- From the Cedar Street Times, Pacific Grove
What does God say about seeking pleasure?
Does God call us to seek our own pleasure above the needs and wants of others? Jam 2:8, “If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well:” Does loving our neighbor mean we care about their needs as much as we care about ours? Phil 2:3-4, “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.” Does God ask us to do this to demonstrate His love, so others will be able to see the goodness of God’s nature and be drawn to reason with Him? Rom 15:1-2, “We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.” Has God not called us to be His light in this world? Matt 5:16, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
What happens when we make pleasure our priority? Eccl 2:1, “I said in mine heart, Go to now, I will prove thee with mirth, therefore enjoy pleasure: and, behold, this also is vanity.” Solomon found the answer to that question and the truth is seeking our own pleasure, to the exclusion of the needs of others, draws us away from God, 1 Tim 5:6, “But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth.” When we follow God’s calling away from pleasure seeking, others will respond to the change they have witnessed in our lives, 1 Pet 4:3-4, “For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries: Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you:” Should we respond by reverting to our old ways, or should we follow Mary’s lead and sit at the feet of Jesus? Lk 10:39, 42, “And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word…But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” Should we let the fear of what our neighbor will say about us keep us from Jesus?
God provides us with the choice, how will we respond? Rom 12:2, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” When we reason with God, will He never deny us? Jam 1:5, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” Was Moses one of the people God sent to show us the path to His kingdom? Heb 11:24-26, “By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.” Moses walked away from pleasure seeking.
Gen 4:9, “And the Lord said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother's keeper?” What is God’s answer to Cain’s question? Jam 2:15-16, “ If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?” Apparently, we are our brother’s keepers, in that we are to help them when we can, Acts 20:35, “ I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Is this not one of the areas Jesus charged both the rich and the Pharisees? 1 Tim 6:17, “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;” and Matt 23:25, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.” Does God call us to follow His way and to love our neighbor? Tit 2:12, “Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;”
God has given each of us gifts; does He not call us to use them to minister to our brothers and sisters? 1 Pet 4:10, “As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” Has God warned us we will not please Him, nor complete our part in His eternal plan, if we do not believe what He has told us? Heb 11:6, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Has He not told us what we will see in the last days? 2 Tim 3:1-4, “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;” If we look around today, do we not see this prophecy being fulfilled?
The rewards of pleasure-seeking in this life pale in comparison to what God has planned for us in eternity, 1 Cor 2:9, “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” It is for us to grab hold of eternity, even if the cost is missing out on some pleasures in this life.
Comments, opposing opinions and suggestions for future topics are all welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org.