All human beings must seek pleasure. In fact, God designed us for it. Our problem is not pleasure-seeking. It’s that we have settled for inferior counterfeits. But make no mistake about it, we will all find pleasure somewhere.
We seemed to have bought into an absurd view of God in our Western culture. There is no other way to say it. I agree with C.S. Lewis and John Piper about our misguided idea of pleasure-seeking.
“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” – C.S. Lewis “Weight of Glory”
“If you don’t feel strong desires for the manifestation of the glory of God, it is not because you have drunk deeply and are satisfied. It is because you have nibbled so long at the table of the world. Your soul is stuffed with small things, and there is no room for the great.” ― John Piper, “A Hunger For God”
As C.S. Lewis points out, we are far too easily pleased. Why? Because we’re not being informed by God’s heart on this subject but by humanistic stoic philosophy taught in the Church that has sucked the very life out of the absolute pleasures in knowing God. We have opted for a counterfeit gospel of logic, reason, and duty that might work on Vulcan but does not resemble God’s idea of having a relationship with Him. By rejecting the supernatural in our naturalistic religious culture, we’re no better than atheists, having lost out on the absolute awe and wonder of living God’s life in Christ. After all, our life is Christ’s life (Col.3:3).
So we seek pleasure elsewhere. In John’s first epistle, he tried to tell us that looking for it in this Matrix-like world construct means we do not yet know the love of the Father (1 Jn.2:15). This wasn’t an indictment as much as an indicator of seeking something inferior. And he was talking to Spirit-filled Christians. We may be saved by faith, but we have bought into a religious veneer of Christianity. We have not experienced the ultimate pleasures and joys of the Father’s embrace. Therefore we must seek pleasure elsewhere. We really have no choice.
Everywhere in Scripture where it talks about the presence of God, we see it described as “fullness of joy” and “pleasure.” King David understood this about knowing God, and that’s one big reason why God said he was a “man after His own heart”…
“You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore. (Ps.16:11)
“They are abundantly satisfied with the fullness of Your house, and You give them drink from the river of Your pleasures.” (Ps.36:8)
So, if you think that being a Christian means giving up ultimate, tangible pleasures that thrill and satisfy your soul at the deepest heart level, you have bought into a religious lie that is meant to keep you from the love of the Father. The good news is, the truth will make you free.