More Than You Bargained For

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Promises get a bad rap in our society. It’s standard practice for many people to break their promises. They see them as ways to get out of a situation or someone else to help you with something. But then they don’t follow through on the promises they make.

Not everyone’s this way, but there are many people who use promises like this. They promise they will do something for you or help you with something. But they don’t show. People don’t expect you to fulfill your promises because they are so used to people not doing what they say they will do.

Jesus expects Christians to have a higher standard when it comes to promises. After all, salvation is based on the promise that his sacrifice on the cross makes a way for us to have a relationship with him. He is the Promise of salvation to us.

The Great Promise

Sin and evil desires also promise us that they will bring great pleasure and joy to our lives if we give into them. They promise everything from wealth to health to happiness. It’s not wrong to want these things.

They promise these right desires in the wrong ways. Each one of them is outside of God’s plan for our lives. There are right ways and wrong ways to fulfill our desires. To be sure, God gives us desires. He also gives us the right way to fulfill them. These are the ways that we will honor him.

It seems too good to be true, and it is. If we fulfill our desires the way our flesh and temptation want us to, it will cause us more grief in the end. The immediate gratification will be fulfilled. Later we will find a greater price to pay.

Jesus frees us from these evil desires. When we consider ourselves dead to sin, and follow through and practice it, these empty promises will not grab our attention so easily. But at the time, they seem impossible to turn down.

That’s the danger of sin and temptation, of the desires of our flesh. We are new creatures in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). But we still live in a sinful and evil world. The things that used to be so ingrained in us will still try to tempt us and rear their ugly heads.

But we must be strong in the Lord. We must ask the Lord for the way of escape when temptation comes. We must stand firm in God’s promises when sin comes to promise something too good to be true.

Falling Short

If we listen to the temptations of sin and fleshly desires, we fall short of God’s desire for us. We give into temptation, and sin against God. But we are not the only ones to fall short of the promise.

Our evil desires and temptations promise things too good to be true, but they fall short in the long run. They bring up our old addictions and the things we used to do before we met Christ. But everything they promise they don’t deliver.

When we give into temptations and sin, we will find ourselves empty as we do the things we used to do. They are empty because we realize as we do them that they are fruitless. The promise of gratification falls short.

Old evil desires tend to remind us of “the good old days.” Before we knew Christ, those days held more pleasure for us because we didn’t realize the emptiness they left. If we did realize it, we filled it with other things.

Now that we know Jesus, he is our desire. I have found that the more I learn about God, the more I spend time with him, and the more I read the Bible, there is always more. There’s always more to know and to learn. There’s always more depths in God.

I never leave my time with God or in his Word wanting more. There is always more to ponder, to apply to my life, and to worship God for. We fill our lives with all kinds of addictions and vices before we meet Christ. And the reason we have so many is because they all are empty.

We try to fill the hole in our hearts with the wrong things. None of them can match Jesus in his glory. These empty and vain vices we left behind when we met him can never do the job of filling our lives with the same pleasure and joy as our walk with Christ.

What’s more, they demand more and more of our attention. They are addictive because we need more and more of the same thing to reach the same high. We spend more and more of our time and resources trying to get to the same pleasurable pinnacle. It’s never like we remember.

Delayed Gratification

Though it’s not taught in our culture very often, the concept of waiting to gratify our desires, to enjoy them completely, is a very biblical concept. When we demand to fulfill our desires right now, we cheapen the joy of fulfilling them later.

There something about waiting to get what we want. It makes it all the more sweeter when we finally get to that goal. Delaying our gratification in our desires gives us something to look forward to. It teaches us discipline, and how to wait.

For instance, as Christians we wait for the return of Christ to take us home to heaven. But the more that we wait, the more we long for his return. When he comes, on that day it will be the most incredible experience of our lives.

I like to set goals and make my desires the reward for achieving those goals. It helps me to be disciplined in my work, but it also brings great joy at the end of the task. Not only do I feel the weight lifted from completing a task, but I get a treat on top of it.

But most of all, delayed gratification teaches us how to live the Christian life, to run our race for the prize at the end. It teaches us to wait in God’s presence and for his timing. We learn how to pray with persistence and enjoy the answer of the Lord.

Conclusion

Our desire is now to please Jesus and everything we do. We don’t do works for ourselves. We do them because we love God and want to serve him. Our motives and intentions have changed. And so have our desires.

But when those old desires creep up in our lives and try to tempt us away from Christ, we must have the discipline to put them in their place. We are dead to sin and dead to those old desires. They shouldn’t tempt us anymore. Every day, we must crucify the flesh to experience the victory of God.

Leave a comment and give some tactics you use to defeat the flesh every day. How do you crucify it and keep it in its place?

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