to indulge our cravings, yet as newness wears of the toys, as relationships are broken, and our lives begin to become consumed by selfishness many of begin to ask: Isn't there are better way to live? While a life of indulgence seems to be the best way to live, it doesn't take long to understand that it doesn't bring the last satisfaction that our hearts are longing to have.