For Thy Pleasure

 

For Thy Pleasure

 

        As I hastened home, I kept my eye on the mountains turned shadowy, gray from clouds forming around and rain pelting down upon them. A storm’s a coming, I thought. Moments later, a side-glance caught an arc of color brighter, bolder, and thicker than I’ve ever seen before. The sun shined brightly in the west through to the graying mountains in the East. As the sun’s rays reflected off the sheer sheet of rain covering the mountains, God’s promises splashed across the sky in the form of a rainbow.

        “For Thy pleasure,” I thought.

        The baby tottered across the green grass. One step, two steps, a couple more. He’s going to fall, I thought. A few seconds later, he righted himself with a squeal of glee, arms outstretched, and an “I can take on the whole world today” smile.

        “For Thy pleasure,” I thought.

        I looked up from prayer glancing towards the overturned coloring crayon box and empty seat next to me. I hurriedly looked around hoping she wasn’t dancing on the stage, heading for the drums or pulling on the pastor’s suit jacket as he prayed. She’s in trouble this time, I thought. I walked forward looking down pews as I advanced. At the front, I stopped. She stood next to kneeling Daddy with one small hand covered by both of Daddy’s large ones and her other small hand on his shoulder.

        “For thy pleasure,” I thought.

        Our lives can either bring sadness or pleasure to the Lord.       As a child, moments of pleasure spring up daily. The budding flowers, the worms in the clod of dirt, and the latest fast food toy all bring pleasure. A hug and a smile radiate gladness. And God says, “It is good.”

        As we get older, springtime becomes more mundane and life becomes the daily grind. The pleasure of the moment becomes lost in responsibility and finances. We begin a struggling, cycle of life that most people call adulthood.  To some extent, God says, “It is good.” He created us to grow in responsibility.

        But when some people lose the curiosity and joy of everyday life, they begin to seek out new avenues of pleasure. Pleasure comes in many packages. There’s the pleasure we can find in Christ’s blood stained cross. There’s the pleasure of discovering new avenues for helping others as God leads.

        Then there are the pleasures of the world wrapped up in fine linens and sensuous living. The Bible calls these the loving the world.

        “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world, If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life is not of the father but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust of it; but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever.” (I John 2:15-17)

        Many adults and teens enter a cycle of depression due to the lack of understanding pleasure. We can find our pleasure in pleasing others and Christ, or we can strive for personal happiness, self-fulfillment, and a solution for our insatiable desires in the world.

“The world” is a negative term for anything outside the realm of a Christ centered life. Either we center our life on desires that bring pleasure to Christ or we center our life on desires that please only ourselves, our bosses, our friends, our co-workers, our family members, and anyone not living from a perspective that all we do is suppose to bring pleasure to God.

        Revelations 4:11 reminds us “for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.”

        In I Chronicles 29:17, David says, “I know also, my God, that thou testest the heart, and hast pleasure in uprightness.”

        God searches the desires of our heart and is pleased when he finds uprightness or right living. Right living means obedience to God’s commands.

        But often, we get into a continuing pattern of sin that’s difficult to break. The trick is to first avoid the pattern, don’t fall into sin. The Bible says to flee youthful lusts (2 Timothy 2:22).

        In I Timothy 6 lists several lusts to flee from. Stay away from unwholesome talk particularly words against our Lord Jesus Christ (6:3). Withdraw from men who continually fall into quarrels that lead to envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and constant friction.  Stay away from men of corrupt minds who lacking in understanding of truth as revealed by Jesus and want godliness only for financial gain (6:5). Avoid the lustful use of riches that trap men. The temptation of riches buys men foolish and hurtful desires and plunges them into destruction and damnation (6:9).

        He that loves pleasure will become poor,” Proverbs 21:17 says. The spiraling effect of chasing after pleasure only leads to ruin. It leads to ruin financially as all the money in the world will not satisfy a man’s desire for pleasure. Pleasure seeking only leads to despair. According to the Bible the pleasure of sin only lasts for a season (Hebrews 11:25).

        At 21 he started his home based business only to have it blossom overnight into a lifetime career. His family and home that had been the stabilizing factor of the business took a back seat to success and the pursuit of money.  Soon coming home at night turned into long nights working and a quick trip home for sleep in the early morning hours. Then the downward spiral began. Pleasure in home and right living departed. The love of money became the root that directed his actions. With money he bought drugs to keep him awake. From these pills he went to drugs that would keep him upbeat. Finally he decided that drugs could also provide the pleasure he no longer got from home, business, and life. He originally connected success and money with satisfaction and pleasure. Now he only connected them with his ability to buy drugs. The drugs led to divorce. And the divorce to more drugs. His business closed. Theft and felonies followed. The love of money is the root of all evil. The pleasure of sin only lasts for a season.

        This story repeats itself over and over with every kind of sin. Sin tempts and leads to destruction. Flee from temptation and the desire for worldly pleasure

        “Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary, the devil like a roaring lion walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” (I Peter 5:8)

        Just as fast as you flee from evil desires, you should run towards righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, and meekness (I Timothy 6:11).

        “For it is God who worketh in you both to will and to do his good pleasure,” Philippians 2:13.

        He was wounded. He was bruised. His soul hung on the cross as an offering for sin. He bore their iniquities. Through his pain and sorrow many are justified. Yet in his life and death is wrapped up the pleasure of the Lord.  Isaiah 53:10 says, “And the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.”

        When I grew up, my family lacked money, but they weren’t poor. Poor people lack love, hope, and lose money through depression that leads to seeking after pleasure.  Although my father left our home to find happiness through alcohol and the California sun, our home never lacked. God provided for our needs through my mom’s hard work, loving grandparents, and hope that comes from living a life pleasing to Christ. From my youngest moments I remember desiring to please the Lord. I often failed.

As a kindergartener I forged my own way in the world, much like adults. I found my own friends and decided on my circle of influence. These friends didn’t like the black girl who walked home on the same inner city sidewalk as my white supremacist group. Every day along with the group, I harassed her and embarrassed her, all while I claimed to be a Christian. Sure I was only a child, but children turn into adults. Through a loving mother I realized my mistake in choosing friends and suddenly the little black girl became part of my inner circle. I failed. But recognizing my failure brought greater hope and trust in the Lord who forgives and builds lives.

        A Christ-centered life pleases the Lord. As I think about my life I say with hope, “For Thy pleasure.”

 

 

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