The problem of pleasure
Ecclesiastes 2: 1-11, Judges 7: 5-7
Untamed pleasure is more deadly than holding a grenade without a linchpin. In this modern day, the quest for pleasure has conquered the fear of the consequences of sin. So often times, we find ways to justify our quest for pleasure because our ego forbids self-blame. This justification usually comes in the form of changing wants into needs.
Solomon; the richest and wisest man that ever lived tried it all and concluded that, “.., indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind. There was no profit under the sun.” (Eccl 2:11). The key phrase is “under the sun” which he sometimes refers to as “under heaven” (Eccl 1:12). Here, Solomon is emphasizing that any sort of pleasure that we seek that is not in line with the heavenly mission, that is purely focused on the life we have here on earth (under the sun) is of no benefit, he tried it all. It is this quest for pleasure that led Solomon to marry foreign women that then led him astray (1 Kings 11). It made him the teacher of wisdom and practitioner of foolishness. If Solomon couldn’t profit from all kinds of pleasure he pursued, how much more can us common people benefit from the same pleasure?
The question then is, does it mean that if you are a true Christian there will be nothing to enjoy? I thank God because there is something for us. What pleasure does is it quenches some form of thirst, whether it’s thirst to be noticed, feeling superior, to have control, for men or women etc. Pleasure refreshes, that’s what most people say. What then is true pleasure for a child of God? Judges 7:5 “Separate those who lap the water with their tongues as a dog laps from those who kneel down to drink.” Those who lapped the water with their tongues were equally refreshed as those that knelt down. He who drinks 2 litres of water from a 2 litre container does not get more refreshed that he who drinks 2 litres of water in small quantities from a 300 ml cup. The difference between the 2 groups is on the “HOW” the refreshment was achieved.
Those who lapped the water with their tongues are people who are refreshed without deviating from the mission. Their God given mission was to fight the Midianites therefore; the thirst for refreshment was supposed to align with the need to defeat the enemy. True pleasure for a Christian is therefore; that kind of pleasure that refreshes you yet not straying you from your God given mission. We are fighting the devil every day of our lives which means we don’t have even a single day to hang our boots and refresh. Before you pursue that pleasure your heart is longing for, ask yourself; “Am I lapping or kneeling?” We cannot afford to kneel and drink.