December 22, 2013

Give it some thought

Wherever God in Christ is working, the best wine is kept until the end. This was true at the wedding in Cana where Jesus turned the water into wine, and it is true of heaven’s delights. We long for them now, but He is saving the best for last, for everlasting. 
Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now. (John 2:10)

Sin is always the opposite of God’s intent. Sin gives the best wine at the start, not revealing the miseries of drunkenness for someone on the verge of indulging. If it did, perhaps people would flee from this vice or at least see it for what it is and cry out for help. But drunkenness does not begin like that. It begins with social comfort and fun. Only after that does it lead to ruined relationships, ill health, and broken homes.

Today’s devotional writer says that the first and most deeply tempted are those with open and generous natures. These are not prone to calculate or look ahead. They are “in the moment” thinkers, not concerned about the future, even trusting those days ahead to the Lord.

Yet we all know how temptation can be pleasant at the outset. It hides the afterward with such mastery that reckless, unconcerned and unthinking people become easy prey. Sin and human desire can conceal the results of yielding, setting the table with attractive delicacies. One nibble leads to another, and everyone knows how it works.

How do I want to have this reality firmly set in my mind? I am an “in the moment” thinker who spends little time pondering the past and since the future is unpredictable and in the Lord’s hands, it don’t think much about it either. For me, making plans easily becomes me trying to control what happens, and I’d rather trust God than myself.

However, temptation comes to me in this area, something like snacking. At the time, it seems like nothing in the grand scheme of things, but a cookie here, a potato chip there, and it all winds up in unwanted bulges. Without thinking about the consequences of the nibbles, they can easily defeat me. It is the same with other indulges, from daydreams and laziness, to skipping spiritual and physical disciplines and a host of other “little” things.

Getting tired of diligence because I don’t think ahead soon reveals the power of sin. It offers the best first, that ease of life up front, but that ease only comes from diligence and discipline practiced up front. Not only does temptation conceal the worst that will happen tomorrow, it hides the worst that will happen beyond the grave.

For certain, “There is a way that seems right . . . but its end is the way to death” (Proverbs 14:12) and for certain I would be far better off to think more about the future, or at least ponder the results of giving in to those things that seem so inconsequential at the moment. 

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