Lies About God 3: “We Must Choose Between A Life We Enjoy and A Life Serving God”

Many people think that the key to the Christian life is to deny yourself of all pleasure, and live a life of boredom.  For them, all pleasure is sin, and desires are to be denied.

But the truth is that desires are God-given and good; where we go wrong is in trying to fulfill them in ways outside of God’s plan.  The problem is not that we have desires, but how we try to satisfy them.

God Himself takes pleasure in His Son (Matthew 17:5; Isaiah 42:1; Colossians 1:19), in His creation, and in His people as we glorify Him.  He promises us “abundant life” (John 10:10), and that if we will find our delight in Him, He will give us the desires of our heart (Ps. 37:4).  Yet, in spite of these great promises, we still choose to seek joy and pleasure elsewhere.

This very simply is because of unbelief, and unbelief is the very root of sin.  Adam and Eve did not believe that they would really die if they ate the fruit, and so they did.  They thought that what they would gain by eating would bring them more pleasure and joy than if they did not eat.  They lived in a perfect world, in intimate fellowship with God, but chose something far below that, which resulted in separation from God and physical death.  And we do the same thing.

Not to say that there is no pleasure in sin – of course there is.  If there were not, it would be no problem.  But what sin brings cannot really even be rightly called “pleasure” when compared with what God offers to us.  Yet we often settle for it, and then wonder why we’re left with regret, guilt and emptiness.  A well-know quote from C.S. Lewis puts it well:

Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that our Lord finds our desires not too strong but too weak.  We are halfhearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.

So the Christian life is not about denying ourselves pleasure, but choosing what will bring us the most pleasure – and that is always going to be obedience to God.  It’s really a “no-brainer”; it’s choosing the holiday at the sea over making mud pies.  And, in choosing to live life serving God faithfully, we are actually choosing the most satisfying life possible.

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