“He that loveth pleasure shall be a poor man: he that loveth wine and oil shall not be rich.” (KJV).
Living in the Last Days:
In a letter the Apostle Paul wrote to a pastor named Timothy, he described the signs of the times of the last days: “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money… lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!” (2 Tim. 3:1-5).
Those words aptly describe the world we’re living in today! People love themselves, they love money, and they love pleasure – more than they love God. Paul says that we need to turn away from such people, because bad company corrupts moral character. The reason for the warning comes through clearly in the Proverb: If we love pleasure, we will become poor.
The Pursuit of Pleasure:
The Message Bible translation of the above Proverb paraphrases the text: “You’re addicted to thrills? What an empty life! The pursuit of pleasure is never satisfied.” (Message). Now does this mean that Christians can’t enjoy life? That the call to follow Jesus is equated with joyless boredom and drudgery? Sadly, some people have interpreted the Christian life in such shallow terms. They say that Christians can’t have fun, because anything fun is sin. But nothing could be further from the truth! Jesus said that the devil comes to steal, kill and destroy, but Jesus comes to give us an abundant, joy-filled life.
Sadly, many people think of the Christian life as being comparable to this scene from Monty Python:
It reminds me of one of my favourite quotes by C.S. Lewis: “We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered to 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.” You see, the Bible never says that pleasure is wrong; rather it condemns the love of pleasure. When we love pleasure more than God, when we love the gifts more than the Giver, we’ve missed the point.
The Pleasure we seek:
Before I became a Christian, I loved pleasure and looked for satisfaction in the bars, at parties, and in relationships with girls. For the first 18 years of my life, that’s where I sought pleasure. But after coming to know Jesus as my Lord and Saviour, I experienced a joy I had never known before.
The Bible says: “You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (Psalm 16:11). When we seek God first, and His kingdom, we experience fullness of joy and rivers of pleasure. Don’t be satisfied with the world’s cheap substitute of drunkenness, sex and drugs, when God offers indescribable, glorious joy. He offers His very presence. That’s the pleasure we seek!