Psalm 16:11. You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
What brings you pleasure? It’s ok to answer. Eating? Entertainment? Exercise? Sex? Your work? A hobby? There is no end to the things in this life that bring us pleasure. In fact, everything we do, we do because it brings pleasure. Even the things we “don’t want to do,” we do because we want to avoid the pain, guilt, or suffering of not doing them.
Let’s ask another question. Do you find pleasure in God? Does God bring you fullness of joy? If I told you that the meaning of life was to find pleasure in God would that surprise you? God’s goal for us is not that we become really good rule keepers. God’s goal is for you to enjoy him forever.
But finding pleasure in God is not just the destination, it’s the entire path of life. But it’s not an easy path.
God has filled our lives with so many simple pleasures to be enjoyed, but over time pleasure becomes elusive. It takes very little to bring joy to a child. Peek-a-boo. A small toy. A song. Fireflies. But as we grow older these thing no longer make our hearts soar. We become “bored.” Our hearts are hardened. We are left running greedily from pleasure to pleasure. Making the joys that were once gifts from God into the gods we worship. Each failing to bring ultimate satisfaction until, over time, our capacity for pleasure is hardened. We become, as Paul puts it, “callous” and “sensual” at the same time (Eph. 4:19).
Or maybe pleasure eludes you because you believe that we are not supposed to be experiencing pleasure in this life. Pleasure is sin. Pleasure is hedonistic. Pleasure seeking is not godly.
But the truth is that experiencing pleasure is what makes us alive. You got out of bed today most likely because of pleasure. Obligation cannot sustain you over time. Duty without delight will destroy you. When we lose joy we lose the will to live. When we lose pleasure we’ve lost the ability to love.
The solution to all our pleasure problems is God himself. To be able to enjoy the little joys of life, we first must be able to find pleasure in the greatest joy in life – God.
Psalm 16:8-9. I have set the LORD always before me…Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices.
Without God as our greatest joy, the lesser joys of everyday life will actually harden your heart, turning you into a pleasure seeking addict or pleasure avoiding ascetic. But when we set the LORD before us, when the presence of the infinite God is our greatest pleasure, all the lesser pleasures will serve to drive you to him – no more addiction. When you set the LORD before you, you can enjoy everything he has given within the bounds that he has given it – no more asceticism.
You might be thinking but what if God is not my greatest pleasure? What if God is hard for me to like? How do I find joy in God?
By knowing that he finds his joy in you.
In Psalm 16:10 David says, for you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see decay. David’s heart is melted knowing that God wants him to live forever. God will not abandon him in life or in death. God will not leave him decaying in the grave. He will bring him into his glorious presence forever – body and soul. But how?
Hebrews 12:2 tells us that Jesus endured the cross because of the “joy set before him.” What empowered Christ to go through the hell of the cross? Joy. What joy? You and me. The one thing Jesus was lacking in eternity was us. Just as David set the LORD before him and found joy, Jesus set us before himself and found joy. A joy that would keep him on the cross. A joy that would never keep him in the grave.
“To live is Christ” means God himself is our joy and pleasure. Not his “blessings” for good behavior. But his presence by his grace. The indwelling presence of God in Christ as our path of life. This is far more than just avoiding death. This is abundant life. This is forever Love.
What brings you pleasure?
You in Christ
How do you feel knowing that in Christ God finds pleasure in you?
Christ in you
How can you let the million small pleasures of life today take you into the presence of God to delight in him?