Friday, February 12, 2010

Our Fear of Letting Go of Our Pleasures

To sum up the last post, you were designed and created to find your satisfaction in God, because that is the only place a living being can experience real satisfaction. As long as you find something more desirable than knowing Him and experiencing Him - as long as you hold something back as more dear to you than God - you will never be content.

This is the part that most people get discouraged at. We are used to relying on lots of things in the world (romance, sex, money, vacations, friends, family, food, books, television, etc.) for comfort and pleasure. The idea that we must set all these aside and desire God more than any of them, and further that we are supposed to be satisfied entirely by God Himself, feels threatening. We aren't yet used to enjoying God and being satisfied with Him alone, and so we are anxious that this idea of desiring God above all things will mean that the desires we are used to will go unfulfilled and will be a disappointment to us. This is where we have to act in faith. "Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart." says Psalm 37:4. And God has promised us that "whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty forever." John 4:14. If we want that deep longing in our hearts that none of these other things have ever fully satisfied to be finally fulfilled, we must trust God that He means what He says. We must seek Him first and most deeply.

One of the great delights we will find is that when we are most satisfied with God, we can enjoy the other good things He has given us too. Some past things we must give up entirely, because they actually come between us and loving God - those are sin. But many things we can safely keep as long as we never let them become more dear to us than our experience of God. Not one of the things I listed at the beginning of the second paragraph is bad in itself. It is only bad when taken in a way that puts it before God or disobeys His teaching. The safest thing you can do if you want to keep enjoying a thing is to always make sure it is never more important to you than God. For if you have begun to desire it more than you desire God, then what can God do in His love for you but remove the thing that is distracting you from fulfillment?

On the other hand, when we make God the center of all our desire and affection, the other worthwhile things we enjoy are not robbed of their pleasure. They are actually made more enjoyable. The most mature Christians you see are not people that never have any fun. They find enjoyment and delight in many things - but they enjoy the Lord more. The things they love, they love for the Lord, with the Lord, and because of the Lord. They don't enjoy anything without enjoying it together with God. That is the way to be content in life.