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Christian Counseling - Pleasure Seeking--Healthy or Unhealthy?

A primary human motivation is pleasure seeking. But how should we think about pleasure? Is pleasure seeking ever healthy or is it only unhealthy? How do we describe the difference between the two?

St. Augustine, a well-recognized theologian and philospher of the 4th and 5th centries, wrote to his close friend, Nebridius, that a person should resist with all his or her might the senses and the pleasure that eminates from them. How's that for a buzzkill, or is he right?

Let me confuse the issue a little with two quotes from the Bible:

1. If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as, '"Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!" (which all refer to things destined to perish with use)--in accordance with the commandments and teaching of men? These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence (Colossians 2:20-23).

2. Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone [or something] as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of [possibly addicted to] the one whom you obey ..." (Romans 6:16).

How would you answer the questions at the end of the first paragraph?

2 comments (Add your own)

1. frankmancusophd wrote:
Jacob, thanks for your comment, and I agree. Pleasure-seeking is not sinful, but can be if one goes overboard. We are created in the image of God and He wants to be pleased by us and created us for His own good pleasure. God wants us to experience pleasure, just as every good parent wants the same for his or her children. Pleasure has a righteous place in the life of every Christian.

10/11/2011 @ 5:08 PM

2. Jacob M wrote:
I think pleasure seeking is healthy if it is in moderation (does not consume your life), balanced with seeking of other pleasures and of doing good for others, and is not done at the expense of the well-being of another person or of society.

10/11/2011 @ 3:09 AM

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