In the Bible, pleasure is an important subject. It’s important because what has captured our affections, and thus our pleasure is where our worship is going. In Psalm 16:11 it says, “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence, there is the fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Charles Spurgeon said, “The Lord Jesus is a deep sea of joy: my soul shall dive therein, shall be swallowed up in the delight.”
You and I live in a culture of pleasure. With one click of your mouse from your mouse pad, you and I can view millions upon millions of images, videos, and even engage in conversations with those selling themselves for our pleasure. At the heart of the false pursuit of pleasure is viewing the opposite sex as someone meant for our pleasure and enjoyment. Instead of seeing our spouse as our helpmate; we see them as an object intended for our pleasure. If we are single, we will view if we pursue pleasures outside of Christ the opposite sex as objects of pleasure instead of as made in the image and likeness of God. All of this goes back to the ancient idea of idolatry that of finding our value, worth, and meaning outside of the Lord.
The Greeks and the Romans viewed the human body as the epitome of perfection. Through chiseled sculpture, the Greeks and Romans show us today what they thought about sexuality. Today it’s no different. If someone from outside the Earth were to land on Earth knowing nothing about our planet- they would be in for a shock. Images and videos would inundate them from the grocery aisle to the internet, not to mention everywhere in-between.
This is what makes Psalm 16:11 so significant, “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Notice what the Psalm says there is a path of life, fullness of joy, pleasures forevermore. That’s not insignificant; it’s truly significant! But I would be remiss to point out to you the You and Your in Psalm 16:11. You see our path of life, the fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore are not in ourselves. The hedonist is someone who pursues pleasure for pleasures sakes to find pleasure in themselves. In the biblical worldview, the Christian finds pleasure in God because God takes pleasures in them through Christ.
The only One who can make us know the path of life is Jesus Christ since He says He is the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6). Only through the new birth can we know the fullness of joy. Only then through Christ, can God’s people find pleasure and enjoyment in fellowship with our great High Priest Jesus who is at the right hand of the Father interceding and pleading the treasure trove of His blood before the Father.
False View of Pleasure
Many people; particularly those who have issues in the realm of sexual sins fail to see the pleasure that is available to them in Christ. Instead, they view that airbrushed model on a camera, or on a video, or some other medium as the object of their desires. This is especially a travesty as Christians. Instead of viewing our spouse, if we are married men, as the object of our beauty, we find someone else to be our standard of beauty because we truthfully are bored with our wives. And this applies whether we are married or single as Christians, our pleasure and delight are to be supremely in the Lord. Our delight is to be in the perfect, unchanging law of the Lord. All of the ways of the Lord are holy, just and good. And this is why whether we are married or single finding our pleasure outside of the Lord is so dangerous and so costly.
When we pursue pleasure outside of the boundary markers that the Lord has assigned in marriage between one man and one woman covenanted for life together, we are seeking a life outside of the Lord. When single people pursue pleasure outside of Christ, they are engaging in open rebellion against the Lord. Instead of finding our fullness of joy in the Lord, we are finding joy in sin, which may last for a moment but will never satisfy the depths of our souls. The Lord’s offer is for soul satisfying, worship inducing, pleasures forevermore in Christ. The more we understand biblical pleasure, the more we will see that worldly pleasure is vanity and grasping for the wind.
Charles Spurgeon once said, “The Lord Jesus is a deep sea of joy: my soul shall dive therein, shall be swallowed up in the delight.” You see, what Spurgeon is saying is the same as the Psalmist in Psalm 16:11. He is saying that the Lord is a “deep sea of joy” whereby “my soul shall dive therein; shall be swallowed up in delight.” Outside of Psalm 16:11 the Psalms have much to say about finding our pleasure in the Lord who delights over His people. As I wrap up this article; let’s look at three practical ways we can reorient our pleasure to the Lord; instead of in rebellious ways against the Lord.
The Nature of Pleasure
Christians are those who have had their heart of stone sovereignly replaced with a new heart, with new desires, and affections for the Lord. Thomas Chalmers called this the explosive power of new affections. Jonathan Edwards that master theologian extolled the virtues of stirring our affections again and again at the well of pleasure in Christ. You and I have new desires which means we need to set them on Christ; instead of on ourselves, which brings me to my next point.
Fixing Our Gaze on the Christ of the Scriptures
Part of training our new desires is to fix our gaze on the Lord. We do this by opening the Scriptures and seeing how they point as Luke 24 and John 5:39 say they do to Jesus. The more we see of Jesus in the Scriptures, the more we will desire to set our new affections on Jesus. And the more we set our new affections on Jesus, the more we will want to read, devour, and delight in the Word made flesh in Jesus.
The Local Church and Pleasure Forevermore in Christ
You need to get in a local church. It’s there in the local church that we sit under the preached Word through biblically qualified men of God. Not only that, but it’s in the local church where we are invited to participate as part of the covenant community of faith. Part of training our new affections and desires before the face of the Lord is to join a local church and become a member. There we can learn how we should one another each other, minister to one another, and be a community of God’s people finding their delight and pleasure in the Lord.
Hope for Those Pursuing Pleasure Outside of Christ
Today you might be struggling mightily in your life in regards to sexual sin. It may seem like there is no hope at all. And yet, I want to tell you today that there is hope. There is One in Jesus who offers you hope. In fact, Jesus started His public ministry by opening up the scroll in the Jewish synagogue Luke 4:14-30 records to Isaiah 61. Isaiah 61 is a significant passage that focuses on how the Lord desires to set the captives free.
Luke 19:10 tells us that Jesus came to seek and save the lost. That may be you. You may be lost in the endless sea of our culture clicking from one video to another image, and back again, and again, day after day. You need to understand that there is more to this life than worldly pleasures. God desires for you to have pleasures forevermore through Christ. And that’s more than just seeking pleasure for pleasure’s sake. Instead, that’s real pleasure, not in yourself but in the One in the Lord who has given you life, who desires to give you meaning, and who longs to give you a new mission through Christ.
Those of you who are Christians may already know all that I’ve stated in this article. I want to challenge you right now that now is not the time to sit idly and find your pleasure, meaning, value, and worth in the world. Instead, as Christians by God’s grace through the convicting work of the Holy Spirit who indwells us, we are to turn from and hate sin. Repentance is to mark our lives as Christians since repentance begins the Christian life and helps God’s people grow in Christ.
The mark of a true Christian is a hatred of sin and a desire to turn from it to Christ alone. And at the heart of all of that is finding our pleasure in the Lord. His promise of pleasures forevermore more is a rock solid promise from the Lord. Find your delight in the Lord; then you’ll find your meaning in Him and life also in Him. Then and only then will you repent of false pleasure and find in Christ an endless ocean of pleasure in the Lord forevermore.