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  • Writer's pictureFirst Christian Church of Chicago

Pleasure Pursuit

Paul tells Timothy that in the last days people will become "lovers of pleasure, rather than lovers of God." We might be tempted to conclude we are in those last days because that description seems to fit today's American culture so well. We, as a culture, are driven by our lush and lustful desires to experience pleasures that will make us happy, if only for the moment. We use pleasure as an anesthetic to dim the pain of reality. Happiness has become an idol.

However, "love of pleasure" serves as a poor marker for the last days because that condition has been around for millennia. Isaiah faced the same thing in Judah, a greed for pleasure (Isaiah 5:11-12). Judah had sold its soul for another drink. Another party. Another night on the town. Waking in another strangers bed. Turn up the music a little louder. As the country was experiencing moral collapse all they could do was raise another toast.

It is important to remember that God is speaking through Isaiah about the things which break his heart, the things that make him weep. Remember, "woe" is a term of mourning. God mourns those ensnared by pleasure and happiness.

When pleasure becomes our god, it is really we who become our gods. We push God aside in order to let our passions rule. Our obsessive pursuit of happiness declares "I am Lord of my domain."

Isaiah reminds us: God may stand for our rebelliousness for a time, but he will reclaim his throne (Isaiah 5:13-17). In that day he will be recognized as reigning king. Those who hunger for pleasure will be eaten up by their desire. The vanity of our pleasure will be exposed, as our imaginary happiness crumples in our hands like a paper moon and leaves us falling. God in his holiness will be be proved true, solid, strong. Pleasure is a cruel master.

How strong of a grip does pleasure and the pursuit of happiness have on you? Does it have the power to pull you away from the pursuit of God?

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