I was looking at some “before and after pictures” of meth addicts today. It is haunting and sad. I can only think of Romans 1:18-32. When we deny God and look for satisfaction in other things we become less human. We reflect His image less and less. Sin is counterintuitive. It can look so good, so alluring “but in the end it is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword” (Prov. 5:4).
“Far from the belief that Christians have to give up everything they enjoy to do dreary things, the truth is that your pleasure mechanism is rearranged. You are freed to feel all sorts of exquisite joys you never imagined. It takes less and less effort. In the stained pleasure cycle, the addictive cycle, it takes more and more to push the lever of joy. Stained pleasures have this corroding effect: They always up the ante” (David Powlison, Breaking the Addictive Cycle, 17).
Jesus never ever sinned. He never indulged in so much of what Hollywood and this world sells as pleasure. And yet, Jesus had more joy than anyone who ever walked the face of this earth. Jesus was no Stoic either. He felt pain. Great pain. Beyond what I can comprehend. Yet He had a constant unceasing joy. In fact, His joy was so great that it preserved Him through His agony on the cross (Heb. 12:2).
It should be said as well that Jesus was not a killjoy. He turned water into wine. Jesus was not afraid of appropriately celebrating with friends and family. Jesus knew joy. Even lesser joys. Jesus took joy in beautiful sunsets, friendships, and food. But His all persevering joy was taken in His relationship with God His Father. All else could be stripped away but with that remaining He was content.
As Christians, we must not listen to the lies of this world; the lies of Satan. We must not believe that this world offers us better pleasure, better joy. It is simply not true.
Hear, pray, and believe God’s Words. In God’s presence there is fullness of joy; at His right hand are pleasures forevermore (Ps. 16:11).
“Our chief enemy is the lie that says sin will make our future happier. Our chief weapon is the Truth that says God will make our future happier… The fire of lust’s pleasures must be fought with the fire of God’s pleasures… We must fight it with a massive promise of superior happiness. We must swallow up the little flicker of lust’s pleasure in the conflagration of holy satisfaction” (John Piper, Future Grace, 336).
So, LORD, “Satisfy us [at all times] with your steadfast love” (Ps. 90:14).