Finding Joy In God’s Presence
Many in society have adopted the philosophy that life should be a trouble free existence filled with ongoing pursuits of lustful pleasure. Is our time on earth meant to be a continuous party filled with inordinate and excessive pleasure? Does said pleasure seeking produce a satisfying and lasting joy?
1 John 2:16 states that the lust of the flesh is not of the Father but is of the world. We are to live as aliens/foreigners while on earth. Our real home is in heaven and our earthly existence is a preparation for what is to come. We must therefore ask, how should we utilize the time and life we have been given.
“For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.” 1 John 2:16 (NKJV)
And so… why not live our life fully committed to the pursuit of earthly pleasures and fulfilling the lusts of our flesh?
All selfish pursuits of the flesh are contrary to the love of God. Love means we put the welfare of others first. Within this practice we find our joy, for this is how Christ loves the church. He put our welfare above His own and willingly suffered a painful death on the cross. He left His eternal home to live alongside man in a humble existence serving others. To be great in heaven is to be a servant on earth. Jesus found pleasure in loving and helping others.
While seeking selfish pleasures, we are not thinking of others or how our actions affect them. We do not put their needs before our own. We do not question if our behaviors please God or consider whether our decisions glorify Him. We simply seek out pleasure for enjoyment. We neglect to recognize God created that which we are using for our enjoyment, and are oblivious to how the enemy has perverted it to fit our level of debauchery.
I suggest that we are in a spiritual classroom in this life and should use our time to learn the things of God, exercise our spiritual gifts, and serve others. In heaven we have the promise of a life with no more tears or sorrow. There will be abundant joy in paradise. However, there is no biblical mention that this life is provided for mere searches of pleasure, nor does it suggest we will be free from grief and sorrow. There WILL be trouble in this world and no amount of avoidance though pleasure seeking will prevent adversity from occurring.
However, we were not created to live mundane, joyless, and boring lives full of continual suffering either. This is contrary to the very love of God! It is where we seek our joy and pleasure that should be examined. Is not our joy and pleasure to be found and realized in the very presence of God? Our Lord absolutely wants to bless His children with times of incredible joy and delight. All of creation and its beauty have been provided for our pleasure, while giving testimony of His existence and power. God is undeniable. Who can deny the pleasure of seeing a snow capped mountain or hearing a baby’s first giggle?
“You will show me the path of life;In Your presence is fullness of joy;At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11 (NKJV)
This lie of a life without pleasure or joy is certainly one the enemy hopes we buy into. It furthers his cause in leading God’s flock off the path of righteousness. The Prince of Darkness is privy to every weakness known to mankind and is skilled in weaving webs of deceit and temptation. He is constantly constructing new situations and objects that give us pause. Thankfully, no temptation exists without a trap door for escape. God sees to this and it is faithful to His promise.
An attitude of pleasure seeking at all costs has corrupted the morals and virtue of many in our society. It is a selfish pursuit unable to fill the void and need for love within each one of us. Only by seeking out God and entering into a personal relationship with our Savior will we find fullness of joy. He holds pleasures in His right hand that will last an eternity.
“For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.” Psalm 84:11 (NKJV)
“Let those who love the Lord hate evil, for He guards the lives of His faithful onesand delivers them from the hand of the wicked.Light shineson the righteousand joy on the upright in heart.” Psalm 97:10-11 (NKJV)
“For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.” Galatians 6:8 (NKJV)
“The most valuable thing the Psalms do for me is to express the same delight in God which made David dance.” C. S. Lewis
*A devotion from my next book FACING ADVERSITY WITH WISDOM PRAISE AND PROMISES…. inspired by the book of Proverbs and Psalms