Faith is Measured by Your Pleasure

by Sep 21, 2011

In our Rebel-Righteous-Rescued series, we’re discovering that the parable of the prodigal son isn’t a story about a good son and a bad son. It’s a story about two bad sons – an obvious rebel who comes to realize he needs his father’s grace, and a self-righteous rebel who doesn’t. An outward rebel who learns to enjoy his dad more than his dad’s stuff, and an inward rebel who doesn’t.

It turns out that your faith is not measured by what you do in life as much as it is by your enjoyment of the life God’s given you. That’s exactly what Jon Bloom says:

No one puts it as bluntly as Blaise Pascal in his Pensées:

All men seek happiness. This is without exception. Whatever different means they employ, they all tend to this end. The cause of some going to war, and of others avoiding it, is the same desire in both, attended with different views. The will never takes the least step but to this object. This is the motive of every action of every man, even of those who hang themselves.

There you are. Warrior, pacifist, suicide, sluggard, workaholic; if you’re a human, you’re a hedonist. You can try to deny it, but you can’t change it.

If you want to try your hand at stoicism, forget the Bible. It has little for you. Scripture does not support the idea that our motives are more pure the less we are pursuing our own joy. Nope. In fact, according to the Bible, unless we are pursuing our happiness we cannot even come to God: “for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).

God blatantly entices us to seek happiness, joy, pleasure (whatever you want to call it) in him with verses like this: “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4), and “in his presence is fullness of joy, and at his right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11). We’re supposed to want pleasure.

Why does God want us to want pleasure? Because it is a crucial indicator. Pleasure is the meter in your heart that measures how valuable, how precious someone or something is to you. Pleasure is the measure of your treasure.