As I turned off the Golden State Warriors game yesterday and made the trek upstairs to my bed for the night, I was confronted with a temptation that Satan often chooses to throw at me. See, each night before I go to sleep, I spend time reflecting on my day; I think about the things that happened to me that day and I think about things that are heavy on my heart. And the issue that has been heaviest on my heart in recent weeks and months is an issue of not trusting God’s plan for me – wishing I could have my own way instead of trusting His. It’s something that I struggle with nearly every day, but something that I’ve been trying to work on. And so last night when the temptation presented itself again, I took a step back and thought about my options in that moment: what choices could I make and how would each affect me and my walk with Jesus? As I contemplated my options, I began to wonder: why does sin appeal to us? Especially to those of us who are Christians, why do we, with full awareness that it is wrong, turn our backs on the Savior in favor of our own desires?
Well, it’s a simple answer – sin allows us to be “king” of our lives for just an instant. We get to have control, to pick whatever decision we want, to do what pleases us. Yeah, it’s a pretty appealing concept when you think about it, but think about this: what if we tune out the long-term consequences of sin while making those spur-of-the-moment decisions? What if we’re unable to see past “right now” and miss “down the road?” What if instant gratification clouds our view of lasting repercussions? Well, as I’ve found time and time again, that’s exactly what happens when we disregard God’s warnings about sin. We look for those “right now” rewards and end up suffering the “later on” results. They’re not fun, and you’d think with enough experience that we would learn to quit making those decisions in the first place. But that’s what is so tricky about sin: Satan comes up with new, clever ways to deceive us all the time. And when we try and fight the battle ourselves without relying on Christ’s strength, the only possible outcome is failure.
See, God wants us to avoid sin because he knows that it will hurt us in the long run. In our skewed, worldly view of sin, we’ve begun to value that which sin offers – lust, greed, selfishness. We see it as a means of gaining happiness, that if we just get one more raise or one more sexual encounter we’ll finally be happy. But in his divine design for our lives, God knows that these things bring only temporary happiness, and sometimes not even that. God asks us to deny ourselves and seek him because he knows that only he can offer true joy – nothing else, no one else. His command for our praise is not selfish, but actually completely selfless because he can see the big picture: he can see that he is the only path to lasting joy. Read these words from Psalm 1 about taking refuge in the Lord:
Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
2 but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
3 He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.
4 The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away. (Psalm 1:1-4)
See what God is trying to show us? His power, his love, his grace is enough for us. It’s more than enough, actually. And as we learn to rest in that truth, we experience true meaning in our lives. Through his wounds we are healed, through his death we find life, through his suffering we experience joy.
Have any insight on this post? Let me know in the comment section below.