Grace and Pleasure
Pleasure is part of God's grace, an outflow of His goodness. God put pleasure into the world so that we could share His joy in our relationship with Him. He has largely used our physical senses to bring that pleasure. Far from condemning pleasure, God designed it to enrich our lives and increase our sense of celebration. Learn God's perspective of pleasure so that one can avoid the extremes of rejecting, despising or being ruled by pleasure.
When a person seeks fulfillment in life through pleasure, he is frustrated because these things were never designed to bring that sense of meaning in life. Pleasures were designed as a side dish, so to speak, to bring extra glory to good things. They were built to increase our joy and thankfulness to God.
I said to myself, "Come now, I will test you with pleasure. So enjoy yourself." And behold, it too was futility. I said of laughter, "It is madness," and of pleasure, "What does it accomplish?" I explored with my mind how to stimulate my body with wine while my mind was guiding me wisely, and how to take hold of folly, until I could see what good there is for the sons of men to do under heaven the few years of their lives. I enlarged my works: I built houses for myself, I planted vineyards for myself; I made gardens and parks for myself, and I planted in them all kinds of fruit trees; I made ponds of water for myself from which to irrigate a forest of growing trees. I bought male and female slaves, and I had homeborn slaves. Also I possessed flocks and herds larger than all who preceded me in Jerusalem. Also, I collected for myself silver and gold, and the treasure of kings and provinces. I provided for myself male and female singers and the pleasures of men--many concubines. Then I became great and increased more than all who preceded me in Jerusalem. My wisdom also stood by me. And all that my eyes desired I did not refuse them. I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, for my heart was pleased because of all my labor and this was my reward for all my labor. Thus I considered all my activities which my hands had done and the labor which I had exerted, and behold all was vanity and striving after wind and there was no profit under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 2:1-11).
Avoidance of pleasure has become a significant motivation of many lives. They avoid pleasure for different reasons. In 1 Timothy 4 the apostle confronts a group of people that attempted through the absence of pleasure, known as ascetism, to bring them closer to God. Paul explained how this kind of teaching greatly limits the growth of relationships with others including God Himself. Although such self-control might sound impressive, it enslaves people by false teaching. In the following you will see the scriptural perspective on these things.
God put pleasure into the world so that we could share His joy in our relationship with Him and others. Far from condemning pleasure, He brings it into our lives to enrich life and deepen our celebration of what is good.
The biblical viewpoint of pleasure without hesitation states that God has created pleasure.
If God designed pleasure, then it is logical that under normal circumstances people were built for pleasure and to enjoy life.
We are not to avoid pleasure, hate pleasure, fear pleasure no matter how it was wrongly used in the past. We need to reeducate ourselves to God's purpose and plan and not become extreme. We must understand that spiritual disciplines sometimes do call for fasting, abstaining, less sleep, etc., This is okay if it is reasonable and purposeful. However, if we think by doing such things we look spiritual, then there is absolutely no profit in such measures of self-control.
God designed pleasure in such a way that we can more deeply celebrate His goodness with Him. God is responsible for our desire and capacity of pleasure. If we seek pleasure outside of Him, then we reject Him and the purpose of that pleasure.
The Godly Man: "Grace and Graciousness"
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