How God’s Joy is Better Than Instant Gratification

It seems like every year the “latest and greatest” inventions all serve to attempt to make life easier and more comfortable. And at the root of nearly every software update and newest gadget or widget is the goal to close the gap of time between desire and pleasure. In other words–instant gratification.

Let’s be clear, there is nothing inherently wrong with swift and sweet delight. However, most often the kind of delight that is offered instantaneously is dangerous because it often takes short-cuts. We will come back to this…

Here is the big idea.

Temptation offers immediate and fleeting pleasure. God offers eternal and lasting joy. 

And Scripture provides this contrast for us.

The danger of temptation:

Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death. (James 1:14-15, NLT)

The path of God to joy:

You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. (Psalm 16:11, NIV)

Sin is a big deal. We know we are in deep trouble when we see the opportunity to sin and we say, “it is not that big of a deal.” Our adversary will get us on a dark trajectory the moment he can convince us that a specific temptation is not a big deal. Sin is never a small thing. Sin always has a trajectory. Sin has no commitment issues. Sin is not afraid to lure you in with pleasure and then comfort you in your hardship and make a promise to never leave you. Sin is not afraid to make the vow to you: until death do us apart.

Sin promises but does not actually deliver what we are hoping to achieve–what only God can give.

While we see sin at face value, God sees the trajectory. So, when we think God is taking our sin far too seriously, the truth is the Lord takes our eternal joy more seriously than we do, and that is why He does not want us to fall into the destructive path of short-cuts. This takes us back to what we were saying earlier. Think about how short-cuts affect things. Cutting a few steps out of a cake recipe will ruin the whole thing, leaving it dry and lacking the consistency cake should have. Skipping over a few steps in learning an important skill, like how to build the foundation of a house, will ensure that no structure you make will be safe or secure. The examples we could give are endless, but you get the point.

So, what’s the contrast?

Cultivating eternal and lasting joy is like planting and tending an orchard. It requires the right care for a respectable amount of time before one can reap the fruit.

The Bible is chock-full of comparisons between a fruitful vineyard and joy, and sometimes even likens our future hope to an abundant vineyard! Maybe God uses things like agriculture to teach us the way of patience as we persevere toward the things that truly are lasting and worthwhile.

So, what’s the takeaway? Simply this: God’s way toward joy is always better than a way that offers short-cuts.

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