Article by Michael Goforth II:
“If we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak.
We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” —C.S. Lewis
I’ll never forget the first time I read that quote. It completely rocked my world. I was reading, Desiring God, by John Piper and this quote seemed to leap from the page.
For most of my life, I thought of sin as the fun stuff of this world that Christians weren’t allowed to do. I was the ignorant child, and although I tried to obey Scripture, I really wanted to go make mud pies.
Now I see that sin simply cannot compare to the pleasure of knowing God.
Believe it or not, I’m actually at a “holiday at the sea” right now. I’m in Oak Island, North Carolina where my family vacations every year. And let me tell you, this is way better than making mud pies!
You see, we don’t struggle with sin because our desires are too strong, we struggle with sin because our desires are too weak.
We constantly settle for the temporary mud puddle pleasures of sin when Jesus offers us an ocean of everlasting joy and satisfaction.
However, too many Christians have believed the lie that in order to pursue God you have to abandon your pursuit of pleasure.
This idea may sound noble, but it leads to a life completely absent of any real joy.
Dr. Larry Crabb humorously describes the effect this way, “We’re like children who grudgingly eat our spinach of obedience, hoping someday we’ll receive a cookie.”
If this is the first time you’ve heard this, and you’re a discerning Christian, you might be thinking, “This sounds great, but is it Biblical?”
That’s a great question to ask, and since I’m preaching through the Gospel of John right now, I’ll start with some of the invitations of Jesus found there:
“Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” —Jesus (John 4:13-14)
“I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.” —Jesus (John 6:35)
“If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” —Jesus (John 7:37-38)
“I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” —Jesus (John 10:10)
“These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” —Jesus (John 15:11)
Does that sound like the spinach of obedience to you? Jesus is offering satisfaction! He’s offering abundant life! He's offering joy!
And this is not just in John, its all over the Bible! Here are a few more examples:
“Thou wilt shew me the path of life: In thy presence is fulness of joy; At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” Psalm 16:11
“O taste and see that the LORD is good: Blessed is the man that trusteth in him.” Psalm 34:8
“Delight thyself also in the LORD…” Psalm 37:4
“For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, And floods upon the dry ground:” Isaiah 44:3
“And the LORD shall guide thee continually, And satisfy thy soul in drought, And make fat thy bones: And thou shalt be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.” Isaiah 58:11
“But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ.” Philippians 3:7-8
I could share more, but I think you get the point. So where do we go from here?
I think we need to realize that our problem isn’t that we desire pleasure. Our problem is that we go everywhere to satisfy that desire except to God, and that will only lead to despair.
Jesus is the true source of pleasure. He alone can thrill your soul, He alone can satisfy your longings, and He alone can bring joy to your heart.
So stop settling for mud pies in the slum and start enjoying your holiday at the sea. Start pursuing God as the true source of joy, pleasure, and satisfaction.
Because if you’re not desiring God, then your desires aren’t too strong. . . .they’re too weak.