– by Jon Bloom –
One of my favorite poems is only four lines long:
The soul is measured by its flights,
Some low and others high.
The heart is known by its delights,
And pleasures never lie. (The Pleasures of God, 4)
For me, the last line is the zinger: pleasures never lie. It has stuck in my brain for over two decades. Like a sharp knife, it cuts through a lot of my baloney and gets right to the heart of the matter: what matters to my heart.
“Pleasures never lie” doesn’t mean the things we find pleasurable are never deceitful. Many are (Hebrews 11:25), as we all know by lots of personal experience. Rather, it means that pleasure is the whistle-blower of the heart. Pleasure is our heart’s way of telling us where our treasure really lies (Matthew 6:21). When something evil gives us pleasure, we don’t have a pleasure problem; we have a treasure problem. The pleasure gauge is working as designed. What’s wrong is what our heart loves. And pleasure is blowing the whistle. We can lie with our lips about what we love. But pleasures never lie.
And the thing about our pleasure-giving treasures, whether good or evil, is that we can’t keep them hidden, at least not for long. What we truly love can’t help but work its way out of the unseen heart into the plain view of what we do and don’t do, say and don’t say.
This is why Jesus told us that when discerning whether a professing believer is true or false, we must examine their fruit.
Fruit is one of God’s favorite metaphors for describing what our lives organically produce based on what our hearts believe and love. He employs it repeatedly in the Bible (Psalm 1:3; Proverbs 14:14; Isaiah 3:10; Jeremiah 17:10; Matthew 3:8; John 15:8; Galatians 5:22–23). And to our point, this parable of Jesus is particularly incisive: