I recently read a book that is wrecking my life.
In the best possible way.
It’s Pure Pleasure: Why Do Christians Feel So Bad about Feeling Good? by Gary Thomas.
I finished it on a plane and had our aircraft gone down I think I would have clung to it as tightly as the oxygen mask dropping from the ceiling. Because that’s what it felt like to me. I grew up in a denomination that leaned toward legalism. If you asked me about it I would have said, “I dealt with all that years ago.” And I did. On the outside. But on the inside guilt and shame still had their way with me far too often, especially in moments of happiness and fun.
Maybe you too?
Then let’s lean in and listen to Gary together…
Spiritual triumph begins and ends with finding our satisfaction in God above all things. We serve a generous God, however, who eagerly wants to bless us with many other pleasures, gifts from His hand, that delight us–and in delighting us bring pleasure back to Him. Rather than seeing these gifts as competitors that steal our hearts from God, perhaps we can gratefully receive them and allow God to use them to ruin us to the ways of the world.
Prayer and fellowship are among life’s richest pleasures but let’s not stop there. Let us learn to fill our souls with beauty, art, noble achievement, fine meals, rich relationships, and soul cleansing laughter. When we acknowledge these pleasures, we acknowledge God as a genius creator of brilliant inventions. Let us be wary of a faith that denies these blessings as “worldly” and unfit, as though Satan rather than God had designed them. Let us refuse to fall into the enemy’s trap of denying ourselves God’s good pleasures so that we end up deeply vulnerable to illicit pleasure.
You and I are made for joy. We are also made for happiness, fun, laughter and enjoyment. We don’t serve a taskmaster. We serve a good and faithful Father who finds delight in His children receiving His gifts. So let’s open our hands, our hearts, our lives a little wider to what He wants to freely give us today. What do you truly enjoy that may not seem “spiritual” at all?