How many of you enjoy pleasure? It's a wonderful thing, isn't it? Surprisingly, very few of you seem to agree. But did you know that pleasure is a gift from God? The worldly pleasures that we often indulge in are nothing but a cheap imitation of the pleasure that God wants to offer us.
April 24, 2023
How many of you enjoy pleasure? It’s a wonderful thing, isn’t it? Surprisingly, very few of you seem to agree. But did you know that pleasure is a gift from God? The worldly pleasures that we often indulge in are nothing but a cheap imitation of the pleasure that God wants to offer us. He wants us to experience pure, unadulterated pleasure. It is our inability to tap into God’s pleasure that often leads people down the road of addiction, whether it’s alcohol, smoking, substance abuse, or relational abuse. Today’s sermon is titled “Living in God’s Pleasure.” Because that’s exactly what we’re meant to do. So let me ask you, do you like pleasure? Of course, you do! And that’s precisely the point. When we come to church, we should be able to revel in the pleasure that God intends for us to experience.
It’s understandable that only a few of you raised your hands when asked about pleasure. Sadly, pleasure often has a negative connotation associated with it. This is not your fault, but rather a result of how pleasure is portrayed in the world. People often pursue selfish pleasures, which ultimately leave them unsatisfied. Have you ever noticed how watching a movie for four hours might provide a momentary escape, but it doesn’t bring lasting satisfaction? The truth is, nothing in the world can ever truly satisfy us except for God. It is God’s heart and desire for you to experience His pleasure, which is pure and fulfilling. God is the most fun person in the cosmos and the epitome of joy and pleasure. Don’t mistake your pastor’s seriousness for God’s character. He loves to have fun, joke, and play pranks. So let’s embrace living in God’s pleasure and experience the true joy that comes from Him.
God desires for you to live a life filled with pleasure, rather than one consumed by seriousness. Spirituality is often viewed as a solemn pursuit, but this is not necessarily the case. Imagine two pictures of a church: one in which the congregation is laughing and enjoying themselves, and another in which they are sad and crying. We tend to view the latter as more spiritual, but this is a mistaken assumption. God is the source of pleasure, and He delights in seeing His people experience joy and happiness. In fact, the Bible tells us that God laughs and takes pleasure in His people (Psalm 2:4). So let us embrace the joy that comes from our relationship with God. As we do, we will discover that He loves us and desires to bless us with His abundant goodness.
Genesis 2:15 – The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.
When God created Adam, He placed him in the garden of Eden and instructed him to tend to it. The word “Eden” means “pleasure,” so God created a garden of delight for Adam to enjoy. This is a beautiful reminder that God desires for us to experience pleasure and joy in our lives. Let us take delight in the good gifts that He has given us and give thanks for His abundant provision.
God is a God of extravagance, and He does not simply provide us with a room of pleasure. Instead, He places us in a garden of pleasures, where the options and possibilities are limitless. This is a testament to His abundant love and generosity.
As we look at Genesis 2:15, we see that God created man and placed him in the garden of Eden. The name “Eden” means “pleasure,” so God created a place of abundant delight for Adam to enjoy. But with this gift of pleasure came a responsibility. God instructed Adam to work the garden and keep it.
Do you know why you work? Work is not a curse. God gave Adam work before the fall of man, so work is a blessing. Do you believe work is a blessing? If so, it’s important to understand why you work. You work to sustain the garden of pleasure where God has placed you. It is your responsibility to work and keep the garden, and not someone else’s. You cannot outsource this responsibility to your pastor. If you’re feeling unhappy or lacking joy, it’s important to remember that God created you and put you in the garden of pleasure to work and keep it for yourself.
It is your responsibility to stay in that atmosphere of pleasure that God created for you in the garden of Eden. Your purpose is to take care of the plants, trees, and everything that is growing in the garden. This is a paradigm shift, so listen carefully. Growth does not happen just because you work, but rather, you work because growth happens. God designed the perfect garden for man, which he pulled out from heaven. The garden of Eden represents the reality of heaven on earth.
God instructed Adam to work and keep the garden because things grow on the earth, and it’s Adam’s responsibility to ensure that they grow in a particular order. Your job is not to work for growth but to work to maintain the growth in a particular order. Everything that God has placed in your life will grow automatically, but it’s your responsibility to make sure that they grow in the right order.
When things don’t grow in a particular order, the same growth can become chaos in the end. Consider making rice as an example. If you change the proportion and use one teaspoon of rice and two glasses of salt, it no longer becomes rice but rather salt with rice. The same applies to the garden of pleasure. What makes it the garden of pleasure is the proportion in which God has designed it. As such, it’s your responsibility to work to maintain that proportion and keep the garden as God intended it to be.
When I go for a haircut, I tell my barber to trim off the sides as much as possible and leave something in the middle. It works for me, but it might not work for you. However, the reason why I do this every two weeks is that things are always growing. If I don’t tend to it regularly, it’ll grow into chaos. What you need is not just growth, but ordered growth. Your purpose in life is to keep the pleasure that God has given you in the atmosphere of pleasure so that everything grows in the right proportion and order.
The chaos in the world stems from the fact that many people prioritize making money over developing their spiritual relationship with God, which is the most important thing. To explain this, growth or prosperity in life, as mentioned in the Bible, does not solely refer to financial wealth. Rather, it refers to doing well in all aspects of life. Spiritual prosperity, which entails having an intimate relationship with God, is the first and most crucial aspect of prosperity. The second aspect is emotional prosperity, which involves finding joy and peace within oneself. The third aspect is physical health, while the fourth is relational prosperity, which refers to the quality of one’s relationships with others. Financial prosperity is the final aspect of prosperity. The issue arises when financial prosperity becomes the sole focus without prioritizing spiritual prosperity, resulting in monetary wealth but spiritual poverty.
It is essential that spiritual prosperity takes precedence and becomes the primary focus. When spiritual prosperity is the center of your life, it has a positive influence on all other aspects of your life. You experience inner peace and joy, your body is healthy, and your relationships with others flourish. Only then, when all these other areas are thriving, can you consider yourself truly wealthy and prosperous. Unfortunately, many individuals in the world have an abundance of money but are still poor in other areas of their life. This is because they have neglected to tend to the garden that God has given them, which is their responsibility. It is crucial to maintain the right balance and proportion in life by prioritizing spiritual prosperity above all else.
Neglecting this responsibility can lead to chaos in our lives, and we cannot solely rely on prayer and asking for deliverance when this happens. It is important to understand that we have received everything we need for a life of godliness in Christ Jesus, but it is up to us to tend to it and keep it. As Paul said in Philippians 2, we must work out our salvation.
We work out our salvation that we have received in the Holy Spirit. Our responsibility is to maintain order and ensure that our priorities are aligned with God’s will. Raising a child is a perfect example of this. When raising a baby, it is vital to keep things in order, ensuring that the baby receives proper nourishment and care. Any disturbance in this order can cause chaos and disrupt the entire system. Similarly, in our spiritual lives, we must maintain order and ensure that our relationship with God is the top priority.
This is a challenging sermon that encourages us to reflect on our lives and evaluate whether our priorities are aligned with God’s will. We cannot expect God to set order in our lives if we are not willing to set our lives in order. It is unfortunate that many in the body of Christ lack spiritual discipline, especially when it comes to spending time with God. While we may have valid reasons for our busyness, we must prioritize our relationship with God above all else. It is a matter of spiritual prosperity, which is the most important thing. We all eat every day, which shows that we make time for what is important to us. Similarly, we must make time for God if we desire spiritual growth and prosperity.
Do you eat food? Food is what gives strength to your body. Word is what give strength to your spirit. The reason why we need spiritual discipline is that our bodies are designed to follow a particular set of tasks every day. You might think you’re not a very disciplined person, but not having discipline is also a form of discipline. Either you can take control of how your body needs to function or let someone else control it.
The body is a machine. Just like a phone, the body is designed to perform specific functions. Someone created and programmed the phone to perform a variety of tasks such as taking pictures and making calls. If the phone were unable to make calls, it would be useless and thrown away. Similarly, the human body is designed and programmed to perform the intended functions.
If you don’t intentionally discipline your body, your body will become the master, and you may find yourself feeling emotions without understanding why. For instance, consider the following scenario: every Monday morning, you leave your house and drive to your office. This routine continues, and at 9 o’clock, you encounter a particular road with heavy traffic. You get stuck in traffic for 20 minutes, which causes you to feel agitated and frustrated.
You may feel angry, frustrated, and agitated, and want to call out the government and blame everyone for the situation. This can go on for months, but one day your boss tells you that you don’t have to come to the office. The next day, even though you’re at home you still feel upset and angry. This is because your body has become conditioned to react in a certain way at a certain time of the day. Remember that your body is a machine that follows its master, and you are the master. Don’t let your body control you; instead, make intentional choices to be in charge of it.
Having a spiritual discipline in your life can help you stay connected to the garden of God’s pleasure, where you were recreated. Take responsibility for keeping every proportion of that pleasure in order. Your heart is your responsibility, and by being intentional, you can master your body and avoid letting it become your master.
1. Talk to Jesus daily.
Your heart is like a garden, and everything you hear is like a seed in that garden. What you sow is what you’ll reap. If you listen to anger, frustration, negativity, poverty, and other negative talk, that is what you’ll reap. It’s important to intentionally be on top of things by being careful of what you hear. This is something Jesus emphasized repeatedly when he said, “Be careful how you hear.” The way you hear something matters. You can hear God’s word with disinterest, or you can hear it with eagerness and enthusiasm. When you are in control of what you hear and how you hear it, you intentionally sow good seeds in your heart.
Proverbs 4:23 – Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.
If you have good things sowed in your heart, it becomes like a fountain of life, giving no place for negativity to come in. The verse also emphasizes the importance of being attentive and listening diligently to what we hear. We need to be mindful of what we are listening to and what we are entertaining. While there is no problem with watching movies, we need to be careful as we can subconsciously receive things that we are not supposed to.
For unmarried people, The easiest way to fall in love with someone is talking to them when you’re just about to go to sleep. When you’re about to sleep, Your conscious mind is drowsy, and there’s no guard on your subconscious mind. This vulnerability can cause you to entertain things that you may not usually entertain. Therefore, it is crucial to be mindful of whom we talk to before sleeping or waking up in the morning when we’re drowsy.
That’s why the Bible talks so much about Praying to God just before you sleep and right in the morning. He is your father who will never sow seeds into your hearts that will harm you. So instead of talking to that girl, maybe talk to Jesus. He’ll tell you the best things for your life, and it has no terms and conditions. The Bible says, The blessing of the Lord adds no sorrow.
I understand that young people often talk just because they need someone to talk to. I’ve been there myself, and I can empathize with you. However, I want to warn you that this can be very dangerous. Thirty years from now, you might look back and regret some of the things you said. That’s why it’s important to develop spiritual discipline in your life. Before you go to bed, think about who you’re spending your time with and what you’re exposing yourself to. Are you watching scary movies and then wondering why you have nightmares? If you need someone to talk to, consider reaching out to a trusted pastor or mentor. But be careful about who you allow to influence your thoughts and emotions.
To ensure a good night’s sleep and positive dreams from God, it’s important to focus on God’s word before bed. When you wake up in the morning, take a moment to notice the first thing you see – usually, it’s the ceiling. Use this as an opportunity to express gratitude to Jesus for a restful night’s sleep. Unfortunately, many people make the mistake of reaching for their phones first thing in the morning, which can lead to unnecessary stress before the day even begins. To avoid this, prioritize your spiritual health and start each day with a positive mindset and focus on God’s word. If you do this, you’ll set yourself up for a successful day ahead.
Before you even get out of bed, take a moment to acknowledge and praise Jesus. It only takes five seconds to express gratitude for the day ahead and to acknowledge that this is the day that the Lord has made. Don’t let stress and life’s issues overshadow your day. It’s often the simple things that can make a big difference, but we often neglect them. We tend to prioritize complex tasks over simple ones, but in doing so, we miss out on the importance of the basics. Remember, it’s the simple things that can have a profound impact on our lives.
Make it a habit to talk to Jesus before you sleep and praise Him when you wake up. Spend some time reading and meditating on His word. Even if you only have 10-15 minutes, make it a priority to listen to what the Father has to say to you. No one, not even a significant other, can love you or speak to you as lovingly as your Heavenly Father can. His words are the best, and He has the best things to tell you. The Bible says that His mercies are new every morning, and while you’re sleeping, God is thinking of new ways to shower His mercies upon you. Unlike humans, God is intentional and doesn’t sleep or slumber. He has good things to tell you and wants to communicate with you.
2. Be a blessing to someone daily.
Take time in the morning to get your day started right by setting your priorities. I want to share my testimony with you – when I prioritize my relationship with God, I find that every other aspect of my life becomes more balanced. Conversely, when I neglect my spiritual life and focus only on work or other activities, everything else seems to suffer. That’s why it’s important to cultivate daily spiritual discipline, not just on weekends. Before going to bed, take some time to talk to Jesus, and when you wake up, start your day with prayer and spend some time reading the Bible. If you need to be in the office at 8:00 am, then wake up at 5:30 am and plan your day around your spiritual discipline, rather than the other way around. By prioritizing your spiritual life, you will find greater fulfillment and balance in all areas of your life.
If you’re rushing to be at work by 8:00 am, you may be sacrificing the joy and peace that the Lord has given you. Be intentional about starting your day off right, and don’t let the devil snatch away your blessings. One way to do this is by becoming a blessing for someone every day. With modern technology, it’s easy to connect with people from all over the world, so take advantage of it. Before calling or texting someone, ask the Lord for an encouraging word to share. By intentionally reaching out and being a blessing to someone, you’ll find that your own joy and peace are multiplied.
3. Remain accountable to someone daily.
Another important practice is to talk to someone daily whom you can be accountable to. This could be your spouse, pastor, or an elder in your community. It’s important to have enough space in your life for someone who can ask how you’re doing and what’s going on in your heart.
4. Listen to a sermon and read the Bible daily.
The next practice is to listen to a sermon. I’ve noticed that people tend to either listen to sermons or read the Bible, but not both. It’s like replacing water with food or vice versa – you need both to stay healthy. Similarly, while it’s important to hear from God through your personal relationship with reading the Bible and prayer, it’s equally important to hear from God through a person.
We’re living in an age where individual Christianity has subtly crept into the church. Many people have the mindset of “me and Jesus” and believe they can do it alone. However, the Bible teaches that we are built together as a community of believers. While it’s important to exercise your spiritual senses to hear from God personally, it’s also essential to listen to and learn from the man and woman of God daily. Otherwise, why bother coming to church at all? We come together because we are built together as a community of believers, not to worship God in isolation.
Do you have time in your day when you’re in transit, such as on the metro or driving in your car? Many people spend a significant amount of time in transit each day, but how do you use that time? Instead of simply listening to music or other forms of entertainment, consider using that time to listen to a sermon. Even just 15 or 20 minutes a day can make a big difference in your spiritual growth. Don’t waste the opportunity to build your life by listening to something that won’t benefit you. Be intentional and make the most of your time by listening to sermons that will help you grow closer to God.
I have nothing against listening to music, but it’s important to be intentional about how you spend your time. For example, if you find yourself stuck in traffic or with some free time, consider using that time to do something that will build your life, such as listening to a sermon or reading your Bible. It’s essential to prioritize your daily activities and avoid engaging in gossip or other negative behaviors. Make it a habit to spend time in God’s word every day, starting with 20-25 minutes and gradually increasing the time. Remember to be intentional and purposeful in how you live your life.
5. Say no to things that you’re not supposed to do
It’s crucial to practice saying no to things that are not aligned with your goals and values on a daily basis. Often, we make commitments that we shouldn’t, like agreeing to attend events or meetings that will not serve our best interests. It’s important to learn how to say no early on in life. If you say yes to everything and everyone, your yes will lose its value, and you’ll find yourself overwhelmed and burnt out. Therefore, be selective in what you say yes to and to whom you say yes. Take a moment to evaluate each request carefully because your time is invaluable, and it’s God’s gift to you. Remember that by saying no to the wrong things, you’re creating space for the right things in your life.
It’s common to say yes out of fear of people, but that’s not what God wants us to do. Saying no to things that don’t align with our purpose and values can actually be a blessing. By doing so, we free up time for the things that matter most. Before committing to anything, it’s important to seek guidance from the Lord to be a good steward of our time and resources. Remember, God has a plan and a purpose for our lives.
So the five things we learnt that we should do daily are :
Talk to Jesus daily.
Be a blessing to someone daily.
Remain accountable to someone daily.
Listen to a sermon and read the Bible daily.
Say no to things that you’re not supposed to do, and say yes only to the things that God has ordained for you daily.
Say no to things that you need to decline. It’s not God’s will for you to live a hectic life. Pleasure stems from two vital aspects of God’s kingdom: peace and joy. Joy is a feeling of happiness and contentment. Do you know what joy truly means?”
It is often described as an inexplicable feeling that cannot be understood by the logical mind. Jesus says, ‘my joy, I give to you.’ So, you can find joy in the words of Jesus. As for peace, the world’s definition of peace is being calm, but the peace of God is different. It’s like a warrior who will do anything to protect the peace in the atmosphere. To have peace is to be like a warrior.
Jesus walking through the storm on water is a symbol of peace. Having peace does not mean that you will have no storms in life. Rather, it means that you will be storm-proof and stand tall regardless of what comes against you. Pleasure comes from peace and joy, and it is your responsibility to stay in the kingdom’s peace and joy. Peace fights against anything that seeks to steal the pleasure in your life, while joy endures that pleasure and keeps endurance. Peace will fight against demonic oppression, and it will help you sustain yourself in the Word during difficult times.
Joy is what sustains us in the Word, as James says in chapter one, ‘count it all joy.’ Just like counting money, we should count our sufferings as joy because it gives us endurance. Peace fights against anything that seeks to steal our joy and pleasure. Joy and peace make up the atmosphere of pleasure. Think of a person in prison, shackled and eating bad food, yet still finding joy and peace to write a letter to others. This is the power of joy and peace.
Rejoice in the Lord always, as Paul says in Philippians. He experienced a reality in Christ that surpassed his dire circumstances, allowing him to say ‘rejoice’ even in suffering. The joy of the Lord cannot be stolen by anyone or anything, and it exists despite our circumstances. In Acts 16, Paul and Silas were beaten and imprisoned for sharing the gospel. Despite their physical pain and imprisonment, they prayed and sang hymns at midnight. This shows the power of joy in the midst of suffering.