We live in a world with many voices. Voices that tell us to do whatever we feel like, even when it’s wrong. If you are hurting, escape in whatever way you see fit. There are no limits anymore to what we can or should do. Believe what you want to believe. Love who you want to love. Be who you want to be. Do what you want to do, as long as it doesn’t hurt or disrupt the lives of those around you. It’s your body. It’s your gender. Your mind. Your life. Your career. These messages though pose a problem for us who are believers because Christ is directly opposed to this way of thinking. He tells us instead to humble ourselves and submit to Him. To die to ourselves. To serve others. Thus, there is a dilemma. There are two voices vying for our attention. Which one will we choose?
Tonight, I was struggling. I was feeling super lonely at home by myself, and the temptation was this: you know where to go to not feel lonely. You know that if you do this or that, if you talk to this group of people, if you just give in, you’ll “feel” better. Isn’t it exhausting trying to stop yourself from experiencing the things that you know you want? Wouldn’t it just be easier to have a taste of sin? To ask forgiveness later instead of asking for permission? This was one of the voices. And it was pretty deafening.
Thankfully, a second voice broke through. The voice of Jesus. Reminding me of where the giving in leads to. That it would lead to more pain, more suffering, than just my temporary loneliness. That it would not be worth it.
He also reminded me that He had been through this exact thing. In the desert, Jesus was tempted by Satan. Tempted to quench his hunger, to show off his power, and to forgo the suffering of the cross. All things that were real temptations to the humanness of Jesus. Because who doesn’t want food when they haven’t eaten for 40 days? Who doesn’t want power? Who wants to experience a ton of suffering?
Jesus reminded me of how He got through it. That he had perspective. A heavenly perspective. That he could believe in the goodness and faithfulness of His Father God. That yeah, he could have given into the desire for food, or the temptation for power, or the opportunity to forgo the cross, but that wouldn’t have satisfied Him in his humanness. It would have instead showed his unbelief in His Father. It wouldn’t have been worth it, and it would have caused Him, the spotless one, to become blemished.
So when Jesus was tempted, He countered Satan with Scripture. He brought to mind the promises of God and He stood on them. And afterwards, angels attended to Him. God was faithful.
For me, Jesus’ voice was very clear tonight. Make a different choice. Yes. You are hurting now because you are lonely on a Saturday night when you want to be out with people, but you are not truly alone. Make a different choice. It will be worth it. I know what you’re going through, and I am also here with you. You are not alone. You are loved. You are held. I will give you the strength.
Everyday, we are faced with two voices. They are vying for our attention. They are vying for our allegiance. One is for our good. The other for our destruction.
Which voice will we heed? The voice that fills our every pleasure only to leave us empty and destroyed later? Or the voice that asks us to die to ourselves, to suffer temporarily, to give up the pleasures of this life, that we might live?
It’s a choice. I know for the longest time, I have been giving attention to the wrong voice. Giving in. Experiencing pleasure. Escaping. And honestly, I can tell you, it’s not worth it. It leaves you empty. Guilt ridden. Exhausted. It destroys you. It takes the life that God has planned for you, and it taints it.
I am starting more and more to the listen to the voice of Jesus. Starting to make a different choice. We all have that opportunity everyday. To make different choices, no matter what happened the day before. We can start taking heed of a different voice.
When we do that, we can start to truly experience life. True life. It will feel different. It will look different. But it will be good. It will be fulfilling. It might not always “feel” good, but it will be worth it to be able to deal with the temporary suffering in this life, and to go home to Jesus, and for Him say to us “Well done good and faithful servant.”
Picture taken from: http://manofdepravity.com/2014/03/drowning-out-the-noise/