In your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Psalm 16:11 (NKJV)
Fullness of Joy – The Sin Series – Part 6
You know what isn’t a sin?
Raise your hand if you just squirmed uncomfortably in your seat. For some reason, and especially in faith communities, pleasure has been turned into a dirty word. Pleasurable things are almost akin to sinful things. Growing up, I remember thinking that God would ask me to do hard things, so I questioned if pleasurable things were even from God.
And let’s mention the elephant in the room: Sex.
Sexual pleasure is not a sin, and it doesn’t lead to sin either. We don’t talk about it anywhere near enough – with our friends or faith communities – to start de-mystifying it. You should be talking about sex with your friends, kids, partner… it shouldn’t be a taboo topic. I think one of the reasons there is so much pain around it is because we don’t talk about it.
We keep it tucked away in the dark with all the other shameful things. We don’t “air out the laundry,” or talk about problems around it, expectations, desires… It seems that one of the most intimate things we can do with another human being is too shameful to talk about at the dinner table.
Dirty jokes, lewd comments, and gender stereotype assumptions don’t cut it either. Obviously, this is much a bigger conversation than I can fit into this series…
Pleasure is a gift, not a sin. Food, travel, sex, a great movie, an enthralling book, beautiful seaside walks, a good massage… all gifts that we should feel zero shame about enjoying.
Psalm 23:3 says, “He opens before me pathways to God’s pleasure, and leads me along in his footsteps of righteousness so that I can bring honor to his name.” (TPT).
“In your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Ps 16:11 (NKJV).
“For the Lord takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the humble with salvation.” Ps 149:4 (NKJV).
God is a pleasure seeker.
‘Pleasure' literally means “highest delight.” Pure bliss. There are things that God finds blissful, and things that he doesn’t. There are things that bring him joy, and things that don’t. He takes no pleasure in pride, but he delights when we respond to his love, when we lean into wisdom, when we pray (stay awake, aware, and alive to Spirit)…
God seeks pleasure, delight, bliss – connection, wholehearted relationship – and he finds it in our responsive hearts.
Responsive, not perfected.
God finds his bliss in union with humanity. And he delights in sharing with us the wonders and mysterious goodness of his ways and nature. It’s sacred.
It’s no wonder that we are created to do the same. Pleasure is connective, invigorating, healing, and sacred. In all its forms. Don’t abuse it – that’s when pleasure turns to pain. But don’t take it for granted either, or miss out on the goodness within it because your ashamed of how it makes you feel. Enjoy the gift.
Written by Liz Milani
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