Book Review: Pure Pleasure by Gary Thomas

I think a Christian must have first said the words “guilty pleasure”— because sometimes we seem to be incapable of separating the two. Our understanding of the importance of fleeing sin, dying to ourselves, & focusing on God has often confused us of the place of pleasure in the life of a follower of Christ.

We seem to swing between the two extremes of rejecting any “earthly” thing that feels good or else embracing anything and everything under the justification that God loves us and wants us to be happy.

It seems that legitimate pleasure is a ground so tricky and full of land mines that few pastors or teachers will walk deeply into its territory. At most they seem to skim around it with some humorous quotes or iron clad rules.

Gary Thomas, however, does neither, plunging into the heart of the place of pleasure in the life of a Christian with a deep, thoughtful book filled with wisdom.

Well known as a thinker and writer who draws upon centuries of ancient and classic theology and philosophy throughout his books, Gary does the same here, carefully considering the topic from a variety of angles, from the place of pleasure in God’s creation and plan, its dangers and delights, how it fits into our love & devotion to God, and how it truly can be purely enjoyed in a holy life. He speaks to Christians who have tipped too far in both directions: to those who reject pleasure, he calls them to enjoy what God has given for them to enjoy as a way of strengthening their souls and their love for God. To those who have put pleasure above all else in their life, he calls them back to remember the Giver more than the gifts, and shows them a better way.

As with all of Thomas’ books, it is chock full of quotable insights. Here are a just a few of my favorites:

Nonbelievers are supernaturally thirsty because they do not know God, whom they were created to enjoy. Many believers are thirsty because they do not know how to enjoy God and the life He has given them.

It would be the height of folly, the triumph of arrogance, for me to assume I can do without what God has laid at my feet and blessed as good gifts from his gracious hand.

I walk with Christ because a life with Christ is a beautiful life, the most incredible journey I can imagine.

To the child of God, pleasure becomes the destination we reach when we walk the path of obedience.

All we can do is walk the road God lays out for us.

If you’ve ever wondered or ever struggled with the right way to feel pleasure in your life, you will love reading this book. (Just don’t feel guilty about enjoying it!)

For more information on the book click here to view it on

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