Human beings passionately pursue pleasure. Sometimes people are embarrassed by their passion for happiness. We often think that something we discipline ourselves to do has greater virtue than something we desire. Accordingly, we think that Christians must deny themselves pleasure in order to please God. In reality, the greatest pleasures human beings can experience are found in knowing and obeying God. That’s the message of Psalm 16: “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (v. 11). In God’s presence, there is fullness of joy; eternal pleasures—pleasures that will never go flat or stale—that are found in God.
To pursue God is to pursue pleasure. We glorify God by enjoying Him. When we seek happiness, delight, and pleasure in God, we glorify Him. It is beyond the scope of this article, but delighting in God and being fulfilled in Him is one of the means of victory over sin.
How do you measure the value of something in your life? It is most often measured by how much pleasure it gives you. The intensity of the joy you feel is the measure of its value. The strength of your delight, the superlatives you use to describe how something delights and thrills you shows its value to you. The treasure of God’s wonderful being is most glorified through your pleasure and delight in Him.
In 1992, I spent six weeks in Africa. I have a picture at my desk of my wife, Margy, and I locked in embrace at the airport. Some friends were present and caught the picture as Margy ran leaping into my waiting arms. I had been gone for six weeks. She found great pleasure in my return. The fact that I was safely home, that we would be together again, gave her pleasure.
How do you suppose that I responded to her welcome? I was honored by her delight in my return. Her pleasure in my presence was a measure of the way she treasured me. I was flattered to be her heart’s desire.
Can you imagine me rebuking her? “Here you are, delighted to see me, and finding pleasure in the fact that I am home again. You’re so selfish—all you think about is yourself. You are so consumed with your own pleasure that you come leaping into my arms with glee. It’s all about you, isn’t it?”
You know I would not respond like that. I was honored by her delight in me. By leaping into my arms, she told me that I was more important to her than anything.
When you come to your heavenly Father in this way, He is honored. When you leap into his arms, when His embrace is the only embrace that matters, He is honored. Pleasures forevermore are found in Him.