Written by Paul J. Bucknell on May, 07, 2019
Enjoying Pleasure: Learning God’s Purposes
God put pleasure into the world so that we could gain insight into His person and share in His joy. Far from condemning pleasure, the Lord delights to enrich our lives and give us occasion to celebrate His glory with heightened intensity.
The Design of Pleasure
The biblical viewpoint of pleasure, without hesitation, acknowledges that God has created pleasure.
1) God made the sensory parts capable of creating pleasure experiences and said that it was good.
2) God equally designed those delightful things that satiate those senses. He did not give us pleasure to tempt us or cause frustration but created our wonderful appetites to happily consume what He has made.
3) God gave us the desires for those appetites to be satiated. God coordinated the need and the provision in our minds and bodies. He did this mostly through pleasant senses which stimulate our bodies. This delight, then, further encourages us to repeat those activities that introduced it.
4) Lastly, God gave us the memory to remember to some degree the delights of what we already profited from. So to some point, we can look forward to again enjoying visiting a certain place or eating some delicious food. Our past pleasures increase our appetites causing us to further delight in the God who so wonderfully made us.
The Acceptance of Pleasure
If God designed pleasure, then it is logical to conclude that God fashioned people for pleasure and the enjoyment of life.
Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the LORD; and He will give you the desires of your heart.”
The Purpose of Pleasure
God designed pleasure in such a way that we might celebrate His goodness with Him. God is responsible for our pleasure. If we seek pleasure outside of Him, then we reject Him and the overriding purpose of that pleasure.
1) Pleasure is the fruit of our right relationship with God and man. Pleasurable feelings are not that which drives our lives but the result of right living.
2) Pleasure enables us to intensely celebrate the meaning of life such as marriage, but it is not to be confused with the origin of that meaning. Seeking pleasure without God and righteous living becomes empty, bitter, and controlling.
3) God put pleasure into the world so that we could intensely share with Him the joy of what He has made and thus further enrich the bonding of our relationship with Him and others. The Lord’s Supper looks forward to the Marriage Feast upon Jesus’ return.
The Responsibility of Pleasure
Each gift bears responsibility for proper usage and appreciation, lest God’s curses come upon our lives. Although pleasures focus on our own sensations, we recognize that these pleasures are enhanced as we use our lives to serve and love others.The misuse of pleasures in our hedonistic society become a blight upon our society, bringing pain, alienation, and grief.
Psalm 16:11 says, “Thou wilt make known to me the path of life; In Thy presence is fullness of joy; In Thy right hand there are pleasures forever.”
The Future of Pleasure
There is little doubt that the scenes by the river of life in the last chapters of Revelation depict the future of God’s redeemed community. The utopian environment, filled with fruit, refreshing scenery, and God’s presence all draw us back to what God originally fashioned for mankind, the Garden of Eden. The word “Eden” literally means “pleasure” with complementary descriptive words like delights, delicate, and even luxury.
On this earth, we can invest millions into exciting new developments such as the Singapore airport with the tallest inside waterfall. But these buildings still face decay, and worse, they have people introduce their evil and hatred in them. The redeemed who have received transformed and resurrected new bodies will forever enjoy the new heavens and earth. All the vestiges of mankind’s selfishness will be left behind with all their associated tears in the old incinerated earth.
How awesome to think that our desires will net er lead us astray and have no inclination to lead us to hurt, grab, steal or overdose. God will fulfill our desires and cause rich sensations of pleasure arise in us. The Lord designed the new Garden to entice us to continually think about His glorious goodness, now not only in what He has richly designed and provided but also in the way that Jesus suffered so we could, though undeserving, forever enjoy the fruit from all of God’s garden trees.
- What are the purposes for God creating us with senses to enjoy pleasures?
- Read the creation record in Genesis 1-2 and discover those things that allow us to experience pleasure.
- How do our appetites and things that fulfill those desires work together? Give three examples.
- Consider eating. What senses are working together to enable you to enjoy a great meal?
- We give thanks for our food but discuss whether your thanks reaches the level it ought to as summarized by this statement, “God put pleasure into the world so that we could intensely share with Him the joy of what He has made.”
- Compare the differences of the Last Supper that Jesus had with His disciples and the Marriage Feast His people will have with Jesus upon His return.
- What does it mean when we say that our pleasure rules over us? Is that good or bad? Sometimes or always?
- Why do people allow our desires, at given times, to direct their lives? Do they find what they are looking for?
- How might you respond to someone who cohabits with another and justifies their immorality by saying God gave us pleasure?
- Name some ways the glory of the coming Paradise in the new heavens and earth overshadow that which was in the Garden of Eden.