Forbidden Pleasures

Posted: May 19, 2011 in Christianity, Encouragement, Grace, Miscellaneous, Thoughts

It’s interesting how God can use every day events as an object lesson.  Yesterday I was given a box of chocolates as a “thank you” for a recommendation I had written for a friend.  Now, I just LOVE chocolate.  The problem is, I’m supposed to be watching what I eat right now because I need to get my weight under control.  I did well yesterday and only ate 1 of the chocolates.  Today, I did not do so well – and had 3 or 4.  This was what I call a “forbidden pleasure.”  It’s not that I can’t have ANY chocolates – but to eat more than 1 was something I had deemed “forbidden.”

Now, as things turned out, I was left with a feeling a bit less than pleasure.  The very last piece of chocolate I ate, I had a very unpleasant surprise.  I am not fond of coconut.  In fact, you could say I have a strong dislike for coconut.  The last piece of chocolate I ate today, was filled with coconut.  Needless to say, my “forbidden pleasure” had turned into displeasure.

This got me to thinking.  Whenever I partake of guilty pleasures, whether it’s eating something I know I shouldn’t, or watching something I shouldn’t watch, or even reading something I shouldn’t read, I am left with an unpleasant “aftertaste.”  This aftertaste is, of course, guilt.  Sometimes this guilt is misplaced, but a majority of the time, this guilt is justified because I know that I have done something that goes against my values.

So, if I know what the outcome will be, why do I do it?  One reason could be because, I’ve deemed that momentary pleasure as more important than my personal values.  The reality is, though, I often am not thinking that far ahead.  More often, I am not thinking everything through.  I see something.  It becomes desirable.  It starts to weigh on my mind.  I act.

This is how temptation works.  James 1:14-15 says:

14But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust.

15Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. (NASB)

The NKJV version uses the word “desire” instead of “lust,” but lust is a more accurate word.  When I see something I want, I begin to lust after it – it begins to consume my thoughts.  If I don’t put a check on it, it can eventually lead to sin.

So, how do I combat this lust?  Is there anything I can do?  Absolutely!  1 Corinthians 10:13 says:

13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. (NASB)

We are told to flee from temptation when we see it.  It doesn’t mean that we will always succeed, or that we won’t be tempted.  What it does mean is that we do have a way to escape.  In this case, running away is the brave thing to do, not the cowardly thing.

When we do fail and given in to temptation, all is not lost, though.  1 John 1:9 says,

9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (NASB)

If or when we sin, all we need to do is confess it, and God will forgive.  God is a God of mercy and grace.  He is faithful and He is loving.

So, that’s how my box of “Forbidden Pleasures” became an object lesson for me.

Until Next Time,

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