The Relentless Pursuit of Pleasure

I stumbled across this the in Proverbs over the weekend:

“You’re addicted to thrills? What an empty life. The pursuit of pleasure is never satisfied.” Proverbs 21:17

Doesn’t that topple all the lies of the world, which seems to say that finding pleasure is the only thing that makes life bearable? Don’t get me wrong. I like pleasurable moments as much as anyone, and I’ve had many in my life. Jesus even said that he was giving his disciples instruction so that they could know the fullness of joy. That’s the kind of joy that resides in us regardless of of our circumstances. But I also notice that as we live deeply in God’s life he provides moments of absolute pleasure that fill us with laughter and a deep sense of fulfillment.

What Solomon points out here, however, is also important. The relentless pursuit of pleasure will always leave us frustrated. No high will ever be high enough to match our expectations. Perhaps he is saying it is better to stumble upon the pleasures that God gives than to run off seeking our own. It is no doubt true that the pursuit of pleasure even by well-meaning believers is a trap that distracts us from God, opportunities to grow with others and to be available to people around us who don’t know Jesus. What would our lives look like if we trusted God with our pleasure, and set our focus on following him?

Four verses later, that’s what Solomon writes:

“Whoever goes hunting for what is right and kind finds life itself—glorious life.”

Jesus said something like that didn’t he? Seek to save your life and you’ll lose it. Lose it in him and you’ll find the life that really is life. Pleasure without him will never satisfy for long. Having him as the pleasure of our lives will allow us to experience the deepest joys in ever-increasing glory.

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