Faithfulness, Not Pleasure

Shirt available at Planetary Bargains.
It’s not about whether we enjoy it; it’s about whether God wants it.

That’s a tough statement in a climate where we value pleasure over faithfulness.

We have athletes who will cheat to get the fame that victory brings. We have businessmen who will lie to make more money. We have workers who will slack off to get more down time. We have politicians who do whatever it takes to get elected. We are surrounded by a world where pleasure is  valued more than faithfulness.

We like to spiritualize faithfulness and say that it is always more enjoyable to be faithful. But is it? Really? The person who says that has never experienced the pains this life brings, even when we are faithful. 

When Isaiah was being sawn in two, do you think he thought how great of a time he was having? When Peter was hung upside down on a cross with nails in his feet and hands, do you think that he could not have thought of anything better to do? It’s true that faithfulness usually produces more joy in our lives, but at times it can be quite costly.

In order to choose faithfulness over pleasure, we must truly believe in the promise of God. That is the only thing that will cause us to make what the world would see as a completely irrational decision.

When Abraham was told to pack up, leave his family, and head to the Promised Land, I doubt the journey was one filled with pleasure. But he went anyway. He persevered through the tough times and experienced some God-encountering majestic ones. 

When you’re asked to stop getting drunk, stop using drugs, stop gossiping about the people you hate, stop overeating, stop entertaining yourself in the wrong way, or stop watching too much television, I doubt you think abstaining will be bring you more pleasure. When you're asked to stop living for yourself and to start living for those around you, I doubt you think following through will bring more joy to your life. At times, it will. At other times, it won't.

But that’s not the point. Life is not about experiencing as much pleasure as we can experience. Trying to find the next great high through business, risk-taking, or using some substance. There is something greater than pleasure.


He’s greater than pleasure.

Experiencing Him and living to bring about His will is greater than pleasure.

Instead of deciding on the tough decision by figuring out what would give us the greatest enjoyment, we should contemplate what would further God’s kingdom. We need to ask ourselves, "What would bring about His will into this world?" And then do it. No matter what the cost.

In the end, being faithful to God will lead to the best life now and for eternity. That’s the promise that will help us make the right decision during the tough times. That doesn’t mean that every moment of our life will be filled with pleasure. But I do know, from experience, that along the road of being faithful we will get glimpses of heaven. You have experience those moments when everything in the world just feels right. It’s in those moments – moments when we hold a newborn baby for the first time, moments when we see an amazing sunrise, moments when we feel totally loved – those moments give us a glimpse of eternity in the presence of God. 

It’s not about whether we enjoy it; it’s about whether God wants it.

“But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.”

“Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells” (2 Peter 3:8-13 ESV).