“… at your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11)
“… lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God” (2 Timothy 3:4b)
God is not, despite much popular misinformation to the contrary, against pleasure. Rightly understood it is fair to say that God is pro-pleasure. It was “the Father’s good pleasure for all the [divine] fullness to dwell in” Christ (Colossians 1:19, NASB). God wills and works in us “for his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13). In His sovereignty God asserts, “My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure” (Isaiah 46:10, NASB).
And God is not against your pleasure. God is not seeking to minimize your pleasure. He is seeking rather to save you from puny, passing, ultimately disappointing pleasures. He wants to rescue you from being far too easily satisfied with momentary, fleeting pleasures. He wants you to enter His pleasure — a pleasure that is not gone as quickly as the food is swallowed, the sex is over, or the spotlight moves to fix on someone else. He wants to move you into the unceasing flow of His eternal joy.
But as we pass though this life how do we determine what is a legitimate pleasure and what is an illigetimate one?
The most helpful counsel I have ever heard in this regard comes from Ravi Zacharias. Its profundity is found in its simplicity:
A legitimate pleasure is one which we pay for before we enjoy it.
An illegitimate pleasure is one which we pay for after we enjoy it.
Ponder this. I think you’ll find it is true.