Making Pleasure Painful

28 May

God has stuffed this world with pleasure.  Chocolate.  Coffee.  Sports.  Books. Sunsets.  The universe is popping at the seams with things to enjoy and delight in.

He didn’t have to make the world like this.  But He did.  For what purpose?   God gave us pleasures to help strengthen and sustain us.  He gave us pleasures to enjoy and then to lead us back to Him.  He gave us pleasures to cause us to be thankful and to see His goodness and help us worship Him.

But what do we do with these pleasures that God has given us?  Instead of allowing the pleasures to lead us back to God, we grab hold of the pleasures and bow down to them as if they were God!  What a (paraphrasing John Calvin) ‘monstrous unkindness!  God has stretched out his hand to pour out on us benefits and yet He goes unknown and we cram ourselves full of those pleasures at his expense and forget him.’ 

What’s more, think about what we do the pleasures themselves!   We actually drain the pleasure out of the pleasures God has put in the world when we treat the pleasures as if they were more than they really are. Think of the drunk!  He takes the pleasure of alcohol and tries to drown himself in it and though perhaps he may experience a temporary pleasure, his indulgence in that pleasure ends up creating pain for himself and for the people around him.   Here is a man who is made in the image of God, a glorious thing!  And yet by making earthly pleasure his god, he transforms himself into a beast, and a dangerous one at that.  

This is actually what happens to anyone who tries to overdose on any pleasure! We make the pleasure a pain and drain it of any good when we treat the pleasure if it had the ability to do what only God can do. A man can not fill up his emptiness with more emptiness.  Praise God though.  There is a way to be filled.  What a privilege to be a Christian, and especially an obedient one.  When we look to God as God, pursuing ultimate delight and joy in Him above all things, what happens to us?  We are filled with His fullness and we are enabled to enjoy the pleasures that He has put into the world.  

Pleasure is pleasurable when you let it be what it is, a pleasure, not god. 

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