Led Astray By Pleasure

“He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.” Matt. 13:22

In study Sunday I came across a subtlety in the use of words that opened up new meanings. Has that ever happened to you? That something you read before in the soul, apart from the Spirit, is heard and seen at another time in the Light of the Spirit of Truth and Revelation?

The word is aparte (a-par-tay) and is found in Matt. 13:22 above. This new insight came to me when I learned that the meaning of the word translated as deceitfulness in Matt. 13:22 has another seemingly conflicting meaning.

The translators always translate it deceitfulness but it has been argued (since 1903) that the word has been used in its origins to also mean “pleasure or delight”. It was through “immense epigraphical erudition” [knowledgeable demonstration of the use of language] that it was shown to be synonymous with hedone or lustful pleasure, from which we get our word hedonism.

The treatment of the word goes on to explain it as “a species of sensual pleasure, pleasure in spectacles.”

Now this is what I saw, or should I say was shown. Matthew speaks of the deceitfulness of riches as having the power to “choke the word” with the effect that “he becometh unfruitful”. That is a pretty strong delusion. But how is this done? It is done by engaging the power of lust.

This is the same method that was used to deceive Eve. “when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.” Gen. 3:6. There is the deception, that she saw… that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desire to make one wise”.

You see, it is just a matter of what you see, what catches your heart and causes you to desire it, even to your ultimate peril and damnation. What is your apple? What is it that you can’t live without, or at least think you cannot? How many apples do you want?

J.R.R. Tolkein makes masterful imagery of the thing that you would give everything up for in the obsession of Gollum over the ring of Mordor in the Trilogy of Ring. From the first look, he must have it, even at the cost of the murder of his life-long childhood friend. Nothing and no one will be allowed to deny him this pleasure.

The irony is that the thing that he desires to have, desires to have him more. God said to Cain, “Sin is crouching at your door and it desires to have you!” Anything that wants to gain control of you through your heart is a direct competition to the place of God.

This is the deceitfulness of riches. Yes, mammon by all means is deceitful. It promises to deliver all that you ever wanted, needed or dreamed of wanting. You just need more. More of what? More money to get more things to have and enjoy more, more and more. Do you notice that “more” has no end game. It is an infinite unsatisfaction that devours everything and everyone in its quest to fill its desire.

Yes mammon, but everything else we are led to believe that money can buy too. We believe money can buy everything. It can buy lots of happiness, passing pleasures of this world system. But it cannot buy Joy that abides, nor Peace that prevails, nor Love that endures all things. It can only fill the soul temporarily, then it is gone, demanding more.

This is the deceitfulness of riches. It is a “sensual pleasure, pleasure in spectacles”. A spectacle is a “visually striking performance”. In other words it is a fantastically appealing sight. Don’t be deceived by the riches of this world. They promise everything for the price you pay and always come up short. They can never satisfy the need of your soul because they always demand more.

What you don’t realize that in all this pursuit of things and money and happiness that you are choking the Word. That you make the Word’s effect on your null and void. You become deliriously distant to the things of God as you gaze upon your apple. You covet and lust for what you don’t have setting a singleness of purpose upon it. It becomes the object of your heart and fills the spot that is meant for God — your obsession to have this thing.

You become unfruitful having given place to the devil. He has captured your heart through the bauble, the apple of your eye. So we learn that deceitfulness and pleasures are synonymous. Be careful of what pleasures you seek, they are deceitful.

*Hedone is an English transliteration of a Greek word meaning pleasure, and is the root of the English word “hedonism”. In the philosophy of Epicurus, h don was the quest for pleasure that would have only good consequences. This concept strikes a sharp contrast with the words “hedonism” and even “pleasure” in English today; the former implies wanton pursuit of pleasure with disregard to all else.