Pleasure seekers, pain reapers

by | Oct 6, 2022 | Straight & Narrow | 0 comments

It starts so innocently. I slide into a booth at Los Corrales. The waiter flashes a smile and places a warm basket of golden chips on the table, along with a ceramic dipping bowl filled with gorgeous red salsa—my favorite salsa of all salsas.

Dip the chip. Crunch. YUM.

Repeat. MMMM!

Repeat more. This is so satisfying.

Keep repeating. I’m full, but it’s okay.

Mindlessly repeat. I’m full, and it’s NOT okay.

My tummy hates me. OUCH!

What started out as a pleasurable experience turned into a painful one.

Why? Why can’t I just keep eating all the chips and salsa I want? It’s a wonderful blessin’ after all. I’m just doing what makes me happy. Doesn’t God want me to be HAPPY?

I hope that by now you’re smirking at me. I also hope that I’m not the only one who has eaten themselves senseless by way of chips and salsa.

You probably have your own version of this…you take pleasure in something, but pretty soon you need a higher “dose” to get the same “happy feeling.” Then, you develop a love-hate relationship with the thing, and after a struggle, the thing that once brought you pleasure now brings only pain. 

The Learned Ones have done all kinds of science regarding this phenomenon. We experience it with our phones. With buying stuff. With various substances. You name it.

But before we knew anything about neural pathways or dopamine or addiction, we knew this truth: Proverbs 25:16 says, “Hast thou found honey? eat so much as is sufficient for thee, lest thou be filled therewith, and vomit it.

There’s nothing wrong with taking pleasure in life. God wants us to take pleasure in life, especially the sweet, honeylike things that He created. But, there are a few simple rules to pleasure-seeking. 

(If you don’t like the word “rules” then call them “guardrails,” you know, the strong metal things that keep your car from skidding off an icy road and plunging you headfirst to your doom.)

What are the rules to pleasure-seeking?

1. Seek the right things…

2. …in the right proportions.

Two simple rules. Just two! And, personally, I struggle with both.

Seek the right things

Did you read Sister Mandy’s article earlier this week about delighting in the “meat” of God’s word? THAT’S the stuff—the good, pure, true stuff of God—that I should be seeking. Not what the world offers. The Tantazzle Temptation Buffet is open 24/7, and it’s super-popular, but all the regulars give it zero out of five stars, even though they can’t stop eating there. (And, boy, do they wish they could!) 

  • “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” (1 John 2:16) 
  • “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.” (Romans 13:14)

In the right proportions

This is temperance (one of the fruits of the Spirit). 2 Timothy 3:4 urges me not to be a lover of pleasure MORE than a lover of God. God first. Pleasure in proportion. Temperance is wanting the right things in the right proportions. Hang on, one more time. Temperance is WANTING the right things in the right proportions. It’s eating the honey till I’m satisfied. Not till I vomit.

  • I would that ye would be diligent and temperate in all things. See that ye are not lifted up unto pride; yea, see that ye do not boast in your own wisdom, nor of your much strength. Use boldness, but not overbearance; and also see that ye bridle all your passions, that ye may be filled with love; see that ye refrain from idleness. (Alma 38:10-12)

Don’t you find it interesting that the human body has a built-in correction system for overconsumption of pleasure? Over time, our bodies turn that pleasure—that thing we’re consuming in inordinate amounts—into pain. Did God, in His love for us, hardwire this truth into our very flesh? So that our very flesh testifies to the truth of His word?

Now, if there’s an area of your life that has zoomed way, way outside temperance, then it’s quite possible that you are very near to the heart of God, for He welcomes all those who are suffering pain, all those who are weak and heavy laden. There is hope in Him!

  • “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15)
  • “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7)
  • “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” (Philippians 4:13)

This article has undergone ministry review and approval.

Author

  • Sister Michelle Watson

    Sister Michelle Watson lives in the remote White Mountains of Arizona with husband, Brother Michael, and two miracle-born boys.

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