That will be the cry of many Hedonists in hell, who never knew the God about Whom the Psal-mist wrote: "You will show me the path of life: in Your presence is fulness of joy; at Your right hand there are pleasures for evermore" (Ps. 16:11).
The Christian is the one who ultimately finds total, delightful fulfillment of spirit, mind, and body, because he receives it according to the plan of his Creator/Redeemer. God almighty gives eternal pleasure. It is a pleasure that can only come in the righteous way of salvation - the highway of holiness.
A moment's reflection easily establishes truth of this. Suppose a pleasure seeker finds great delight in food and drink. Should he make these things into his god, i.e. loving pleasure with all his heart, soul, mind, and strength, he incurs the Divine wrath against idolaters. His little season of sinful pleasure is followed by unspeakably grievous pain for all eternity. But the man who has the LORD as his God has the One Who created the mouth and stomach, as well as anything that can be put into them! Do the math! The believer's eternal lot will be the one so well pictured in Isaiah's prophecy about the future glory of Mount Zion: "And in this mountain will the LORD of hosts make for all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined. And He will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death in victory; and the LORD God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of His people will He take away from off all the earth; For the LORD has spoken it" (Isa. 25:6-8).
God is the greatest good - the Summum Bonum. To know Him, to have Him as Father, Savior, Comforter, Eternal Home, Living Water, Bread of Heaven, Shepherd, King and all the innumerable other things He is to His own, is to have a fountain of bliss. This fountain can never be exhausted, never be corrupted, never be lost, never lose its power to please when "the thrill is gone", because the thrill never goes! God made us as beings capable of experiencing pleasure. We actually frustrate that God given capacity when pleasure becomes an end in itself. We maximize that capacity when we seek God first and foremost.
"As a deer pants after waterbrooks, so my soul pants after You, O God" (Ps. 42:1). And, "Blessed are those that hunger and thirst for righteousness," said the LORD Christ, "for they shall be filled" (Matt. 5:6). Pant for God! Hunger to know Him and His glory! If this is all strange to you, seek the God of the Bible, the God revealed in the person and work of the LORD Jesus Christ, the God who promises to be found by those who diligently seek Him! Don't settle for less than the Infinite, Eternal Source of all enjoyment Himself! Are you seeking pleasure - be it sensual or refined - above all things? Repent of this foolish sin, and seek first God's kingdom and His righteousness, and whatever you then desire will be added to you beyond your wildest dreams!
If you are already a true Christian, stir yourself up! Be weaned like a growing child from the baby food of the world! You have been born again by His redeeming grace, and have therefore come to a loving Savior for forgiveness and newness of life. To you and to no others God promises an inconceivably glorious heaven. By His Spirit, through His Word, see it up ahead: as a desert traveler sees a real, reliably mapped oasis, though it is shimmering in the distance. Press on toward it, as your pilgrimage continues these ever so quickly passing years, months, or days remaining until your journey's end. As you go, sow to the Spirit and not to the flesh, so you can reap the right harvest. You will find the spiritual delights which are by, through, and in God (by Whom, through Whim, and in Whom are all things) to be the sweetest you've ever known.
As life (this earthly life which is again, O so short!) goes on, those who serve God prove that being in His service is NOT the oppressive gloom of man-made "religion". Paradoxically, serving God is perfect freedom! The shallow emptiness of all worldly pleasures becomes more apparent as His light grows brighter, and intimations of heaven's unimaginable glory waft downward more frequently and sweetly."O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusts in Him" (Ps. 34:8).
November 2, 1997
Pastor Keith Graham
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