Summary: In all of your life, what you’re trying to do is move out of immaturity and move into this level of maturity where you understand the enjoyment God created you to have.
Now, I’ve given you a little philosophy lesson on hedonism. Let me give you a little theology lesson on creationism. And you know the story in the Old Testament book of Genesis is about how God created humans. And the first man that was created was Adam and the first woman that was created was Eve and God placed them in a garden and it was really a Garden of Eden. I mean, it was a place of pleasure. They were in the zone of pleasure everyday and every minute of their life when they were in the garden. But God put a limit on that. And he said, if you want to move out of this area of pleasure, into this area of discomfort, then go ahead and eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Well, humans, like always, tend to push themselves toward excessiveness and so they eventually did eat of the tree of the garden of good and evil—in the garden of good—they ate of the tree of good and evil and they were removed from the garden. And we, you and I, live metaphorically, today, outside of the garden. We no longer live in the zone every minute, every hour, everyday of our life in the zone of pleasure that God created us to live in, this zone of enjoyment—for those of you who feel a little uncomfortable with the word pleasure—we no longer live there everyday of our lives. We’re outside of the garden. And so it’s easy for us to live less than what God wants for us. It’s easier for us to fall over into this zone of secular hedonism and get more and achieve the discomfort that God doesn’t us to experience. But did you know that it is possible even living outside the garden, to live all of your life in the zone? To live in this area where you get the maximum pleasure that God has for you. As a matter of fact, many of the commands of scripture are put in scripture to push you back into that zone.
You see, we get over here into this comfort. We get over into settling for less than something but a lot of the commands of scripture are there so that you can stay in that zone. Why? Because God has good plans for you. God has plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Not to get something less. Not to move into the area of discomfort. As a matter of fact, one of those commands is found in the book of Nehemiah. Now, you may be familiar with the Ten Commandments. I’m actually going to use a couple of those a little bit later in the message today but let me give you another commandment. And this is a commandment just as—all the Ten Commandments are commandments. Notice what it says in the book of Nehemiah. The prophet, Nehemiah, says to the people of God, go celebrate and enjoy life. Isn’t that an interesting command? You say, finally, a commandment I could fulfill. Go, celebrate. You know what the better translation of that would be? Go have a party! Live life to the fullest! Well, how do you do that? Well, you’ve got to make some rediscoveries. You see, outside the garden, to go back to my metaphor from Genesis, when you’re outside the garden, you have to look a little harder to find the zone. When you’re in the garden, the zone is all around you. You can’t get away from it. But outside the garden, you’ve got to look a little harder to find it. Well, today, I want to challenge you to make three rediscoveries. And in just a minute, I’m going to come back and talk about these three rediscoveries that you have to make so that you can live your life in this zone of enjoyment that God has for you. Before we get to all that, will you bow your heads with me?