Eyes That See

“I Once Was Blind”

Happiness vs. Satisfaction

Denny Burk recently wrote a blog about this guy who lives in New York City who considers himself to be a “Casanova.”  One of Denny’s readers posted a link to a website that gives the guy’s advice on following in his footsteps.  I read a few of the articles there- enough to find out that the guy divides girls into three categories when he meets them: “yes,” “no,” and “maybe.”  He doesn’t “waste his time” with anything other than girls who immediately fall into the “yes” category.  My assessment of that is that he “picks on” the lowest 1/3 of the girls that he meets and tucks his tail between his legs at the slightest whiff of a challenge.

Anyways, after reading about him I was thinking about an article that I read a few years ago in some magazine.  The article cited a survey that was done by the Kinsey Institute on Sex, which found that the people who are the most satisfied with their sex lives are people in monogomous marriages between one man and one woman- and if I remember correctly it was by a somewhat significant margin.  So, in thinking about our “Casanova” and the Kinsey Institute survey, I believe that we must differentiate between happiness and satisfaction.  The reason I find this necessary is because I think that our “Casanova” would say that he is happy with his sex life.  But I believe that his actions prove that he is not satisfied with it.  My first thought was that if he was satisfied, then he would not have such an unquenced appetite for more.  I then realized that that is not exactly accurate, because it seems incongruous to assert that a satisfying desire quenches an appetite for more. 

Another thought that has been bouncing around in my noggin is this:  I have often both heard and said that no “other” desire- such as sex, alcohol, money, etc.- can satisfy the way that God can satisfy.  My first attempt to defend this assertation has been that with “other” desires, you always want more and more and are never satisfied.  However, I do not like that train of thought because it implies that desire for God does not lead you to want more and more of God and/or that desire for God can be quenced.

One clue to piecing together this puzzle is that happiness and satisfaction can coexist, but do not always.  So, with our “Casanova,” we see happiness without satisfaction.  Whereas, in the desire for God we see both happiness and satisfaction.  So what is the difference between the two?  I believe that it is a very subtle one.  I believe that a satisfying pleasure, such as God, leads to a desire for more of  the pleasure.  Conversely, an unsatisfying pleasure, such as the “others” previously mentioned, leads to a desire for more than  the pleasure. 

Only God and the good and perfect pleasures that He gives, in their pure form and intended use, can truly satisfy in a way in which we want more of  God and His gifts.  Other pleasures, with all of their seeming goodness and all of the happiness that they bring, only temporarily satisfy and lead us to want more than  those pleasures.

However, I believe that all of this leads us to a fine line.  Pleasures do not satisfy the way that God does, but pleasures in and of themselves are not bad.  God gives us pleasures and gave us the ability to enjoy pleasures, so to call pleasures bad is to say that God made us poorly.  The problem is not in the pleasures, the problem is in the distortion and abuse of pleasures.  I think that Christians often fail miserably in the area of pleasures.  For fear of sinning by abusing pleasures, we often, whether explicitly or implicitly, call all pleasures bad. 

I would go as far as to say that all pleasure, when God is given honor and thanks and the pleasure is enjoyed the way He meant for it to be enjoyed, is good and of God.  Sex and sexual pleasures, for example, are gifts from God.  The way that God intends for sex to be used is by one man and one woman within the confines of marriage, and the Kinsey Institute survey supports the belief that the way that God intended sex to be used is the most satisfying way.  However, because it is easy and dangerous and tempting to sin sexually, Christians often fall into the trap of giving any and all sex and sexual desires a negative connotation.  However, if and only if a person honors and thanks God as God and remembers that God is the Giver of all pleasures and that God is better than any pleasure ever could be, and uses sex the way that God intended sex to be used- between one man and one woman within the confines of marriage- can a person be satisfied with their sex life and desire more of sex with his or her spouse instead of more than sex with his or her spouse.

May our heavenly Father open our eyes, ears, and hearts to His truths- that He loves us and wants what is best for us; and that His demands are not merely for the purpose of requiring obedience, but they are the path to most fully enjoying the pleasures that He has given us and created us for!

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January 2, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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