One of the biggest spiritual dangers that Christians experience on this side of eternity is death masquerading as life.
The enemy will promise life, but what it actually results in is death. It was the lie that tricked Adam and Eve, and frustratingly, our sinful hearts continue to fall for the false promises.
That's why we need to remind ourselves daily of the warning in Proverbs 14:12 - "There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death."
Here are four everyday temptations that appear life-giving but will ruin us.
You see this foolishness at every age, from toddlers to teens to grown adults. Human beings were never created to live life on their own, without authority from God and wisdom from others. While the draw to be self-ruled is very appealing and deceptively life-giving, the biblical promise for a long and successful life is to those who obey their parents (Exodus 20:12) and who surround themselves with wise counsel (Proverbs 15:22).
Adultery, whether fully physical or momentarily emotional, feels life-giving to the sinful soul. It invigorates the senses and makes us feel full, for a moment. Proverbs 5:3-6 says that what is sexually forbidden "drips honey and is smoother than oil." But in the end, sex outside of God's beautiful design is as "bitter as wormwood and sharp as a two-edged sword and follows the path to Sheol."
Possessions are marketed to us as if they have the power to give life, and because they can be seen and touched, we can feel it. Surround yourself with fine things that indulge the senses and make others envious, and you'll experience momentary delight. All the while, materialism robs of us life because created things can never satisfy the soul.
I love how much of creation is edible. Eating and drinking should be done to the glory of God, so in a moment, stuffing your face until you feel sick may feel like a harmless enjoyment of the good things that God intended for us to enjoy. But such logic is delusional. The Bible warns that if your belly is your god, it will lead to destruction (Philippians 3:19), and drunkenness to debauchery (Ephesians 5:18).
Lest you be discouraged or confused, God doesn't just write up a prohibited list and wait for us to violate it. No, he offers us a life-giving alternative to the empty promises of the world: himself!
(Ephesians 5:18, for example, tells us to be filled with the Holy Spirit instead of wine.)
You see, there is a better, richer, and more satisfying life to be found in Christ. There are delights to be known that will transcend anything the world could ever offer.
To conclude, I want you to worship your way through the first three verses of Isaiah 55.
Come, everyone who thirsts,
come to the waters;
and he who has no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without price.
Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good,
and delight yourselves in rich food.
Incline your ear, and come to me;
hear, that your soul may live.
- Where should you submit to and seek counsel from the body of Christ on a daily basis?
- What are some physical pleasures that have a tendency to control your heart more than they should?
- What are some material things that have a tendency to control your heart more than they should?
- What practical steps can you take to be filled with the Holy Spirit on a daily basis?