I have been taught, experienced, and know it to be true that there is a great difference between joy and pleasure. Joy is a gift from God that remains through thick and thin, it is the hearts ability to cry out in thankfulness despite circumstance because of who God is, and what He does. We feel this joy when we worship, when we give, when we read the word of God in the bible and experience the works of the Spirit and meet with others to do the same. Now God has also specially handcrafted each of us to experience pure joy about different individualised things- for some it may be the smile of a child, for another it could be a cup of tea, it may very well be a night of pure passion with your spouse, watching the sunset, exercise, reading a book or a walk amongst nature… for each person it is different. God is a great and personal God in that way.
This incredible joy is not perverted or damaging, but instead it draws our eyes and hearts up once again to the presence of God. One of the greatest marks of a person who loves God with maturity is their joyfulness. Joy is a state of life which is filled with beautiful bursts of happiness which overwhelm, but pleasure on the other hand (in its most worldly sense) is simply a feeling brought about by our sin nature as it is temporarily satisfied. Pleasure is a distorted form of joy. Pleasure (in its most worldly sense) is fleeting, and draws us away from God and becomes an obsession with feeling good- eventually doing whatever it takes to feel this way. With the flesh being as it is, drawn towards independence from God and corruption, this sin nature demands more and more sinful actions or thoughts to feel this hit of pleasure. Just as a person may increase in tolerance to take drugs without effect, sin operates in a similar manner. We can very quickly learn to love the pleasure of sin (which at one time may have repelled us) and become slave to it, which is a shame as there is pure and lasting joy offered in God.
Are you a joyful person? The Joy of God is made available to us all, for He is rich in love and desires good things for us. This week may we all enjoy the good things He has for us, and may we drink from His deep well of love and joy through all moments- both great and difficult. May we never trade this treasure of God for its cheap imitation worldly pleasure. If you are now in a place where a love of pleasure has mastered you, in one form or another, it is important that you turn from that in the power of God if you ever want to receive the fullness of His joy- allow God and His truth to master your world. Tell your spouse, your life-support partner or a godly friend, pray together and receive all God has for you in Jesus Name. Be Blessed.
Some Verses to meditate on this week:
Luke 2:10 “But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.” (The birth of Jesus)
John 15:10-11 “10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.”
Romans 14:17 “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit…”
Proverbs 21:17 “Whoever loves pleasure will become poor; whoever loves wine and olive oil will never be rich.”
Hebrews 11:24-26 “24 By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. 25 He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26 He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.”
James 4:3 “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”
2 Timothy 3:1-5 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
Titus 3:3-8 At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. 8 This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.