Do you and I really know what will make us happy? I think that we think that we know what will make us happy. The danger is that deception lurks. It lurks under the shiny veneer of what looks like many good and beneficial things that promise us happiness in life. So then, what kind of happiness are we pursuing? There is temporary happiness and there is lasting happiness. Lasting happiness is greater than temporal happiness. I believe this is true. I also believe that deception lurks in our pursuit of both temporal and lasting happiness. Deception is born in the sinful heart, the heart that is desperately sick and wicked, bent on rebellion against God. Deception runs to the mind, seeking to convince the mind that plunging into the base desires of the heart will be satisfying and give nothing but gratifying results for life. Deception masks the devastation of sin and convinces the heart that only good will come from the fulfillment of one’s pleasures. It’s a devastating lie, not just for the one deceived, but for all those associated with him and the fulfillment of his base desires.
…but only for a moment, and then…what? Yes, let your mind go to the answer of that question. Seriously…what comes after the momentary pleasure of fulfilling that sexual desire? What comes after you steal another man’s wife in the heat and fervor of your sinful passions? Think about it. You MUST think about it, because deception never will. Will you REALLY live happily ever after? In what possible scenario could that happen where genuine trust would live between two people who have acted on the impulse to cheat on their previous spouses? It’s a pipe dream. The reality is that adultery devastates people, all people involved, and some not involved. But deception seeks to mask that reality with visions of grandeur.
What about thievery? There’s the thrill of the chase. Plotting your target. Strategizing how to pull it off without getting caught. The rush of adrenaline that fuels you as you make your attempt. The visions of spending your new found fortune. Where you will go. What you will do. Who you will do it with. You may even be successful in hiding or escaping. What then? Allow your mind to go there. You must always live with your conscience.
Deception is NEVER rooted in reality. It only makes us think it is. Deception doesn’t come dressed as deception, it comes to the Ball masquerading as promise. The promise that somehow by embarking into that sin or taking that shortcut things will be better, much better, perfect even. The promise that true happiness awaits us at the end of the fallout. But the promise is a farce, a lie, empty deceit, and vanity. Worse, it’s an affront to almighty God. A slap in his face. Spit in his eye. Deception lurks. Deception clouds reality with the false promises of visions of grandeur.
WHO’S WRITING YOUR STORY?
Think of your life as a book with a series of chapters expounding on each major event in your life. We all want a happy ending. In fact, we all want happy beginnings and happiness in the middle as well. However, deception wants to redirect the story of your life. But when deception overcomes us and snatches the pen from the hand of God, the end of the story, so long as deception is wielding the pen, will never be “happily ever after,” but something like “misery loves company.”
When God wields the pen and writes the story, it’s a story marked by grace and gospel. The story will have a theme coursing through it. The theme will be “sober-minded” living through the sufferings of Christ. Our lasting happiness in Christ requires some short-term warfare that will not always be pleasant. But brothers and sisters, we hope for a better country…a heavenly one. And there, we will be happy forever. Take heart and lay hold of it.
MEDITATE ON AND PRACTICE THE SCRIPTURES
“Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God. For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you; but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For this is why the gospel was preached even to those who are dead, that though judged in the flesh the way people are, they might live in the spirit the way God does. The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers.”
1 Peter 4:1-7 ESV
1. Root yourself in the sufferings of Christ
2. Remind yourself of the suffering of Christ
3. Ready yourself with the same way of thinking
4. Restrain yourself from the old ways of living
5. Revive yourself by the power of the gospel
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