No one puts it as bluntly as Blaise Pascal in his Pensées:
All men seek happiness. This is without exception. Whatever different means they employ, they all tend to this end. The cause of some going to war, and of others avoiding it, is the same desire in both, attended with different views. The will never takes the least step but to this object. This is the motive of every action of every man, even of those who hang themselves.
There you are. Warrior, pacifist, suicide, sluggard, workaholic; if you’re a human, you’re a hedonist. You can try to deny it, but you can’t change it.
If you want to try your hand at stoicism, forget the Bible. It has little for you. Scripture does not support the idea that our motives are more pure the less we are pursuing our own interested happiness. Nope. In fact, according to the Bible, unless we are pursuing our happiness we cannot even come to God: “for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).
What Pleasure Measures
God blatantly entices us to seek happiness, joy, pleasure — whatever you want to call it — in him with verses like this: “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4), and “in your presence is fullness of joy, and at your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm [16:11]). We’re supposed to wantpleasure.
Why does God want us to want pleasure? Because it is a crucial indicator. Pleasure is the meter in your heart that measures how valuable, how precious someone or something is to you. Pleasure is the measure of your treasure.
Your treasure is what you love. Your greatest treasure is what you love the most. “For where your treasure is, there your heart [your love] will be also” (Matthew [6:21]). You glorify your treasure by the fact that it’s the object of your pleasure.
Written by Jon Bloom
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