How about “pay now, enjoy later?” That’s what Jesus took. “For the joy set before him, he endured the cross…” He did not enjoy it. He looked beyond the pain to the pleasure. Followers of Christ do the same. They live for the age to come.
Peter, who had an allergic reaction to the idea of a cross, finally got it. In his first letter he uses suffering and glory in the same sentence—many times. Take your pick: suffer now and get glory later, or enjoy now and get pain in a dark future. Christians put all their marbles in the coming kingdom (I Peter 1:13).
People who jump out of a thirty-year marriage for an affair are working with the “buy now, pay later” plan. They will wish they hadn’t. Jesus did not regret putting off joy—neither will you.
Satan’s offers look so good. Step over the line, just this time. The pleasure is exhilarating and enticing. But an ounce of illegitimate joy today equals a pound of sorrow tomorrow. You are not an exception. “The wages of sin is death”—every time. Guys who choose an affair over faithfulness are fools. Satan gives them the immediate, and they sacrifice the ultimate. Jesus promises to pay us back for all good, and His payback is incredible (Eph. 6:8).
I know men who regret going with “buy now, pay later.” They didn’t expect that a few experiences would cost so much. I decided to write something for myself, my wife and my children called, “If I Should Fall.” I wanted to count the cost before attempting something stupid. I needed to get a sober idea of what I would pay for saying yes to pleasure.
Let’s face it—sin is fun. “By faith Moses…refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to share ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin” (Hebrew 11:24,25). Sin brings pleasure, but it “fleets.” It is followed by shame, guilt, excusing, and blaming, nothing that brings joy. Way to go, Moses. You were given the offer of non-stop pleasure in the home of the richest man on earth, and you chose persecution. Call it greatness!
Any pleasures you can put off today? Here are three ways to practice the mindset:
- Fasting. You are saying no to the legitimate pleasure of food for a deeper sense of God’s presence. Not a bad idea.
- Physical exercise. You are inflicting yourself with artificial pain for the joy set before you. It takes months, but ask people in good shape if their pain is trumped by pleasure.
- Disciplines Building regular prayer and Bible into your life does not come naturally or easily, but the hard effort builds lasting pleasure down the road. In time, discipline morphs in delight.
Brother, sister in Christ. Don’t let Satan trick you like a pressure salesman into willful sin that he dresses up and calls good. It is not. I’m going with the “pay now, enjoy later” plan. How about you?