These exact words were typed into my idea file for this blog. They came to me after a particularly difficult day of ministry. After hours of prayers, heartache, and tears I finally took a few minutes to look over the internet and some social media. Immediately, one phrase came to mind, “That’s not fair. Why does my life seem always to be a struggle while other people have it so easy?”
I suddenly remembered a line from the Bible in Hebrews 12:1. There it describes, “the sin that so easily entangles.” I heard a sermon on that line I over twenty years ago in which a preacher talked about the addictiveness of sin.
Evil seems to catch us unexpectedly. It comes along so naturally. I hear people say things like, “I never expected things to go this far.” They tell me, “I was just surfing the internet and the next thing I know …” Sometimes I hear them say, “It just started as a conversation and then …”
Sin easily entangles.
It grabs us unexpectedly and pulls us down. The dopamine in our brain is triggered, and we quickly lose control. There is this adrenaline rush, and we feel good at the moment. We disengage and feel a warm feeling of temporary pleasure.
Finally, we come back to reality, and the euphoria is gone. We destroyed a relationship, we hurt someone we love, we made a poor decision, and we feel a sense of emptiness. We hope that one more shot of whatever we felt will make everything better and the cycle gets repeated.
The flip side is quite the opposite. Living for God is hard work. It requires a plan and carefully thought out action. We must make time for God. Bible reading can be confusing. Prayer is not very natural. Worship songs are something we need to be led to sing. We need help to understand theology. Serving others must be instilled in us. Giving appears so against the American dream.
The things of God are not easy to do.
And yet, these are the most rewarding parts of life. Connecting with our maker gives us hope, love, security, and meaning. Serving gives us pleasure and purpose. Communion shows us peace with our past and freedom from guilt. Giving makes us feel the joy that nothing can take away. These things do not have the physical and emotional rush that evil brings, rather they touch something deep inside of us that is hard to explain.
This week there will be the temptation to take the easy way and go with the flow and choose the path of least resistance. There will also be the opportunity to do something far more challenging like choosing to live for God and go with the Bible and the Spirit’s leading.
One will leave you empty and wanting more. The other will bring joy and leave no regrets. Which one will you choose?