Ah pleasure. Most Friday nights my wife and I indulge in a little too much sugar and usually rent a movie. We miss each other because our busy week is full of activity: work, children, grandchildren, friends, ministry and so on. I admit, especially in the past, guilt has often followed because, honestly, we have so much fun together that the consciousness of God can slip away into the night. But it does not have to.
When we talk about pleasure and God in the same sentence the two seem incompatible. It is true that extending our earthly pleasures beyond what is reasonable has the potential to divert our attention away from God entirely. Furthermore, the pursuit of pleasure can lead to psychological and even physiological dependency. In this case the very thing we pursue in order to enhance enjoyment of life ends up causing us a progressive sense of grief rather than pleasure.
“Have you found honey? Eat only as much as you need, lest you be filled with it and vomit.” Proverbs 25:16.
However, we must not forget that God is the Creator of pleasure. The danger inherent in pleasure is not that we will have too much fun, but that it will lead us into a state of mind whereby God becomes a hazy memory rather than a present reality.
Why is this so important? Can I offer a cosmological answer? In the grand scheme of things those who follow Christ will one day live in the presence of God forevermore. What a wonderful hope we have! I can hardly contain my excitement at the thought!
But how does our Lord feel about us being in His presence? Listen to the Lord’s lament about His people:
“Can a virgin forget her ornaments, or a bride her attire? Yet My people have forgotten Me days without number.” Jeremiah 2:32.
Oh, He loves us. He will freely give us all things, even His kingdom! Just not yet. For now “the LORD is in His holy temple, the LORD’s throne is in heaven; His eyes behold, His eyelids test the sons of men.” Psalm 11:4.
His eyes appear to be closed. His eyelids are at half-mast, as though He were sleeping and unaware of our activities. But He is actually watching to see if we are the sort of person who will remember Him always. Will we remember Him first thing in the morning and last thing before we sleep? Will His name be on our lips daily through every challenge, trial and triumph?
If so then no pleasure of this plain can divert us from remembering Christ nor take us beyond what is reasonable. If we remember Him now in the land of darkness, how great will be our pleasure (and His!) when we are together in eternal light! One day we will be incapable of forgetting Him and yes, we will love Him dearly. So let us demonstrate the sincerity of our love now by making it our practice to make all our joy and pleasure in Him.
For in such a state no earthly delight can derail, detain or destroy us, but instead serve as a metaphor, a reminder of the pleasures we will have in His glorious Kingdom and in His presence forevermore!