“In youth the absence of pleasure is pain; in old age, the absence of pain is pleasure.”
It’s all in your prospective. As youth, it’s like a treasure hunt to find the things that would afford you the most pleasure. The latest game, the coolest smart phone, the best sounding ear pods, they all have their place in the realm of pleasure when you’re young.
As you age, however, your priorities change. That’s not to say we don’t still enjoy our toys, its just that we learn to see a bigger picture of life and most come to realize that these kinds of pleasures can only get you so far. Soon we learn that it is the simple pleasures, like walking painlessly across the room, that are the most important.
Unfortunately, there are many who get lost in the search for pleasure, who will go to almost any length to find it. They might look to find the strongest high or greatest adrenalin rush. It might cause one to cheat on their spouse or drink until they pass out. To some, the search for pleasure far outweighs prudence and the result is all too often the opposite of pleasure in the end.
God gives us warning in Proverbs 21:17, “Whoever loves pleasure will be a poor man; he who loves wine and oil will not be rich.” This is because their priorities are askew. The man who constantly searches for ways to satisfy their passions tends to get lost in the search, forsaking many more beneficial paths.
This is certainly not to say that searching for pleasure is a bad thing. God wishes for us to find pleasure in the world, as long as the things we find our pleasure in are not “worldly.” He gave us His creation to enjoy and He gave us each other to bring us happiness. God loves when we find our amusement in all that He has made and he expects us to indulge in the bounty of blessings He has given us. It’s when we try to find our pleasure in the things that separate us from Him that He gives us caution.
Psalm 16:11 says, “You make known to me the path of life; in Your presence there is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
To find the pleasures that God has created for us, we have to be willing to walk the path He has laid out for us. If that is our goal than we shall experience pleasures forevermore. Should we choose our own paths to pleasure, then we stand the risk of missing out on all that God has prepared for us at the end of our journey. Should we follow our own paths, there is little hope of finding the fullness of joy that we seek.
So, Paul advises us to, “..flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart” (2 Timothy 2:22). In the end we will find that it is these attributes of God that bring us the greatest pleasures.
By doing the right thing, even when it might cost us something, we find pleasure in knowing that our actions not only benefit us but also benefit others. In our righteousness, we have the satisfaction of knowing that what we long for matches up with God’s will for us. Doing the right thing gives us pure pleasure beyond all earthly pleasures.
In faith we find pleasure in our relationship with our Creator. As we get to know Him more and more, we take greater pleasure in all that He has done to maintain our relationship and to provide for all our needs. We start to understand His plans for us in larger ways. We see His handiwork all around us and we find pleasure in His presence.
In love we find some of our greatest pleasures as long as that love is directed according to God’s plan and not our own. Through loving one another, we experience Godliness unlike any other experience could give. In godly love we find pleasure in serving others and caring for all of God’s creation. Love can bring us the very greatest of pleasures but, misdirected, can also bring about the greatest of pains.
In peace we find our respite. When righteousness, faith and love prevail, then peace is found, and in that peace we find the pleasure of harmony with all that is good and right. In peace we find pleasure in the tranquility of our convictions. Please pray with me:
Heavenly Father, thank you for helping us to find pleasure in you and protect us from choosing our own paths toward earthly desires. Amen.