“And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.” (Matthew 22:37–38).
God is the only being worthy of worship. In fact, it is only right for God to seek glory for Himself. It is wrong for humanity to seek glory, but it is only right for God to receive it. You could say it is the love of God for humanity that would seek glory from man. But why is this?
The answer lies in design. My vacuum cleaner is designed for a specific purpose. There are many things it cannot or should not do. But it does have a purpose given to it by the designers. God has designed humankind. We are made for a purpose. We are made to enjoy God. When we worship elsewhere, when we pursue that which is less than God, we aren’t living up to our design. This leads to depression, dissatisfaction, and pain.
The Lie: The more I pursue pleasure, the happier I will be.
This lie is all around us. Take an hour and listen to the most popular songs of the moment; you’ll discover a deep passion for pleasure, experience. The belief is simple: if I get more pleasure in my life, I will be more satisfied.
On this point, Solomon serves as an excellent case study. Solomon had limitless resources, total opportunity to run towards pleasure. In fact, in Ecclesiastes, this is precisely what he set out to pursue. He wrote, “I said in my heart, ‘Come now, I will test you with pleasure; enjoy yourself” (Ecclesiastes 2:1).
What follows is a comprehensive list of every form of pleasure imaginable. He tried entertainment. He experimented with substances. He distracted himself with frivolity. He built great things. He occupied himself with ease. He lived in prosperity. He took in the arts. He lived out sexual fantasies. He gained the highest status among men. He gave in to every desire.
All this left Solomon empty. “Then I considered all that my hands had done…all was vanity and striving after wind” (Ecclesiastes 2:11). His grand experiment failed. His hypothesis — the more I pursue pleasure, the happier I will be — had failed.
We must believe the Word of God if we are going to escape this particular pitfall. Pleasure looks pleasurable, because, for a moment, it is. But it is fading, unable to handle the pressure of our worship.
We must believe sin leads to death (Romans 6:23). As long as we think the forbidden leads to life, we will be deceived like Eve before us.
We must believe pleasure is not the correct definition of the blessed life (Psalm 1). The blessed man is the man who is in step with God, enjoying His word.
We must believe Solomon as he declared the vanity of this pursuit (Ecclesiastes). As we interact with Scripture, we must receive the truth that pleasure is not the goal.
Look to the cross of Christ. See the joy set before Him. He endured the cross for it. His life is the richest life. Only he can handle our worship, and only he deserves it. Let us give it to him.