Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:21)
When you look back over your life, consider just how many people taught you in a variety of different ways to cause you to arrive at your current station in life. From parents and pastors, teachers and trusted friends, coaches and colleagues, it’s likely that many people have played a role in growing you into the person you are today. But when was the last time you considered how your pleasures have been preaching to you and teaching you?
Here is a profound statement I came across in John Piper’s book, The Pleasures of God:
The soul is measured by its flights,
Some low and others high,
The heart is known by its delights,
And pleasures never lie.
Piper was quoting Henry Scougal, a professor of divinity in 17th-century Scotland, who penned that sentence in a letter to a friend. Scougal’s statement was so profound that it began to be passed around and was finally published in 1677 as part of The Life of God in the Soul of Man. Scougal died of tuberculosis before he could celebrate his 28th birthday.
So if it is true that pleasures never lie (and it most certainly is), what have your pleasures been teaching you lately? Remember, treasure is pleasure, and where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Let me clarify what the phrase “Pleasures never lie” is not saying; it is not implying that pleasures cannot be deceitful or sinful. We read that Moses “chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin” (Hebrews 11:25 ESV); Hebrews 3:13 warns not to become “hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” Clearly, our pleasures can be both deceitful and sinful if we allow them to be!
To say that pleasures never lie is to say our pleasures will always shine the searchlight of truth on what we treasure; and our treasures unfailingly reveal what our heart beats for. Does this mean that pleasure is something that the Christian should avoid? Are we to be stern, joyless law-keepers? Heaven forbid it! Scripture commands us to “Be joyful always” (1 Thessalonians 5:16). One of God’s great gifts to us is the gift of pleasure. As image-bearers of God, we are to be like Him, filled with unimaginable joy and unspeakable pleasure, all of it rooted in our right relationship with Him.
When God is our ultimate pleasure, we have fixed our hearts on the true Treasure that we were created for. This, of course, is not the gift of pleasure, but rather, the Giver of every good and perfect gift (James 1:17), the One True Treasure, who loves us unconditionally, and who, when we fail Him, forgives us completely.
So . . . what have your pleasures been preaching to you lately?
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!