A well-known tactic of advertisers is to mate their product with a pleasurable action or outcome. When pleasure is wrapped in the banners of family and long life, the combination is almost irresistible. This cigarette advertisement from 1950 is testimony to this, replete with the implicit message that smoking may even help this young girl achieve her goal of living to be a hundred years old! Truth in advertising indeed!
Pleasure can be many things. It may be a noble cause like sacrificial caring for friends and family. It may be carnal such as lusting after wealth or fame. For years, I pursued activities that gave me pleasure with the premise that if it did not hurt anyone else, it was permissible, even encouraged. Yet, it was hurting me and I refused to acknowledge it. When I became a Christian, I learned the reason and was forced to confront my ignorance. When I seek pleasure outside of God’s obedience and designs, I transgress His sovereign will over me.
And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
Genesis 2:16-17 (ESV)
Eden is translated as pleasure. In the middle of God’s perfect garden, a test of obedience was placed. God created us to find obedience in His pleasure. He desires for us to delight in Him, to find pleasure by drawing closer to Him. When we do, we will not be distracted by the world and its temptations. Like the seductive advertisement of the young girl and physician, God enables us to see beyond the beguiling associations of sinister and harmful activities that are cloaked under pleasurable metaphors and images.
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.