Humans are wired to seek pleasure. This drive alone has forged the destinies of individuals and nations. Because of our capacity for pleasure we have seen this pursuit focused on a multitude of ends—ranging from base hedonism to noble causes. Yet, somehow even in the acquisition of our ends, we’re still left wanting even more. People spend their lives and fortunes ever pursuing this elusive yearning. Why is it so difficult to satisfy? Perhaps the best way forward is to question the very nature of this drive. Might this unrelenting craving actually be a sort of premonition that we were created for more than this world has to offer?
Reclaiming Forgotten Glory
This, actually, is the heart of Christianity. Scripture says our bodies weren’t even created for our satisfaction. Rather, their purpose is to be a temple of the Holy Spirit (I Cor 6:19-20) . . . a place of worship. Yet, instead, sin has corrupted our orientation so that we’ve turned them into shrines of self-fulfillment. And, in doing so, we actually sabotage the very pleasures and joys we hope to find.
We’re created to be satisfied by one pleasure above all—the presence of God. This was the heritage of our first parents and it remains central to our very raison d’etre today. However, as it was then, so it is now . . . God will not force us to choose him. We must do so ourselves.
Costly Choices for Unspeakable Rewards
We must take personal responsibility for the spiritual care of our souls. We must choose not to satisfy certain appetites in order to nurture others. At first the choice will feel like a legalistic approach to faith but over time the drudgery of discipline turns into joyful opportunity where what is sacrificed is no longer seen as costly. Perhaps in no way is the reality of a surrendered faith more starkly felt than in the choice to release our personal desires to God’s faithful care.
So, when we choose to resist the temptations of anger, lust, covetousness, or pride trusting that God will meet our every need, we learn how to rightly feed our souls. And to the degree we fail to feast frequently upon God’s presence, we become susceptible to the dangerous draw of lesser delights. They fail to satisfy because they poison our souls with the sickness of self.
But in the place of frequent feasting, the ebbing and flowing of our emotions no longer really matter. They’ve become incidental to God’s sustaining voice always present and forever faithful, satisfying our every need. Next week we talk about how rightly ordering our emotions will greatly strengthen our faith.
What Do You Think?
What might be examples of lesser delights stifling a healthier spiritual appetite in your life today?
To see the poem this post is based on, click here.