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Deceitfulness Of The Pleasurable Life

Isaiah 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

There’s an alarming phenomenon growing in Australia that is reaching pandemic proportions. More and more baby boomers are selling up their homes in the major city suburbs, downsizing to the regional areas and with plenty of spare cash buying their way into the pleasure seeking, free and easy lifestyle of caravaning. Whether they purchase a camper trailer, an off-road caravan or take to tenting, these children of the fifties and sixties are letting go of all that keeps them tethered and seeking freedom and fun in the great outdoors of the Land Down Under.

This lifestyle holds great appeal. I too have embarked on a such a journey, but the luster doesn’t last. We can be all too easily beguiled into believing that being free, seeking what we want and all the attractions that are laid out before us, is the ultimate in pleasure and contentment. Being uprooted from family, friends, fellowship and responsibility has it’s appeal, but in the long run leaves us yearning for something more meaningful and lasting. We are made for each other and relationships that add value and purpose to our lives. And yet, pleasure seeking has hit idol proportions. Everywhere we turn, society is awash with seeking after its own interests.

Philippians 2:21 For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s.

Here Paul gives the church in Philippi clear instruction on what they are to seek first: Christ. Life is to model selfless, serving towards others with humility and self-abasement. Life is to emulate the pattern Christ set.

Philippians 2:5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant.

Jesus emptied himself of his desire to please himself, so that he might become obedient to the will of God. His sole concern was to do the will of His Father, who had sent Him. Jesus was fully surrendered to this purpose. This is the mind we too are to have. And yet so many of us are lured into thinking that we can safely enjoy all that this life has to offer with a little bit of Christ added into the mix. We declare we love Christ, but in truth, we love our lives far more. Losing everything for the sake of pleasing our Father and enjoying eternal life with Him seems just a bit too much to ask.

Yet the early church was exhorted by the apostles to overcome their appetites for the things that do not take them closer to Christ and to overcome their propensity to always put themselves first. True spirituality is a rigorous pursuit of personal holiness. Uncorrupted, uncompromised and undefiled spirituality. True freedom is being set apart for Christ and no longer being entangled with the allurements of this world that satisfy for a season, then leave us disappointed and hungering for something more, something new.

As my husband and family battled along the gravel, single track towards our much awaited spot to have a picnic lunch together, the onslaught of caravans and camper trailers crawled towards us from the other direction. Literally hundreds of on-the-road campers and holiday makers inched passed us leaving the National Park we were heading towards. Thirty kilometers of excruciatingly slow travel. A barbeque lunch was sounding better with every kilometer. There is absolutely nothing amiss with taking a holiday and enjoying each other’s company in the great outdoors. This is a gift to be savored. But the continuous barrage of caravans drove home to me that pleasure has become a pursuit that has reached epidemic proportions and everyone is out to get as much as they can. Pleasure is a self-perpetuating idol that sweeps the deceived up into its wake leaving us empty and yearning for the next biggest thrill.

Let’s take hold of Paul’s encouragement to Timothy who reminds us that ‘No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.’ (2 Timothy 2:4). God has chosen His elect to be soldier’s for Him. Not for being misled and charmed by the pleasures of this world. He has chosen us for His service, not our enemy’s service. We have been set free. Let’s ensure we remain in that state.

About Jennifer Woodley

Jennifer is an Australian freelance writer who lives in a small rural town in sunny Queensland. She is passionate about encouraging others on their journey with Christ through writing and mentoring. Jennifer is a school chaplain, wife, mother of three adult sons and loving grandma of one adorable grandson. More of her writing can be found at www.inhisname6.com and www.faithwriters.com.

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  1. “…God has chosen His elect to be soldier’s for Him. Not for being misled and charmed by the pleasures of this world. He has chosen us for His service, not our enemy’s service. We have been set free. Let’s ensure we remain in that state.” — Amen! and Amen!

    Great message Jennifer, wonderful Word for all of us to embrace.

    God Bless~

  2. We need to see ourselves in light of His words that warn us of our fleshy desires and pursuits. If we find it difficult to reign over the belief that personal happiness should be our goal, may we be wise enough to seek the Lord for the right reasons for living with Him in mind.
    Very good article that points out our way of thinking in general and what it can take to see our own folly through the lens of reality all around us.

  3. Jennifer Woodley

    Thanks ladies for your wise words.


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