There are great lies among us, and inside us. Insidious rumors that we desire desperately to believe. One of the greatest of these deceptions is that indulging our desires for pleasure is the purpose of life. This is one of the predominant falsehoods of the American dream…that the “pursuit of happiness” is the great goal. Of course, pleasure does bring temporary gladness…and there’s nothing wrong with enjoying the delights of this amazing world. But the lasting joy & peace that every human seeks always eludes us just beyond the corner of whatever pursuit we’re currently engrossed in…as long as we hold pleasure as an end unto itself.
Pleasure was never meant to be the source of our wholeness, but a by-product. We were made to be deeper, with greater purpose, than what mere experiences could ever fabricate for us.
Reflect on the following words of scripture. I challenge you to ponder them, measure them against your own experiences, meditate on the truths you find in them, and allow them to draw you closer to the Living Spirit of God today:
“For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love…So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions
When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.” (Galatians 5:13-25)
“I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:1-2)
“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:21)
One could say that, in terms of the Spirit, the best defense is a good offense.