Surfing imagery is fascinated with youth and beauty. The picture perfect bikini model and her tanned, broad shouldered, blonde boyfriend whiling away time in an ideal tropical location. This image sells stuff, it must, it’s the predominant voice of perceived perfection. In fact most of the media and the imagery we have taken onboard as preferred, is this unrealistic idea of perfection; perfect health, perfect skin, perfect waves, perfect bodies. We pursue this unreal ideal with passion, focus and zeal, even though we know deep inside it’s unattainable.
It reminds me of a classic tale. …. ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’ is a philosophical novel by the writer Oscar Wilde, first published in July 1890.. Dorian is handsome and young and basically wants that to last forever at any cost. Understanding that his beauty will fade, Dorian expresses the desire to sell his soul, to ensure that the picture, rather than he, will age and fade. The wish is granted, and Dorian pursues a libertine life of varied and amoral experiences; all the while his portrait ages and records every soul-corrupting sin. The Picture of Dorian Gray is an example of Gothic fiction with strong themes interpreted from the legendary Faust.
I want to explain those two words.
Libertine: A libertine is one devoid of most moral restraints, which are seen as unnecessary or undesirable, especially one who ignores or even spurns accepted morals and forms of behaviour sanctified by the larger society. Extremely popular in 17th 18th & 19th centuries in France and Great Britain.
Faust: a classic German legend. He is a scholar who is highly successful yet dissatisfied with his life, which leads him to make a pact with the Devil, exchanging his soul for unlimited knowledge and worldly pleasures.
There are a few premises here that I want to scratch away at.
* Pleasure is what we need to seek to satisfy us?
Ecclesiastes explores this theme..EC 2:10 And whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I kept my heart from no pleasure, for my heart found pleasure in all my toil, and this was my reward for all my toil. 11 Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.
The Westminster Catechism begins this way…Q. 1. What is the chief end of man?
A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.
We should be happy but our happiness and pleasure lies in God and his glory, not ours. Our perfect bodies, nice tans, good waves, great jobs, fat bank accounts and hot partners will not ultimately satisfy; only God can.
We can sell our soul to the devil. Our study in Romans has been smashing away at this for a while. Rom 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, ALL means ALL.
Mans’ role and position is not passive, deciding to follow God or to follow sin. Our role is active we are born of the seed of Adam, sold as slaves to sin. The only transaction that takes place is JESUS RANSOMS us back from death to life. God purchases us at tremendous cost to himself and no cost to us. WE … 24 are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.
* Following our heart is always good. Jeremiah instructs us this way. Jer 17: 9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? 10 I the LORD search the heart and test the mind…
Our hearts desire is not alway a good thing, only when our joy pleasure and delight is found in God can it the be redeemed. Ps 37: 4 Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
So how do we know what is good for us, what is right and beautiful where should our lead come from… Westminster Catechism… Q. 2. What rule hath God given to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him? A. The Word of God, which is contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments,is the only rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him.
PS 40: 8 I desire to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.
* Seek God not pleasure. HE alone is your Joy. Our hearts and body will fade like Dorian Greys image, but our souls will be with him. The Lover and refresher of our souls.
* Do you listen to your heart or the culture instead of Gods word and the leading of his spirit.
Ps 51: 10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. & 17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
Rom 8:13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
John 3:30 He must increase, but I must decrease.
”For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.