“This is the life!” She gleefully declared. She was a tourist relaxing in a casually perched corner hammock overlooking a scenic blue ocean. My wife and I were seated near her awaiting our seafood lunch order. I couldn’t help but considering, “Is this the life?” I don’t know anything about our fellow restaurant patron, but I do know many who have bought into the traps of temporary pleasures with the hope of finding lasting satisfaction.
Let’s be practical. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a nice vacation. I’ve enjoyed traveling the world and experiencing many cultures, foods, and beautiful communities. However, lasting pleasure is not found in a mere sensory experience. We all know this truth, but in practice, we can daily live in contradiction to this professed belief. Cheered on by the marketing machines of our culture, we pursue happiness. Running from one happy weekend to the next, we can desparingly hope for a lasting sense of pleasure. The greatest human happiness, however, can only be found in the two-fold dynamic of discovering Jesus and expressing His love to others.
This past Saturday night, at our Freedom Crusade in Choloma, I made a similar comment. Overwhelmed with joy, I shouted to a friend, “This is what it’s all about!” For over an hour, we cast out demons, witnessed hundreds healed of diseases, and many commit their lives to Jesus. Being a conduit for God’s power brings a sense of purpose that is addictive. I sense the same feeling of sheer delight every time I’m talking with Jesus. When His presence floods my prayer room, I am assured that “this is the life.” Jesus speaks of our “joy being full,” through our love for Him and love for others. His desire, above all others, is for us to live continually in His presence. In His presence is the only place where the “this-is-the-life” feeling can be sustained. (See John 15:7-11, Palms 16:11)
I am reminded of an excerpt from C. S. Lewis’ book, The Screwtape Letters. The book is a fictional correspondence between a senior devil and his young apprentice/ nephew named Wormwood. In directing the younger demon’s tactics. The senior devil, warns him saying,
“Never forget that when we are dealing with any pleasure in its healthy and normal and satisfying form, we are, in a sense, on the Enemy’s (God’s) ground… it is His invention, not ours. He made the pleasures: all our research so far has not enabled us to produce one. All we can do is to encourage the humans to take the pleasures which our Enemy has produced, at times, or in ways, or in degrees, which He has forbidden. Hence we always try to work away from the natural condition of any pleasure to that in which it is least natural, least redolent of its Maker, and least pleasurable. An ever-increasing craving for an ever diminishing pleasure is the formula. It is more certain, and it’s a better style. To get the man’s soul and give him nothing in return— that is what really gladdens Our Father’s (Devil’s) heart.” Lewis, C. S. (2009-05-28). The Screwtape Letters
We were created for an eternal life of pleasure in the presence of Jesus. Our purpose is only fulfilled in response to His love for us. When we intentionally turn our affections toward Him day after day, we can easily find that He is the life we were created to enjoy.