God does not condemn us enjoying the physical pleasures of this world. Whether it enjoying our favorite foods, sex, music, movies, shopping, watching or playing sports, getting massages, manicures or haircuts or anything else that gives us pleasure.
Enjoying the pleasures our senses offer us is not the same as engaging in the sin of sensuality.
God gave us our five senses of sight, smell, hearing, taste, and touch not only so we could survive in this world but also for our pleasure!
When we see a commercial for our favorite restaurant and the sight of that food gives us pleasure and makes us hungry that is a gift from God.
When we smell our favorite cookies cooking in the oven and the scent makes our mouths water this again is a gift from God.
When we sink our teeth into our favorite pizza and we savor the taste of each bite – again this pleasure is a gift from God.
When we run our fingers along a soft lazy boy chair and love the way it feels as we sit down in it – this pleasure we experience is the gift of God.
When we get a thrill and rush when our favorite team scores a touchdown – this is yet again the gift of God.
The sexual pleasure we get from thinking about sex, the sight of the opposite sex or sexually arousing images, the smell of the opposite sex, the taste of the opposite sex or the touch of the opposite sex these sexual pleasures as it relates to our senses are all gifts of God.
God is not against us enjoying physical pleasure, but rather the overindulgence and obsession with any kind of physical pleasure whether it be sex, food, alcohol, drugs or other pleasurable things.
This overindulgence and obsession with physical pleasure used to be called lasciviousness and it is now referred to as sensuality.
Some Christians even while the Apostles were alive began teaching a false doctrine of Christian asceticism.
Christian asceticism was the belief that Christians were to avoid the enjoyment of all physical pleasures.
In the area of sexuality some Christians saw sex as a necessary evil for reproduction only. Others abused Paul’s teachings on the nobleness of celibacy to teach that those who needed to get married were fleshly and sinful in direct contradiction to Paul’s teaching that marriage should never be forbidden in I Timothy 4:3 and Hebrews 14:4 where the Bible call’s marriage – “honorable”.
Paul actually directly attacked Christian asceticism when he wrote:
“20 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, 21 “Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!” 22 (which all refer to things destined to perish with use)—in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men? 23 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 (NASB)
Some Christians today still embrace “selective” versions of asceticism when they condemn things like drinking alcohol, enjoying rock music, watching movies, women dressing in sexually appealing ways, viewing sexually arousing images, sexual imagination (fantasy) or masturbation.
But make no mistake all of these man-made prohibitions against these pleasurable activities find no place in the Scriptures. They are the “commandments and teachings of men” that the Apostle Paul was referring to.
God created many things in this world that give us pleasure and he gave us the ability to enjoy them.
“For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude; 5 for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer.” – I Timothy 4:4-5 (NASB)
Only guard against sensuality (overindulgence and obsession with the pleasures of the senses) and do not come under the power of (do not become addicted) to anything – even things that are good.
“All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.” – I Corinthians 6:12 (KJV)