Lovers of Pleasure

II Timothy 3:1-5

            “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good. Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of god; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: From such turn away.”

After reading this, I was reminded of a remark I heard which stated that religion should not get in the way of having some fun and restrict us. Paul speaks very strongly here to such an opinion.

I was glad to think that such a view is not that of our people in the Protestant Reformed churches, but I thought I would look a little deeper. I remembered how we are often disappointed at the Protestant Reformed stand on movies. Movies look very interesting, entertaining, and we could even say intellectual, but we are forbidden to watch them. Television is even thought badly of, but fortunately most of us have at least two. Rock music is constantly attacked but we have our stereos, records, and tapes. Dancing looks like fun, and is “the way” to pick up girls at the bars, but we are not allowed to go. We are turned down from jobs because we can’t work Sundays, even if it were only once a month. Dating has all it’s do’s and don’ts and we sure seem to hear enough about that.

It seems that every time we want to have some fun our Protestant Reformed rules are always holding us back. It isn’t so much our respect for our faith, as the fear of punishment that keeps us in line. We certainly would not say that religion ought not interfere with our fun, but it looks like we live that way. Our faith seems to keep getting in our way. But which do we follow? After all, what are a few movies, T.V., and some bars? We don’t steal and are not on drugs. We don’t do anything that bad. Let’s look at the positive points. We go to our Christian schools, even if we think they take all that religious stuff and Christian discipline a little too seriously. We go to society and sleep, or sometimes discuss the material. Of course we don’t prepare for society, but nobody does. We go to church twice every Sunday, even if it is a little long and sometimes boring. Take last Sunday for instance, the sermon was about…oh, well, it was boring anyhow.

We say it is important to have all our doctrines and are proud to boast about them. We say we work hard to follow our church laws and seem to keep our doctrines clean but dusting and polishing them as trophies. But then again, the Pharisees were proud of their law-keeping too.

We can only ask and answer for ourselves. Are we lovers of pleasure and that which we want for ourselves? Or are we truly lovers of God who not only know His ways but strive to walk in them?