The pleasures of God

I have been thinking about the pleasures of God.

It’s important to me because the pleasures of the world often trump everything else in my mind.

My thoughts came to a head this morning when I read this advice of Paul’s to his young friend Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:22:

“Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”

Paul draws a contrast between the evil desires of youth and the necessity of seeking God’s ways.  The “evil desires of youth” are not something that can be thrust aside easily.  I have to flee them.  And to find the pleasures of God, I have to pursue them.

Fleeing and pursuing are not usually my bag. I prefer to hang back, contemplate and hope that something magical will happen.

The issue, of course, is that the “evil desires of youth” are familiar to me – and concrete.  The pleasures of God are different.  As Paul speaks of them in this comment to Timothy, they are really fruit of the Holy Spirit working in me.

I have known the pleasures of God in my life.  There have been times of joy, peace, and the awareness of God’s love.  I long for more of these experiences.

But Paul is essentially telling me that the pleasures of God cannot co-exist in me with the “evil desires of youth”.  When I am indulging these desires, I am unable to enjoy the pleasures of God.

So, clearly, I have to make a choice.  I have to decide that I want the pleasures of God more than the pleasures of the world.

This requires faith.  It means I have to believe God really means it when he says he is with me, he loves me, he takes delight in me, and he rejoices over me with singing (Zephaniah 3:17).  I have to believe that God wants to fill me with his joy and peace which are beyond understanding.

And then I have to act on my faith.  I have to flee the darkness and open myself to God’s light – his joy, peace and love.

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