Enstasy vs. Ecstasy

How often have you heard lines like these?

  • Well, I hope you enjoy yourself.
  • You just need to learn to be okay with yourself.
  • I can be happy all by myself.
  • When I look at myself, I’m happy with me.

Sentiments such as these seem to permeate American, me-centered culture. Indeed, they must, since our atheology is built on self. We espouse enstasy, which is the state of standing inside one’s self.

America loves self-esteem, self-confidence, enstasy; therefore, we know nothing of ecstasy. Enstasy robs us of ecstasy, which is literally the standing outside of one’s self. Enstasy and ecstasy cannot coexist.

Isn’t the etymology interesting? “En-” always means “inside, into;” and “ec-/ex-” always means “outside, out from.” These two words give us a window into the dichotomy of desiring delight in ourselves versus pursuing pleasure in another.

One verse (of many) that helps us see this in the Scriptures is 2 Timothy 3:4, where God tells us to avoid such people of the last days (our days) that are “lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant . . . not loving good . . . swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.”

Notice here that the source of this false appearance of godliness is a love of self and pleasure rather than God. This is different than saying that God is not pleasurable. Paul is speaking here of a selfish pleasure, an enstatic pleasure rather than an ecstatic one found in God. How wildly, maniacally egocentric we are, to believe that loving our ugly selves can produce more pleasure than loving God!

The truth is that there is no real pleasure to be found in loving ourselves, because we are finite, sinful, and not worth gazing at for long. We were made for something more, something for which Jesus redeemed all who will believe: to be happy in God alone. This is true ecstasy.


About B Treece
loved by God before I ever loved Him, saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone by the authority of the Bible alone to the glory of God alone, made to enjoy Him forever, happily married with wonder-filled children.

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