“I hold the heady doctrine that no pleasures are so frequent or intense as those of the grateful, devoted, single-minded, whole-hearted, self-denying Christian. I maintain that the delights of work and leisure, of friendship and family, of eating and mating, of arts and crafts, of playing and watching games, of finding out and making things, of helping other people, and all the other noble pleasures that life affords, are doubled for the Christian; for, as the cheerful old Puritans used to say (no, sir, that is not a misprint, nor a Freudian lapse; I mean Puritans—the real, historical Puritans, as distinct from the smug sourpusses of the last-century Anglo-American imagination), the Christian tastes God in all his or her pleasures and this increases them, whereas for other people pleasure brings with it a sense of hollowness which reduces it.”—J.I. Packer, God Has Spoken
So I’ve been reading a new book — Path of Life by Richard R. Howe — and doing some thinking about the relationship between sensory pleasure and outright joy. Howe suggests that for some Believers there is a huge disconnect between sensory pleasures and the joy of the Lord.
“Too many Christians uncritically accept the idea that there is a gaping chasm between joy, which is spiritual, and sensual pleasures, which are not. In their view, the oil of spiritual joy can never be mixed with the water of sensual delight. But this is not the patten for joy in the Bible,” Howe says.
How about it? Do you have a difficult time marrying the notion of sensual pleasures with the more spiritual notion of joy?
When was the last time you experienced real joy? What keeps you from experiencing it more often?