I've been working on an essay on the subject of indulgences that will soon be posted here and at Women of Faith in Culture in the coming days. In the process of my studies, I've come to think about the topic as it relates to women in the Bible, though perhaps it is the Psalmist David who has the most to say about self-gratification.
I will go deeper on this in the essay, but I want to draw your attention to the indulgences as a tool in womens ministry (not the indulgences of the RCC). Whether they be coffee, purses, chocolate or shoes--all of which I believe womens bible studies have utilized--is it safe for the women we are mentoring and teaching to get their attention with things that can also be the source of serious struggle?
I love chocolate, and almost immediately after partaking of its pleasure I have a sugar crash and I'm miserable. And then I want more chocolate. Yet when I partake in knowing God, I just want more God, I want to indulge in him.
It is said that your body knows exactly what it needs and at times you will crave only those things that are healthy.. That was my experience during pregnancy...it was wonderful. And when you train the body to receive only what is nutritional, it rejects the garbage. Are we training our minds to do the same, or are we training up women who can only get to God through pathways of personal gratification?
I love to feed on God through studying the Bible, through theological contemplation, and through worship and prayer. God is enough for me because God is everything to me. This doesn't mean I don't eat chocolate, I have many things I struggle with. But I don't want to place these indulgences before women when they can know that they can enjoy indulging in God alone.