God created pleasure
“And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”Genesis 2:9 ESV.
God created pleasure. He made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food, for Adam and Eve’s fleshly bodies. He wanted them to enjoy where they lived through their bodies, sight and all. He made them for one another to build a life together and with God.
They had more than enough and they were enough. God created this garden for them to thrive in and enjoy their life. They were alive in God and had all that they needed.
It is in our human nature to have attraction. We like and draw near to beauty, pleasant flavors and scents, and sights. God placed the desire for pleasure within us, along with a sense of awe for the things of life.
But surely, what God created for good became distorted. The serpent slithered in and infected the truth with his lies. In the very next chapter, in Genesis 3, he challenged God’s command about not eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, positioned Eve against God, and twisted God’s original creation with his own problem – pride.
The Enemy Distorted Pleasure
“But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”Genesis 3:4
He made Eve feel like God withheld something from her. As if there was a secret stash of something He didn’t want her to know about. God gave her everything she needed, including being enough, but the temptation came in a question-form of God’s integrity.
So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.Genesis 3:5-6
The pride of life infected her God-created desire, causing a distorted view of herself, of the world, and of God.
From there on out, we see how the world crumbles again and again, until the Lord brings a flood and saves Noah. We see the pride of life creep in even after God calls Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. There’s this constant battle between the flesh and the spirit, because we want what feels good, to protect ourselves, to not be naked, but the world keeps falling into the serpent’s original trap.
But in 1 John 2:15-16, we read:
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world.”
The enemy corrupted and distorted what God intended for good. He stole the purity of pleasure and infected it with a desire for something that we don’t need. What was pleasant to the sight and good for food turned into lust and gluttony. What was enough materialistically turned into greed and covetousness. What held one’s confidence and security in the Lord turned into the desire to be God, a sense of pride because of lack and distrust.
God Restores Pleasure
But what the enemy meant for evil, God turned it back into good. What He originally created got transformed into something brand new.
The things of this world will pass away, but salvation in Christ will not. God sent his Son to be beaten, crucified, and resurrected so that we may have a new life in Him again, by faith. You become a new creation when you believe in Him and the sacrifice that was made.
We have a new life in Christ! “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)
The only reason this gets confusing is because we try to convince ourselves otherwise. Self gets in the way. Pride gets in the way. The desire to control and have more gets in the way. But when you become infatuated with this truth, with Jesus Christ Himself, your life will change. Your fleshly desire for pleasures will change. YOU will change and reflect Him more and more.
The serpent tried to infect truth with His lies, but the thing is, truth cannot get infected, only one’s perspective of it. The truth about pleasure is that when we indulge in the Lord instead of the things of the Lord, delight ourselves in Him, we become content and satisfied with the things in life. No longer do our circumstances determine or steer our praise, but the posture of our heart and love for the Lord help us overcome anything.
King David helps us understand that the ultimate pleasantry of our sight and taste is in the Lord. Our satisfaction can only take place in the Lord. Turn your eyes to Jesus. Eat your daily bread. Take refuge in the one who loves you, and “taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the one who takes refuge in him!” Psalm 34:8.