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The Perversion Of Pleasure

There is nothing better for a man than to eat and drink and tell himself that his labor is good. This also I have seen that it is from the hand of God. For who can eat and who can have enjoyment without Him?
–Ecclesiastes 2:24-25

Satan uses worry and riches to distract us from serving God. But in Luke 8, Jesus mentioned a third distraction: the pleasures of this life. Now Jesus was not condemning pleasure. God wants us to enjoy life, and pleasure when engaged in in the right way can actually draw us closer to God. C. S. Lewis recognized that. In his book “The Screwtape Letters,” a senior demon writes to his neophyte nephew demon about God’s plan for pleasure (remember, God is “the Enemy”): “When we are dealing with any pleasure in its healthy and normal and satisfying form, we are, in a sense, on the Enemy’s ground. I know we have won many a soul through pleasure. All the same, it is His invention, not ours. . . . All we can do is to encourage the humans to take the pleasures which our Enemy has produced, at times, or in ways, or in degrees, which He has forbidden.” What Satan wants to do is to pervert God’s plan for pleasure, and one way he does so is by having Christians abstain from pleasure for the sake of being “sold out” to Jesus. When we do that, we are actually playing into the enemy’s plan to destroy our life. Pleasure is a part of God’s plan for your life. Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 2:24-25, “There is nothing better for a man than to eat and drink and tell himself that his labor is good. This also I have seen that it is from the hand of God. For who can eat and who can have enjoyment without Him?”

If Satan cannot get us to abstain from pleasure, then he tries to get us to overindulge in pleasure, to make it the focus of our lives. We concentrate so much on entertaining ourselves that when Sunday comes, we are so exhausted we cannot even drag ourselves to church. Or maybe you are working yourself to death right now in order to enjoy the golden years of retirement–when you can wake up each day and ask, “How am I going to entertain myself today?” But God never meant for us to retire from being productive, especially spiritually. When you spend any period of time, whether it is six months or ten years, focusing solely on entertaining yourself, you are sowing the seeds of spiritual destruction in your life. I am not saying you have to keep working at your job until the day you drop. I am saying that God wants every part of your life and every period of your life to be God-focused and others-focused, not self-focused.

What has become a distraction for you in your relationship to God? Have you allowed the “what ifs” of worry to strangle out your desire to know God? Has an obsession with money–either earning it, spending it, or saving it–become the central part of your life? Has the pursuit of pleasure become the grand objective of your life? If you are going to defeat Satan’s real plan to destroy your life, the best way is to recognize what strategy he is using against you right now.

Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Blueprint For Your Destruction” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2010.

C. S. Lewis, “The Screwtape Letters” (New York: HarperOne, 2001), 44.

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


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