12 Apr

     “For a time the Holy Way follows the river bank but then veers off into rougher ground which is hard on the sore tired feet of the travelers. Wishing there were an easier way, they plod along until they come to another meadow behind a high fence. Having climbed the fence to have a look, Christian persuades Hopeful that they should move over into By-path Meadow, where there is a soft grassy path paralleling theirs.”  Book Summary of Pilgrim’s Progress (cliffsnotes.com) 

     Who doesn’t like the easy road? Like Christian in the book Pilgrim’s Progress, we take the path that seems more pleasant and still seems to be going in the same direction as the pathway of the pilgrim but only ends up getting us into trouble. It is easier to avoid the struggle of our conscience than to wrestle with trying to do what is pleasing before God. At first, it would seem this way, to give in to temptation seems easier than to keep fighting in resistance to it. We can subdue our conscience and reason our way into compromise for the sake of something we want to do or not do. But in the long run, just like Christian in Pilgrim’s Progress, we end up in a whole heap of trouble that could have been avoided if we had only heeded the instruction in God’s Word to us. The way of the world seems easier and more pleasant at first. It may seem like the unsaved have a lot less restrictions on them then the narrow path, we as pilgrims are traveling. But the walls that hedge us in are protecting us from the destructive evil on the outside. The pleasure is only the bait to lure you into being a slave of corruption. 

      The Bible does tell us about the pleasure of sin; but it lasts only for a short season. Heb.11:25 (NIV) tells us about a decision Moses had to make - He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 

      Sin has pleasure, but it doesn’t last and cannot satisfy the longings of the soul. Everything in this temporary world is just that Temporary.  “If you seek fulfillment in temporary things: that is exactly what you will have – Temporary fulfillment.” 

     The best meal you can ever eat, the best sex you can ever have, the best thrill you can experience will all in the end only last a short time and then tomorrow comes and you will be wanting again. You will be hungry again, wanting that pleasure again, seeking that thrill again.  Fulfillment in temporary things can never satisfy the longing of the soul. 

     It is in this context that we understand what Jesus was talking about when He referred to Himself in this way – John 6:35 (NKJV) “And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.”  Only in God can we experience the purest form of pleasure and a joy undiminished by time. Listen to David’s description of such an experience in Psalm 16:11 (NKJV) - You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.  And again, in Psalm 107:9 - For He satisfies the longing soul, And fills the hungry soul with goodness.

      Many of us that have walked with the Lord for a while have come to realize and see that the path of pursuing the pleasures of sin is just as the Bible describes- a road to destruction (Rom.6:23). Broken homes, broken marriages, broken bodies ravished by a destructive life style in pursuit of the pleasure of sin; leaving an empty and hollow soul. Empty eyes staring back at you from the mirror, a life wasted in futility. 

     Oh, they will laugh at you early on, but they will envy you later. They will envy the longevity of your marriage. The peace that resides over your home. The loving relationships you have with family and with the community of believers in  Christ. And even if you should not have any of these things, you will still have the eternal treasure that neither time, nor rust, nor decay can take away from you. The peace and knowledge that Jesus will welcome you into the Father’s Heavenly kingdom when you pass from this temporary world. And by choosing the path of the pilgrim you will have the presence and peace of Christ ruling in your heart and mind during this earthly journey. What kind of earthly price can you place on that? 

      No, my brothers, do not let the world deceive you that they have something better to offer. As one politician once said, “you can put lipstick on a pig, but it is still a pig.”  Take the Apostle Peter’s admonishment (2 Pet. 2:18-20 NLT) -    

 They brag about themselves with empty, foolish boasting. With an appeal to twisted sexual desires, they lure back into sin those who have barely escaped from a lifestyle of deception.  They promise freedom, but they themselves are slaves of sin and corruption. For you are a slave to whatever controls you.  And when people escape from the wickedness of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and then get tangled up and enslaved by sin again, they are worse off than before.  

     There is nothing new here under the sun; ask Solomon. He tried all that the world could possibly offer and found it empty. Only in Jesus is there rest for my soul. Only in Him can I have, as the past preacher Adrian Rogers would say, “A love worth finding.”
Hold steady, abhor what is evil and cling to what is good (Rom.12:9)and you will find an everlasting fulfillment in the source of all true joy – knowing God thru His Son Jesus Christ. 

By His Grace,
Through His Strength,
For His Glory,

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