Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Pursuit of Pleasure

The treasures of "The Residence" in Munich, Germany
were a sight to behold and something the world wants to have.
     One of the things we tried to teach our children when they were growing up was not to make thrill seeking and pleasure the center of their lives.  This is not an easy task because our world is so caught up in materialism.  The movies, T.V., and magazines all have guaranteed things which, if purchased, will make you a happy person.
     Even we as adults are easily seduced by the the pursuit of pleasure and peer pressure.  The pressure to conform to our neighbors only grows stronger every day when we hear slogans like:  "You only go around once in life" or "The one with the most toys when he dies wins."  These phrases, sadly, miss the very heart of where real and lasting pleasure are to be found.
     Psalm 16 verses 5-6 and 11 read:  "O Lord, You are the portion of my inheritance and my cup; You maintain my lot.  The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Yes, I have a good inheritance....You will show me the path of life;  In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore."  To these words, I can only say "Amen."  I have tasted in my own life the sweetness of God's portion.  His blessings are rich and deep to those who follow after Him in faith.
     When God is our inheritance, we have more pleasure than any the world can offer for He satisfies our hearts and our longings.  Material possessions can never do that for us.  I have personally known so many friends and even family members who live to "get" and "do" certain things, but it really doesn't make them happy.
     Please do not misunderstand what I am writing.  Jesus said that He came to bring us life and more abundantly.  Our Lord is not asking us to live barren, aesthetic lives.  Rather, He warns us to keep our focus of our hearts right.  I Timothy 6:17 says that God has given us "richly all things to enjoy."  On the other hand, we only have to look at the writer of Ecclesiastes (especially 2:1).  The writer concludes, despite his wealth and pleasure, saying that everything is vanity.  His heart was truly in the wrong place earlier in his life.
     Moderation and balance are the key for us as believers in whatever we do.  Likewise keeping our eyes on the Giver and not the gifts is the most essential task we have.
     In my own life, I have found that no amount of electronic gadgetry, books or other wonderful possessions can ever fill the empty spot in my soul the way the Lord can and does!  Even when we think that a chocolate chip cookie will do the trick, it cannot match the glorious fellowship and inheritance of our God and King.  Having Him at the center of all we do is the key to a blessed, fulfilling life.
     Jesus reminds us in Matthew 6:21:  "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."  So if we wish to check our heart condition, let us ask ourselves where our treasure really lies.  Is it in the world or in our Lord?  May we seek first God and His kingdom and He will provide for us the things that we have need of.  Selah!

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