Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The Art of Pursuit: Does it Fulfill?

In the second chapter of the book of Proverbs, the Message Bible sums up the twenty-two versus as follows: "Make Insight Your Priority". Insight basically is defined at as a persons ability to perceive the truth or to have discernment on a tuff issue. I bring this up from the start because anyone who studies the rest of the chapter is going to manifest that gift in order to get to the heart of the chapter. Which I sum up with the following question: Does Jesus fulfill me sexually?

Now to many that question is going to sound crude and it inevitably can border on sacrilege so please understand that that is not my intent! I remember when I was asked this by a perceptive teenager and I stood a little stunned not exactly knowing what to say? I can't say that He does because that is just a little twisted to think about and I can't say that He doesn't because we sing these songs all the time saying "He's all I want" or "You're the only one I need." Are we singing a lie?

In an attempt to "make insight a priority" I found that we need to examine the root of the question. What exactly is being said by this question? At the heart of it is the question of results based on the pursuit! Can Jesus match up? Does He meet me? If I promise to delay certain gratifications to fit His commands will He lead me to better ways then the pleasure that I feel by feeding them now? This last question is perhaps the strongest one because many are asking but it seems very few addressing! Yet, once again there is Scripture to answer!

The Message Bible states that when we pursue Wisdom that we will have to chase after it like a prospector panning for gold or an adventurer on a treasure hunt. (1-5) Now, if the man who was panning for gold or the adventurer on the treasure hunt expected to find immediate gratification, immediate results, then they would be terribly disappointed. There has to be some type of pursuit for the prize. Their is a pursuit for the goal. The writer of Proverbs compares those who pursue "insight" and by default "lady wisdom" are like these men! Except their is one difference. God's not hiding like a prize. He's not hiding like treasure. In vs. 6 the Bible states that He gives out his Wisdom for free! And unlike the pursuit for the gold, unlike the pursuit for the treasure, their is no stopping for this treasure. You might have a little but their is always more to pursue. Whereas the gold, the treasure, you find it once and are left with only a temporary thing. There might not be any other treasures to find! You might not be able to fulfill that hunt again!

The first point then can be summed up like this. Hidden within the question of "Can Jesus fulfill me sexually" is the presupposition that this is even a fair comparison! Can sexuality fulfill you sexually? And if so, why do you keep having to have sex? If you look at porn, why do you have to keep going back? Instead you have to look at it longer, look at a different site, download a different Limewire video, in order to meet the same high again. What enduring promise do you have from any of this stuff? How is it fulfilling but for the temporary? And even that fades in a quick second. What God offers, what He promises in Proverbs 2, is something drastically different.

There are two specific types of people mentioned in Proverbs 2 that the author describes as "evil" people. The first are the ones who are lost and "can't tell a trail from a tumbleweed." These are the people who seem to be really together but the Bible says: "these losers who make a game of evil and throw parties to celebrate perversity. Traveling paths that go nowhere, wandering in a maze of detours and dead ends." This is a drastic claim! I'm sure we can all think of people who would seem to fulfill this picture. We seem to envy them! Yet, the Bible states rather clearly that there paths are dead ends because they "can't get no satisfaction". They still haven't found what they were looking for. The dirty little secret about many of these supposed things that bring happiness is that they don't. Instant gratification leads to less gratification. There is no gold left in the hill to find even though they might have found some earlier, it was all spent.

The second type of evil person is the sweet-talking woman. The Temptress. Now, I'm not speaking of Shakespeare here. It's right in the Bible. This gets down to the nitty gritty on the question at hand. "Her whole way of life is doomed; every step she takes brings her closer to hell." The Bible is making the point here that those who are in covenant community with Him are going to tread on paths that not only lead to somewhere but lead to promises beyond our dreams. Jesus' message to the world is that we can partake in that future Kingdom but that we can also get tastes of it now! IT bleeds through into our current world. The sweet-talking woman can only promise a endless circle of different levels of pleasure but nothing that is everlasting. God's promises offers a taste of the Kingdom here but full disclosure of the Kingdom in the future. Which is actually a better promise?

So the question then, does the pursuit fulfill?



It's both. It has to be! We are not capable of taking in all of God at once but He promises, unlike the woman, to be our daily bread and fulfill day by day. Our only source. Our hope. Our life. To go beyond anything we can imagine. We think sexuality is the highest pleasure in life but God promises to blow that away. In fact, it seems that God is saying in this chapter: "Is that the best you can do? Do you really have such a limited view of what is pleasurable? Have you seen the stars? Have you been to bottom of the oceans? Have you seen the sun set through an entire timezone at once? Do you really limit me by such a temporary, fleeting passion?" I can just picture God replying to our opening question not that He doesn't or He does but that He gives so much more! And unlike the sweet-talking woman, He offers it for free. All He asks is that we make insight a priority, that we make a practice of the art of the Pursuit. Does it fulfill? So much more then we can imagine!


"Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few." Matthew 7:13-14