The word for this week is 'PLEASURE'.
We live in a world that promotes pleasure at any cost and a growing number appear willing to pay that cost for a moment or two of personal pleasure. The pleasure being promoted by the world system we encounter daily comes in many forms and soon fades away. This kind of pleasure ('hedonism'--self-pleasure) must be continually resupplied with greater amounts of time and treasure. This particular type of earthly pursuit might be compared to the effect of a 'high' produced by a mind altering drug. Human beings go to great lengths in the elusive attempt to gain the same 'high' received from the first round of pleasure desired. Before long, the addiction drives the individual deeper into dependence on this well designed substitute of Satan. This kind of pleasure robs individuals of real treasure as it ruins their lives.
Now before anyone jumps to the conclusion that God is against pleasure, we must remember that God created us. He designed us to enjoy a full life and a free life within the boundaries that He, Himself established. God is not opposed to having fun. God is opposed to the unrestrained pursuit of pleasure that competes with our devotion to Christ.
Boyd Bailey, author of 'Two Minutes in the Bible for Men' states--"the unrestrained pursuit of pleasure leads to poverty." Bailey makes that statement on the basis of Proverbs 21:17 where the word of God says, "Whoever loves pleasure will become poor; whoever loves wine and olive oil will never be rich."
Bailey then offers this; 'pleasure without a greater purpose produces a lame life. However, earthly enjoyments, wed to God's will, open up windows of heaven."
God is not against enjoying life. God is for us enjoying life through the filter of faith in Christ. God's word says in Ephesians 1:9. "And He made known to us the mystery of His will according to His good pleasure, which He purposed IN Christ." Filtering our pursuit of earthly pleasure through God's word is always best for us throughout our journey with Jesus. Those who would follow Christ are able to enjoy life to the fullest without the baggage or burdens of sin in being filled with the Holy Spirit. Our pleasure then is found IN Christ; His person, His provision, His protection and His peace. Those are the real benefits so many forfeit when they pursue the substitute of Satan's system.
Paul informed young pastor Timothy then and every believer today of what the pursuit of self-pleasure looks like and behaves like without Christ.
"There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God--having a form of godliness but denying its power." 2 Timothy 3:1-5
I ask, what part of that are we not being exposed to in this present culture? We are living in 'the last days'. That's been the case since Jesus ascended to heaven. And what was true in the days of Paul and Timothy remain true 20 centuries later. Satan promises the pleasure of sin but all we have to do is look into the word of God to see what the world system under the dominion of the enemy produces. It's a terrible way to live and even more troubling way to die!
Remember, pleasure itself is not evil, until it competes with our devotion to Christ. Then pleasure, no matter how it's packaged becomes the devil's tool of destruction.
If you've been to a Chick-Fil-A restaurant lately, you've heard the words, 'my pleasure' from those who serve you. What a blessing! With those two words one person communicates to another; "I've enjoyed the opportunity to serve you." As you listen to the word of God you understand that it is God's pleasure to save to the uttermost those who believe. Hebrews 7:25
Therefore; "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy (pleasure) set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 12:2
It's my hope as I stand before 'the Bema' (Judgment seat of Christ) to receive the reward for work well done that Jesus hears from the mouth He made; it's been 'MY PLEASURE'! For therein is found the real treasure that may be enjoyed both here and hereafter!
The Hebrew writer penned these words about Moses, "by faith, Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the child of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to suffer the affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasure of sin for a season." Hebrews 11:24-25
Sin always takes you father than you want to go,
keeps you longer than you desire to stay and
costs you more than you want to pay.
Is the pursuit of what the world system treasures your pleasure today?
Is the prize of His pleasure the real treasure within your heart?
Both come with cost but only one of those has any real worth!
1 Corinthians 15:58