Pleasures Or Treasures

Often we human beings have mixed feelings about things. Our hearts long for one thing, but our minds or rather conscience convicts us that it isn’t good for us. One is something we treasure, the other is some that gives us pleasure. Thus, we sit on the fence, with one foot on each side… Neither here nor there. We are double minded and unsure – so we can’t choose one of the two. Trust me, sitting on the fence will not get us anywhere.  In fact, we are somewhat like the prey trapped in the silken web that the spider has woven in pursuit of earthly pleasures.  Having said, that, I’m sure if we are honest with ourselves, we have all been down this road at some point or the other – it’s being human.

How is this scenario apt for us as believers?  How often do we “see” the world and want a relationship with Christ?

We often go by feelings… to decide what we want.  Often such decisions or desires lean towards the ‘easy’ route – where we can have minimal struggles and have everything more or less handed to us in a silver platter.

A Christian life based on feeling is headed for a gigantic collapse.” – Erwin W. Lutzer (1941– )

In fact, James writes…

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. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does. The brother in humble circumstances ought to take pride in his high position.  But the one who is rich should take pride in his low position, because he will pass away like a wild flower.For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed.  In the same way, the rich man will fade away even while he goes about his business.

Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.  When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.  Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers.  Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first fruits of all he created.   – James 1:2-18

We shift blame instead of taking responsibility of our actions based on our feelings which are fed by worldly desires.  In fact we begin to make excuses to justify ourselves.  Where do our motives lie?

When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.  You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.  Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely?But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded – James 4:3-8

 

Being double minded is certainly not of God.  It indicates being swayed by the temptations of the enemy yet longing for the harder yet worthy walk in the Lord.  We want to take up the seemingly good stuff that the devil offers without realising he has only one motive – to pull us away from our Heavenly Father.  The result is being dragged down to hell along with him.  He will offer the world to achieve what he is out to do.  We want the riches of the world, foregoing the humble circumstances of being a committed believer.  Sadly, we go about fulfilling our fleshly desires and then ask God why He isn’t hearing our prayers.

If we are wise, we will do what Jesus said: endure the cross and despise its shame for the joy that is set before us. To do this is to submit the whole pattern of our life to be destroyed and built again in the power of an endless life. And we shall find that it is more than poetry, more than sweet hymnody and elevated feeling. The cross will cut into our lives where it hurts worst, sparing neither us nor our carefully cultivated reputation. It will defeat us and bring our selfish life to an end.”  –  A. W. Tozer (1897–1963)

Fleshly desires make us fall prey to being entangled in the earthly web leading to eternal death.  Yet the ways of God while on earth, which includes taking up our cross, will lead us to the biggest treasure of all – eternal life!

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will – Romans 12:2

The only way we can renew our mind, is to spend much time with the Lord, at His feet, hearing His voice, meditating on scripture and allowing the Holy Spirit to lead us.  Throughout the day, we need to be conscious of His presence and dialogue with Him.  It takes much humility to let God guide our steps.  It is also vital to have fellowship with other committed believers so that the prince of the earth cannot drag us completely into his ways and entangle you in his web.  Who we spend time with whether face to face or online, does affect our values.  You can choose to associate with pigs and be dragged in the mud and your pearls will be trampled.

  • With whom / what do you spend most of your time?
  • Are you in constant communication with God? 

The world offers the ‘silken web’ for temporary pleasures,
but God offers the ‘cross’ for eternal treasures…
What do you want to choose?

 

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