This week we heard from a guest speaker, Jeremy Jernigan, teach on the topic of his new book, Redeeming Pleasure. The topic of pleasure within the church has often been shied away from because of an assumption that pleasure is connected with guilt and shame. Jeremy emphasized the need to seek pleasure on God’s terms where we will experience maximum pleasure rather than seeking pleasure on our own terms which ultimately leads to less pleasure.
5 thoughts on “Redeeming Pleasure”
Thank you for showing the path to the fruit god has set up for us! It’s a compounding fruit that can only be found in acts of faith! Amazing message in my opinion
Excellent message, just what I needed!
Excellent message, wow.
Mucho echoes! What a great message. Around 28-29 minutes, Jeremy really hits the mark with a powerful stick of spiritual dynamite –
“You think you’re going to get something better somewhere else? Well, you’re not, because GOD IS THE SOURCE of pleasure!”
This totally echoes Psalm 16:11 –
“You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” (NIV)
The only thing missing was a shot of the ‘Bathroom’ afterwards – Ha!
In Ecclesiastes 2:1-11 and 24-26 we read,
“I said to myself, “Come now, I will test you with pleasure to find out what is good.” But that also proved to be meaningless. “Laughter,” I said, “is madness. And what does pleasure accomplish?” I tried cheering myself with wine, and embracing folly—my mind still guiding me with wisdom. I wanted to see what was good for people to do under the heavens during the few days of their lives.
I undertook great projects: I built houses for myself and planted vineyards. I made gardens and parks and planted all kinds of fruit trees in them. I made reservoirs to water groves of flourishing trees. I bought male and female slaves and had other slaves who were born in my house. I also owned more herds and flocks than anyone in Jerusalem before me. I amassed silver and gold for myself, and the treasure of kings and provinces. I acquired male and female singers, and a harem as well—the delights of a man’s heart. I became greater by far than anyone in Jerusalem before me. In all this my wisdom stayed with me.
I denied myself nothing my eyes desired;
I refused my heart no pleasure.
My heart took delight in all my labor,
and this was the reward for all my toil.
Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done
and what I had toiled to achieve,
everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind;
nothing was gained under the sun.”
“A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment? To the person who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God.”
At the time of creation, God said the work of each ‘day’ was good and finally the whole creation was very good. These comments were directed more so at the functionality of creation and not its appearance, as no one would deny its beauty would be consistent with its Creator.
So with the creation of man and his dependency on food (and drink) to survive, the process of eating and drinking was made pleasurable as also the climate and the means of procreation etc. If this were not the case how could creation be described as functionally, very good?
So the ‘by product’ of obedience or, obeying God’s laws or living consistent with the created order, are the pleasures associated with (amongst others) “wisdom, knowledge and happiness”. Where this is opposed (eg gluttony, alcoholism or incorrect sexual behaviour), man has fallen short and is disobedient and has therefore sinned against the Creator. As Jeremy has indicated, rather than worship God and experience true pleasure through obedience to His laws, they have wrongly sort pleasure as the goal and suffer the meaningless of life as expressed in Ecclesiastes above. This is also indicated by Paul in Romans 1:24-31,
“Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.
Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.
Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.”
So correctly understood, the pleasures that come from creation (and the New Creation to come) are not dependent wealth or status or any such human goal, but are the blessings of loving obedience (‘the path of life’…per Dave above), doing God’s will.