Does God want me to enjoy earthly possessions? This is one of the common questions that believers ask. In some Christian circles, earthly possessions are perceived as evil and not worth pursuing.
In other fellowships, believers are encouraged to get earthly possessions with their claim being that God created earthly possessions for us.
Between the two sides, who is right?
That is exactly what I want to tackle in this article. By the end of this article, I want to give you a balanced picture of God’s intention for us concerning earthly possessions.
To start off, let us understand what pleasure is…
Enjoyment and Pleasure
Pleasure is anything that brings satisfaction either to the flesh or to the spirit. The process of pleasure is what we enjoy.
Eating sweet food is pleasurable. The process of eating is enjoyable.
Right from the time God created man, the topic of enjoyment came up. God gave man permission to eat fruits from all trees in the Garden of Eden except from the tree at the center of the garden.
The fruits from the trees were for man’s pleasure.
From the description of the Garden of Eden, there is no doubt that God made it exceedingly enjoyable for man.
We are told of how God provided rivers to water the trees, how lovely the fruits of the trees were, how precious stones were in the garden and much more.
The description of the garden makes it clear that God wanted man to enjoy his life on earth.
Therefore, it is perfect for us to say that pleasure and enjoyment were ordained by God. Anyone who claims that pleasure is of the devil is a liar.
God Himself dwells in heaven and from the description of heaven, it is full of pleasure.
Enjoyment is a Precious Gift to Man
To further emphasize the importance of pleasure, King Solomon embarked on a study to discover what is best for man to do under the sun.
In chapter two of the book of Ecclesiastes, King Solomon gives us a glimpse of the many things he tried out while seeking to know what is best for man to do under the sun.
He planted vineyards, hired servants, and denied himself nothing that his heart desired. But after all his experiments, he concluded that all things done under the sun are futile.
The only worthwhile endeavor that King Solomon found was enjoyment. He stated that if a man lives for many years and gets many children but does not enjoy his life, then a still born child who dies without seeing the sun is better.
Repeatedly, King Solomon emphasized how enjoyment of life is the goal. No matter what someone does and gets, if he doesn’t enjoy life on earth, all he has done is futile.
An important point that King Solomon brings out is that enjoyment is a gift from God. He goes ahead to give examples of people he had seen. Some gathered wealth to their own destruction.
All the schemes that people did to enjoy life failed to satisfy.
In the end, King Solomon says that the whole duty of a man is to fear God and keep His commandments.
Enjoyment for Believers
Now that we know enjoyment is God’s gift for us, the big question remains, what exactly is enjoyment? Is it eating kingly food, is it gathering wealth, is it sexual pleasure?
That is what I want to focus on in this section. King Solomon concluded his research by stating that the whole duty of man is to fear God and keep His commandments.
We understand that Adam had a pleasurable life in the Garden of Eden because he feared God and kept His commandments.
The day Adam disobeyed God’s commandment, he lost all the pleasure he had. This means that the only way for a man to have pleasure in life is by fearing God and keeping His commandments.
This is true and here is how God emphasized this point…
Doing Good to others is Pleasure
We all know that God sent His son Jesus to live on earth with men. When the name Jesus is mentioned, one teaching comes to mind; love your neighbor as yourself.
Jesus repeatedly emphasized on love being the fulfillment of the whole law. In His actions, Jesus showed the love He had for men.
Since Jesus is the best example that God set for us, it means the most pleasurable thing to do on earth is to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.
By loving our neighbors as we love ourselves, we fulfill the law. By keeping God’s commandments, we attain the pleasure that Adam lost in the Garden of Eden.
We will always find pleasure when we fear God and keep His commandments.
God wants us to enjoy life on earth by loving our neighbors as we love ourselves.
Suffering for Christ is Pleasure
Jesus loved men and His love for men caused Him great suffering. As followers of Jesus, we are asked to love our neighbors and as it is the nature of the fallen world, when you love, you will suffer.
Despite the suffering, we are to look at Jesus who is our example and not give up. Just as Jesus endured the suffering and proved His love for us, we are required to endure great suffering to show others love.
The suffering that we go through if we follow Jesus brings pleasure and enjoyment.
A good example of this point is Paul the Apostle; he suffered greatly for witnessing about Jesus. But despite the great suffering, Paul counted it all joy to suffer for Christ.
Peter wrote that it is better to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. When we suffer for doing good, we know that we have a reward.
The most amazing thing in all this is that the suffering gives us pleasure and enjoyment. This is the right definition of enjoying life on earth.
God on Enjoying Earthly Possessions
What is God’s take on men enjoying earthly possessions?
Jesus in one of His teachings mentioned that what is treasured in the eyes of men is detestable in the eyes of God. All earthly things are in their fallen state.
Therefore, no earthly thing is honorable before God.
While men will treasure a beautiful mansion, to God, it is a dead house. God only dwells in living houses, which are our bodies.
Kings in the Old Testament trusted in the multitude of their horses and chariots but repeatedly God proved that trusting in horses and chariots is futile.
An excellent example is the case of King Hezekiah while faced with the Assyrian army. The Assyrian army had defeated all other kingdoms and was planning an attack against Judah.
King Hezekiah prayed to God and God sent an angel to kill the Assyrian army. One angel of God killed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers in one night.
That is why to God, a huge army is nothing.
Pursuing earthly possessions and power is futile. How many times has God destroyed kingdoms that were powerful than any other on earth?
How many times has God brought to nothing kings who thought they were immortal?
Earthly possessions can never give us enjoyment. Even if you live in a palace, you still need God to give you peace.
Even if you have an army of a million soldiers, you still need God to preserve your life.
Earthly Possessions are Misleading
If you incline your heart to seeking enjoyment from earthly possessions, you will be led astray. God commanded Moses to tell the Israelites that kings in Israel should not gather too much wealth for themselves and that they should not take many wives lest their hearts be turned away from God.
King Solomon disobeyed God’s command by gathering too much wealth for himself and marrying many foreign women. The many women he married led him astray and he lost his kingdom and his life.
His vast possessions could not save him. God had mercy on him only because of his father David.
What more examples do you need to believe that earthly possessions cannot give pleasure?
Therefore, spend your strength on following the example of Jesus by showing love to others than seeking pleasure from earthly possessions. That’s the only way to enjoy life on earth.
May God give you understanding!