Is there a problem with pleasure?
This is a subject that I have been thinking a lot about here lately. So over the next few days, I am going to do a little mini series on this subject. Much of the information about this subject comes from a message by Ravi Zacharias called “The Problem of Pleasure.” I will attach it to the bottom of the blog so you can watch it if you want to. It is really strong stuff!
This concept of pleasure is something I really struggle with.
I didn’t know I struggled with it until I went to Haiti.
A third world country will do that to ya.
It is unbelievable the comforts and luxuries we have here in America that we take for granted. Here are a few I took for granted. We can drink clean water from our faucets. We can flush toilet paper down the toilet. We have toilets! And kitchens! And bath tubs! And showers—with warm water! Most of our roads are paved. There are actual driving laws on our roads. There are restaurants, stores, and choices out the wazoo! We have possibilities for promising futures through education and job opportunities. Our health care is awesome! Yes, you heard that right. Compared to Haiti, our health care is awesome!
I realized when I was in Haiti that I live in a mansion. Now, if you saw my house, you might think I had lost my marbles because it’s really quite an average home. But compared to what the majority of people have in Haiti, we ALL live in mansions!
We have so much to be thankful for here in this country.
While I was there, I thought about the things I complained about. It was a huge gut check. For instance, I’ve complained about having to go to a restaurant that I didn’t really care for, when many Haitians don’t even know where their next meal is coming from. Yeah, I know, pretty rough blow.
I came back from Haiti with so many questions.
Why is it that I seemed closer to God in a place like Haiti where there is so little, than I do here, where there is so much?
You depend on God there—because He’s all you have.
Here in America, we have so much other “stuff” we depend on. We feel like we can handle things on our own.
Can we though? Or is it a false dependence?
We are overloaded here with things that bombard us, steal our attention, and fill our minds. We don’t lack in entertainment here in this country. Pleasure comes in every size, shape, and form.
Silence is something that can be really hard to find because noise is everywhere.
Televisions abound! They are in restaurants and waiting rooms. Have you noticed that TV’s are now at gas stations? There’s even a television I watch while I’m getting my teeth cleaned when I go to the dentist. Seriously!
We constantly have screens in front of us. Our phones are going off with texts, news updates, Facebook and Twitter notices. We have immediate access to information all over the world.
Often we know more about what’s going on with friends on social media than we do with our own families. Gulp! I’m guilty of that one!
Read this excerpt from the book “Amusing Ourselves to Death” about two different views on where our world might be headed when it comes to this problem of pleasure.
“Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huskley feared that we would have so much, that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huskley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared what we hate would ruin us. Huskley feared that what we love would ruin us.”
Who do you think got it right? Orwell or Huskley?
So how do we cope with the seduction of power, pride, lust, and greed? We might be at different levels of enticement, but we all deal with it. We all face it!
Should there be boundaries with pleasure? How much is too much? Where do we draw the line? Does God want us to experience pleasure?
King Solomon was given just about any pleasure you can imagine. All the wealth, wisdom, power, women. You name it, he had it. But here’s what he said in Ecclesiastes 2:11.
“But as I looked at everything I had worked so hard to accomplish, it was all so meaningless—like chasing the wind. There was nothing to be gained under the sun.”
That “under the sun” meaning in Hebrew means “outside of God!” When we lock God out of our pursuits, everything becomes a chasing after the wind and meaningless.
When Jack Higgins, famous author of “The Eagle Has Landed,” was asked what he knew now that he wished he had known when he was a young man, he said, “I wish I had known then what I know now, when you get to the top, there’s nothing there.”
When you get to the top, there’s nothing there.
GK Chesterton said, “Meaningless does not come from being weary of pain. Meaningless comes from being weary of pleasure.”
Could Huskley be right? Is what we love ruining us?