“But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom. 6:22–23).
Recently, I was diagnosed with a hiatal hernia. This is a condition where a small opening in the top of my stomach allows acid to get into my abdomen and where part of my stomach pushes up through my diaphragm muscle. It’s just as painful as it sounds. Some people with the condition require surgery, but I have found that I can control the side effects simply by eating healthy. Actually, my diet is beyond healthy—I need to cut out even good-for-you grains and carbohydrates in order to keep from aggravating my condition. The trouble is, all those foods that I must deny myself in order to control my condition are so delicious. There have been more times than I’d like to admit where I’ve indulged in something that I knew beforehand would not be good for me. In those moments, my appetite was met and my taste buds were satisfied. But, just as the food settled in my stomach, the cramps, coughing, and overwhelming sense of nausea returned. It happens almost every time I lack the self-control to say no. There are consequences for my actions. And, if I am not careful, the result could lead to greater health problems, even the possibility of death.
Sin Looks Tasty
My desire for food that I should not have reminds me of the allure of sin. There are times in life when I can see the ugliness of sin and its deceitful nature quickly. But then there are other times when I ignore the Spirit’s prompting and warnings, and I succumb to the flesh. Sin can lie to our hearts and minds, telling us that it will be satisfying.
Think about the last time you were angry with someone and gave them the cold shoulder or spit out a sharp comeback. The response felt satisfying at the time, perhaps, but the Scriptures say that a gentle answer turns away wrath (Prov. 15:1). Or, what about that time when you took a quick glance at that forbidden website only to find yourself swallowed up in its false and grotesque portrayal of intimacy. Misery and shame follow. We can, no doubt, think of a number of things that we do that we ought not to do and that produce devastating long-term results. Instant gratification quickly dissipates. Lasting enjoyment, however, comes from denying self, rejecting sin, and pursuing Jesus.