We who preach and write, do so in a manner different from which the Scriptures have been written. We write while we make progress. We learn something new every day. We speak as we still knock for understanding...If anyone criticizes me when I have said what is right, he does me an injustice. But I would be more angry with the one who praises me and takes what I have written for Gospel truth than I would be with the one who criticizes me unfairly. -Augustine

Happily Confined

An old pastor once wrote the following words to a boy he had found on a river bank as a baby and then raised as his son:

“. . . At proper times, you may allow yourself innocent relaxation; only, never permit sensual pleasure to gain a mastery over your heart. He who lets himself be carried away by the pleasures of sense-even though he be not guilty of overt crime, is yet a slave of his pleasures, and therefore a wicked man. An inordinate inclination for sensual gratifications uproots in our heart the feeling for all that is truly great, beautiful, and good, and makes us unfit for the enjoyment of more noble gratifications” (The Little Lamb, p. 66).

These same admonitions were given by Plato, who urged his audiences to seek that which is good, and true, and beautiful. He warned against allowing our “appetitive parts” to gain mastery over us. Both sin and righteousness can be pleasurable, but the pleasures of sin bring slavery while the pleasure of righteousness brings freedom.

God promises that in His presence there is fullness of joy and at His right hand are pleasures forevermore! (Psalm 16:11) I see this truth as one of proximity. The closer you draw to God, the more pleasurable and joy-full are the experiences. The further we drift from the boundaries of His righteousness, the more enslaved we become to the pleasures that numb our senses and rob us of our creativity and productivity.

It is interesting that the word “happy” in the Greek carries the idea of being “happy, blessed, and confined.” Those who are truly happy are those who “confine” themselves within the boundaries of His righteousness.

Published in: on October 13, 2010 at 6:35 am  Leave a Comment  

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