How To Find The Ultimate Pleasure

medium_beach feetIsn’t it interesting that the words “pleasure” and “God” are almost always viewed as polar opposites and that the two will never meet! This is something that I encounter time and time again whenever I mention to people about how Jesus is life personified and worthy enough to give up everything to follow after Him. For example, my friend, Torrey, and I were hashing about different thoughts and scenarios that his youth group may bring up. One of the things I brought up, while playing “devil’s advocate,” was why should I follow a Jesus I do not see, touch or taste. With sex, drinking and drugs, I get pleasure now; I get results in the present. That is what is real and tangible. Plus, following Jesus means that I have to give up my sources of pleasure.

What fascinates me is that everyone I know that seeks pleasure as their idol, have depressing lives and view everything as lacking significance. When explaining where the current complaint of the meaninglessness in life comes from, Bible teacher and theologian G.K. Chesterton said, “Meaninglessness does not come from being weary of pain. Meaninglessness comes from being weary of pleasure.”[1] King Solomon, in his search to have ultimate pleasure, attests to this truth when he said,

“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?’…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 2:1-2, 10-11).

The problem is that we have a misconception as to what is true pleasure. Maybe we are not willing to put in the time and work to find ultimate pleasure. C.S. Lewis offers a similar thought: “It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted 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.”[2]

The question we need to ask ourselves is: where did the ability to have pleasure come from? In a different perspective: who was it that created us with the ability to have pleasure? This is not something that came on its own. It was God who created men and women with the ability to feel pleasure, happiness and satisfaction. In the Garden of Eden, God said that all of His creation, including man with all his faculties, is good; in fact, he said that the creation of the man and woman is very good.

Therefore, doesn’t it make sense, that to find the ultimate pleasure, happiness and satisfaction in life is to go to the actual Source? Everything else is a bad imitation of what is to be found in God. Only true satisfaction and joy is found by the Creator of those things! And here’s the advantage: it never ends and will develop into eternity. King David agrees with this thought when he said,

“You will make known to me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
In Your right hand there are pleasures forever” (Psalm 16:11).

You either go for pleasure now, and lose it all; or give up yourself to find true life and contentment, in all its forms, through Jesus Christ. He said, “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:25-26).

The Westminster Catechism was right. The first question it asks of the catechist is, “What is the chief end of man?” The Catechism’s answer is, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him for ever.” Do you really want true joy and fulfillment in your life? Go to the source and creator of those desires: God Himself!

 

 

[1] http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/305041-meaninglessness-does-not-come-from-being-weary-of-pain-meaninglessness (accessed May 21, 2014)

[2] https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/702-it-would-seem-that-our-lord-finds-our-desires-not (accessed May 21, 2014)