Friday, March 31, 2006

"I Want My Dessert First"

The insatiable quest for spiritual PLEASURE from the postmodern and emergent types could be considered a form of covetousness, spiritual covetousness. That is, if the pursuit is pleasure in place of obedience. Before we go any further let me clarify. God brings pleasure to the believer. It's called JOY. But let us not confuse the joy that God gives with pleasure or temporal happiness which is very often lacking in our christian lives as we live it out properly. It seems that those who over emphasize spiritual pleasure in following Christ have often not lived much life yet (they're young).

This spiritual pleasure we hear talked about among the emergent movement is one that is supposedly achieved as a result of certain mystical like "spiritual disciplines" being practiced and maintained in the christian's life. But this approach to following God is dangerous and will turn out to be a devastating blow to many young people who are being taught this in their youth groups. If their earthly lives end up resembling anything like those of the Old Testament believers described in Hebrews 11, the pleasure part ain't never gonna come and they'll be left looking down into an empty spiritual cookie jar. No pleasure on earth, only pain. The believers in Hebrews 11 had plenty of pain but it was patiently endured because of the Joy of the Lord which they had as a result of their obedience on a daily basis.

Our number one pursuit should be God's glory and his righteousness (Matt. 6:33). The way we live this out is in a relationship with God expressed through our obedience. Not in the pursuit of all the good stuff God has. "If you LOVE me you will OBEY my commandments." Jesus said. Our obedience is the expression of our love for Him. Obedience in our heart first, in our thoughts second and in our actions last. That is the obedience Jesus was talking about.

Obedience is the meal. Pleasure is the dessert, it comes later, in glory. Finish the meal before you reach for the dessert.

"Trust and Obey, for there's no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey"

Take at look at what it says in Heb. 11:8-10, 13, 16;
By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.
By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise.
...For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.
All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth.
Instead, they were longing for a better country— a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.



Blogger Eternity said...

With a humble heart.... hey, wait a minute ! You are editing the comments? Then, to the point ! You are talking like at the Middle Ages, when God goes first, and fleas and cochroaches were pestering the world over. Remember the Black Death ? Well, they were fleas from infected rats.
The time to do repentance and accept blows takes a thousand years to get out of the system. I guess it will never come back, as humanity was a thousandfold more miserable now than to-day .
Humanity is evolving. I doubt it much it could return to the old days of flagelations and big ceremonies with large processions by the streets.
God, our God, is the only ticket to Eternity. If there is no God, good bye to life eternal. There is no way we can return floating like ghosts .
Jesus was an incarnation of some high evolved spiritual creature - or perhaps even an avatar of God himself. Not important now who was he, God himself or a high spirit , the end result it's we are not going to live for ever if God don't help us .
The talk about how to behave, guess not all of us could lend hands to poor people, now poor people, at the least on western cities, aren't as poor as , say, 20 years ago. A "poor" of to-day, is a middle class guy of the past.
Soon poors will be left only in Africa . Western countries had social improvements for poor people, and they give them shelter, jobs and welfare .
The ones in the street, just don't want to be helped. They like to be in the open, doing exactly what they want and nothing else.
Jesus put a high bar for his followers the Evangelists, not to the common people. We are not called to go by the streets chanting and asking people to repent of their sins. Pretchers and fathers are doing that , and are better trained ,too.

11:39 PM  
Blogger Andy said...

When it came to the whole doctrine of pleasure Id have to say that it was pretty cool. It offered some interesting insight and characteristics into the enjoyment we can get from God, and I believe one of its goals is for christians to take hold of the great satisfaction God is offering through himself here and now. My problem with the pleasure doctrine only came when it became the main focus and was used in Gospel sharing. It seemed very much like a marketing tactic to me to get people to convert, but in fact Jesus tells of how are lives will be filled with persecutions and how we will have to die to ourselves take up our crosses etc... Although this is for the better I cant really think how pleasurable being persecuting or any of that stuff is. Certainly there is joy in doing it because we know that is what God wants for us, but as far as pleasure goes I pretty much agree that a majority is reserved for heaven. "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 12:2 Jesus knew the joy and God's presence he would enter into outweighed the suffering he would endure.

12:18 PM  
Blogger KCO said...

Hey Andy,

Great comments! I think you have a healthy balance of the pleasures/obedience/suffering concepts.

If God has pleasures for us, great! If not, we must still obey. Job is a good example of this, but Jesus is the perfect example that's why the verse from Hebrews 12 is perfectly applicable.



10:34 AM  

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