We were created to love God, worship Him and to love and help other people. When we get off track in our quest to find our purpose – temptation increases.
by Larry Wilson
“But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God – having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.” (2 Timothy 3:1-5)
Do you love something or someone too much for your own good? Do you love something so much that it is hurting you and/or those around you? For example, do you love food so much that you constantly overeat? Do you love your work so much that you don’t have time to rest, to worship God or to associate with your family and friends? Do you love your job so much that it is more important than anything else in your life? Do you love money so much that you can’t bear to part with it? When was the last time you gave cash as a gift – not counting obligatory gifts such as birthday, Christmas, anniversary, etc.? Do you love sex so much that you think about it constantly? Do you love your children so much that you can’t discipline them for their own good? Do you love your pet more than the people around you?
The devil and his demons study each of us very closely to see what inherited predispositions we have. They constantly stress test our “want gland” to see if they can create discontent. After they determine our weakness and the state of our discontentment, they get together and come up with a series of tailored temptations to induce us into pursuing a life of leisure and pleasure. Often, the first temptations into pleasure (self-indulgence) are not sinful, and this fact makes the devil’s effort to stimulate the “want gland” very successful. After all, there’s nothing wrong with wanting – is there? But, after we have participated in a little pleasure and discovered what a good thing that was, it only stands to reason that more pleasure is better.
As a lifestyle of finding pleasure develops, the devil positions us where he can finally begin to work us over. By leading us into an acquired taste for pleasure, he has gained control without causing us to actually violate our conscience. Very clever. When the time comes to induce us into sin, the devil tempts us with a pleasure and the initial price for this pleasure is a small sin. The devil is a master at gradualism. He is also a master at diminishing the penalty for sin. In other words, the devil is a master at making sin look insignificant. He knows that if he can create an appetite for pleasure, then he has won a big battle before sin begins because he knows that it will be very difficult to say “no” later on to his temptations. Have you experienced this chain of events?
The human experience is made up of many facets. God wants us to be accountable, responsible and self-controlled. He wants us to be good stewards of the assets He has put in our hands. God wants to live within us and give us joy. If our life is balanced, the joy that comes from the sum of all of its parts will fill our life with contentment and happiness – a genuine happiness that produces health and well being for ourselves and those around us. On the other hand, the devil is constantly moving the world away from God and toward more pleasure so that he can tempt us into sin with excessive pleasure. “For everything in the world – the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does – comes not from the Father but from the world.” (1 John 2:16)
The devil will do his best to get us to obsess over something that appears to be innocent at first, but it can become something that will eventually take control of our life if we don’t watch out! The devil wants to control us through an appetite for pleasure and once he gains control, he can use our obsession to destroy us and the happiness of those around us. Unchecked, the power of sin will overpower us! Paul wrote, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me.” (Romans 7:15-17)
We have to be on guard against the devil’s tactics. Paul wrote, “But godliness with contentment is great gain.” (1 Timothy 6:6) At this time, our nation is consumed with the pursuit of pleasure – “eat, drink and be merry” – just as it was in Noah’s day. Pleasure is momentary, but true joy springs from knowing God, living the life that He has called us to live. Yes, a measured amount of pleasure is important in every life, but when we become hooked on pleasure, we’re in trouble. Too much pleasure deadens our spiritual interests. Too much pleasure is intoxicating. When separated from God and His peace, it becomes easier to experience obsession and an obsession can lead to compulsive behavior which, in the end, is harmful and destructive.
The world offers more entertainment, bigger thrills and chills, extreme pleasures and greater luxury to satisfy discontentment, but the Lord offers a peace that passes understanding. Which do you want? Jesus said, “Come unto me . . . .and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) He is looking for disciples – those disciplined by His teachings and matured by His grace. The apostle James wrote, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:2-4, italics mine) If you want to be free of discontent and obsession, turn to Jesus, the King of Peace. Ask Him to give you the power to overcome. His truth and calling will set you free.
Pray at least 3 times per day “Lord, help me to always be moderate in all things”
Read 2nd Timothy 3