100 years ago, G.K. Chesterton wrote, “Every time a man knocks on a brothel door, he is really searching for God.”
God at a brothel door? Provocative thought. What was he getting at? Perhaps we have turned to sexual encounters, via prostitute, massage parlor, sexual affair or the good old standby porn because we don’t know how to connect more deeply with God?
What we hunger and search for in this old world cannot, will not be satisfied through the ways of the world. Being made in God’s Image, we can only satisfy those deepest longings by being in relationship with Him. Perhaps, what we are resorting to is a disappointment that we cannot seem to remedy in isolation, by ourselves to ourselves, alone. Alone, in that deepest part of being, yearning to fill that part of us that is empty, in pain, or a deep desire for transcendence, but disappointed, falling short every time. It requires effort and self discipline, and more than a little suffering as we work through our immaturity, dig down into our unfinished business from the past. It is very much in our human fallen nature to not want to make the effort. It is much easier to settle for mediocrity and resign ourselves to second best. The easier way, the counterfeit, that is less demanding. Sexually acting out in whatever form we have established will always be a far cry from what God’s best… and we know that.
“Every time a man
knocks on a brothel door,
he is really searching for God.”
As good as the anticipation may be, the acting out and release that takes place, it is not long before whatever gratification we enjoyed, gets exchanged for the condemnation, guilt and shame that follows. The old hollow feelings return to haunt and taunt as it becomes the seedbed for the next acting out to occur as the cycle repeats itself all over again.
Although there is a momentary pleasure, however shallow and temporary it may be, it does draw us back again and again, over and over, even though it never remedies our deepest longings. It only medicates and distracts us from the pain. Until next time, when the unmet need reels us back to the old unsatisfactory acting out. We knock, and knock again at the brothel door. It is safer, easier, and a less demanding counterfeit in lieu of the real deal.
With a little thought, it begins to make sense what old G. K. was getting at. But the kicker is how can we find a way to enjoy the pleasures of God more than the pleasures of sin? If sin didn’t feel so good, it would not be so difficult to stop. We are sexual beings and as men we are designed to respond to stimulation. Putting ourselves in stimulation’s way has become very easy these days. But how to de-sexualize our need for intimacy with ourselves, others and God makes sense upstairs in our heads, but doesn’t seem to have much pull downstairs in our hearts where the emotions and drives can seem so overwhelmingly powerful and seemingly impossible to stop at times. It is easy to get discouraged and resign ourselves to defeat.
To experience more pleasure and enjoyment with God than through the old, old habits of sin is the $64,000 question (with inflation maybe it is now the ten million dollar question).
Each one of us in our own way needs to discover how we can enjoy God, to find pleasure in relationship to Him to such a degree of depth and intimacy that the pleasures of the flesh, of this world, or of our own selfish indulgence can be confronted, battled and defeated. Ephesians 3:17-19 says it this way:
May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love really is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never fully understand it. Then you will be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God. (NLB)
The point I want to raise is to get you thinking about the making a conscious choice between the two types of pleasures. It will take a little thought and some creative experimentation and you may have to try out several different activities to make the right connection, of enjoying the pleasures with God, but it is worth the effort.
Through this growing process, there are as many different ways that fits us to a ‘t’ that can fulfill the knocking inside. So experiment: try this, try that, don’t stop, the Lord will help you. He wants this even more than we do! Get those legitimate needs met in a healthy expression of an intimate relationship with the Lord….regularly.
For me, one of the greatest ways, when I am alone and circumstances dictate that I have to find a way to enjoy myself without access to others has been to whip out my ever-growing collection of praise and worship c’d’s. Worship opens the door to all the Lord’s goodness. Psalm 30:4-5 says,
Sing to the Lord, all you godly ones! Praise his holy name. His anger lasts for a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime!
I particularly like the Vineyard style of contemporary music. To each his own. The point being is to try out some different activities, get creative, find some ways that will bring you to God and experience deeper pleasure with Him rather than our own former discretions.
Knock, knock, knock…. go in.
by Sam Fraser