Far Too Easily Pleased: Getting Our Hearts Crucified to the World


When we are too easily pleased our pleasures are sin. It is sin to make a valuation of anything as more fulfilling than the fellowship and service to God the Father, Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit. 

When Israel forsook God these are the terms Jeremiah used to describe their forsaking God. 

Jeremiah 2:11–13

[11] Has a nation changed its gods, 

even though they are no gods?
But my people have changed their glory
for that which does not profit.
[12] Be appalled, O heavens, at this;
be shocked, be utterly desolate,
            declares the LORD,
[13] for my people have committed two evils:
they have forsaken me,
the fountain of living waters,
and hewed out cisterns for themselves,
broken cisterns that can hold no water. 

This is what it looks like to abandon God for other gods. It looks like a man stranded in the desert. It looks like that man abandoning the fountain of living water and digging out his own self-made well in the sand — a well that can’t even hold water. It is so absurd we can’t can’t consider it sanity. Yet, that it is how foolish it is to forsake God for other pleasures and fulfillment. 

Our joy is in our desire being singular. “One thing”. Screen Shot 2021-09-09 at 8.14.10 AM

Psalm 27:4
One thing have I asked of the LORD,
that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD
and to inquire in his temple.  

This is isn’t to say we cannot enjoy an ice-cold Dr. Pepper or steaming cup of coffee to the glory of God. See HERE. But it does mean that only one thing is our ultimate pleasure. It means that one thing is our ultimate pleasure in every other pleasure (or those other pleasures are sin). 

John Owen (1616–1683) explains it this was in Communion With the Triune God.

“When we make creatures or creature comforts — anything whatever but what we receive by the Holy Spirit of Christ—to be our joy and our delight, we are false with Christ. So was it with Demas, who loved the present world (2 Tim 4:10). When the ways of the Spirit of God are grievous and burdensome to us —when we say, “When will the Sabbath be past, that we may exact [get back to] all our labors?” — when our delight and refreshment lies in earthly things — we are unsuitable to Christ. May not his Spirit say, “Why do I still abide with these poor souls? I provide them joys unspeakable and glorious; but they refuse them, for perishing things. I provide them with spiritual, eternal, abiding consolations, and it is all rejected for a thing of naught”. This Christ cannot bear; wherefore, believers are exceeding careful in this, not to place their joy and consolation in any thing but what is administered by the Spirit. Their daily work is to get their hearts crucified to the world and the things of it, and the world to their hearts; that they may not have living affections to dying things: they would fain look on the world as a crucified, dead thing, that has netter form nor beauty; and if at any times they have been entangled with creatures and inferior contentment, and have lost their better joys, they cry out to Christ, “O restore to us the joys of your Spirit!” 

The is ultimately what it means to become a Christian in the first place. Following Christ means to trade all the pleasures in the world for the pearl of great price — the Kingdom of God (Matthew 13). 

Our desire for the highest, best, and holy pleasure need not be squelched. But our desires for worldly pleasures are deadly. 

1 John 2:15–17 [15] Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. [16] For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. [17] And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. 

The answer to not loving the world is not being too easily pleased -- pleased with cheap, temporal pleasures. We should not be bought with temptations and fancies that glitter but have no inherent meaning. Don’t stop looking to experience the highest joy and pleasure you can find on the earth. But find it in God. Everything else is his and is from him and is to him. Everything that has a good joy in it is ultimately an opportunity for gratitude to God. And gratitude to God becomes the greater joy than the thing itself! Its how children love good gifts but retain ultimate gratitude for the mother or father who provided it. 

Keep your imagination and faith for a joy that is so great you can’t even explain it (1 Peter 1:8). And because Christ has been crucified for four sin we need not feel guilty about being happy! We have no need to let guilt over sin keep us from joy in God and enjoying the world he’s given us (as broken as it is). Inexpressible joy is due to the “salvation of our souls” which comes by Christ crucified for the forgiveness of sins (Col 1:13-14).

Consider a final word from C.S. Lewis and a song by Matt Gilman. Maybe Lewis’ book would be good for you to pick up. Maybe this meditative rendition of Psalm 27:4 will help you consider that Psalm. Perhaps you would test the pleasures of your heart by seeing if you can sit alone with God and be happy with him. Confess and write down what we love. Our time, our angers, our expenses, our let downs, etc all reveal what we treasure. Repent and confess, sing, and pray love for God in "the secret heart" (Psalm 51). This is what Owen called "getting their hearts crucified to the world". 

“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory