Where do we find pleasure? This week we tackled this tough question while diving into Ecclesiastes 2:1-11. King Solomon, who was likely the author of Ecclesiastes, writes about the enormous pleasures he has accumulated over his lifetime. He has it all; Money, palaces, livestock, wild living, everything you could imagine. But in verse eleven he says, “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.” Our worldly pleasures here on earth are meaningless. Solomon even calls laughter meaningless because this beautiful gift from God has been turned into an escape, instead of something that glorifies and honors God. Everything we do apart from glorifying God is meaningless.
Steve talked about our desire to accumulate pleasures, and their tight grip on our lives. We desire more and more possessions and pleasures, which tear us away from the goodness that God has planned for us. Once we get what we believe will give us satisfaction, we are left to only want the next best thing. Even Solomon, with the means to have ANYTHING, was never satisfied. So he accumulated more. What pleasures do you seek satisfaction in, but never find it? When we ask ourselves these questions, we begin to search out hearts for the bigger question: What’s the thing I’ll have that is long-lasting?
Often earthly pleasures bring us to the “morning after” feeling, where we ask ourselves, did that pleasure really deliver eternal satisfaction? This feeling can be full of guilt and being unsatisfied with the pleasures we sought.
Jesus was even tempted with pleasures. However, the love and pleasure he experienced with the Father was more pleasing and filling than any earthly pleasures. Instead of craving our own selfish satisfactions, desire the same fulfilling and satisfying pleasure that Jesus had; eternal glorification of God.
Steve also explained the difference between a person born in sin, born against sin, and born again. Someone who is born in sin is living wildly for themselves in a sinful way. Those who are born against sin are the legalists who do not associate with the world because the world is sinful. And those who are born again live a life according to how Jesus taught. Steve challenged us to think through the consequences of our earthly pleasures when we are faced with temptation and sin. Play it out! Does it take me closer to God, or is it an escape from something else? What are you escaping from? Where is your pleasure, in God, or in what the world offers us?