It’s no new concept–at least not for God. And it’s one that Adam and Eve would most definitely agree with.
Just because you feel it or think it doesn’t make it true. And just because you want it doesn’t make it good.
Avoiding deception is one of the most difficult things to do in life. So many of the thoughts we have are not based on truth at all, and most of the time we don’t even recognize that the voice we’re beating our drums to is actually coming from the serpent instead of God. Our emotions get so caught up in those thoughts that they seem as natural as the sky is blue.
There are an alarming number of issues the world convinces us to buy into wholeheartedly that are actually complete lies. They’re the Trojan horses of the modern era, and the way I see it, these are the three biggest ones:
LIE #1: “This is the pleasure you’re looking for”
The things we think deliver pleasure (like sex, lust, drunkenness, wealth, or accomplishment) is one big smoke screen distraction away from how our hearts and this world were designed to function at their best. We’re deceived into thinking that the crippling price these pleasures demand is somehow worth it. And we’re deceived even further when we believe they will give us all the lasting fulfillment we’re searching for. Before we know it, we have an idol, or worse, an addiction on our hands, and we’re scratching our heads wondering why we still feel so empty.
The truth: The purpose of our relationships, careers, bank accounts, families, habits, and even our thoughts–indeed our entire lives–is to worship and celebrate who God is and what He’s done. I’m not saying I’m great at it, but that is the model for how this world was designed to function at its highest, most pleasure-filled capacity. Just like your IKEA furniture, our personal health, families and even careers are each strongest and longest-lasting when it is put together the way it was designed to be “from the factory.”
LIE #2: “Jealousy is warranted and effective”
I get it. I’ve been cheated on too and it’s a horrible feeling. It leads to immediate second-guessing anytime we aren’t where they are. God forbid we find out later that there were members of the opposite sex present. And they had a conversation? Clearly there’s something going on. That’s how it started last time, right?
The truth: When was the last time your fear about someone potentially hurting you legitimately kept it from coming true? No matter how much we fear the hypothetical scenario playing out in our heads, jealousy will never control the situation in a healthy way. Chances are more likely that the fear becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Besides, if they want to cheat, they’re going to figure out a way to do it. And if they do, they’re not worth the heartache anyway because they clearly aren’t the “soul mate” you propped them up to be.
Trust is a choice that is made, sometimes with the benefit of the doubt, which displays this little thing called confidence. Sometimes, we may have to fake it, but it happens to be more attractive than anything we could put on our bodies or do with our talents. It’s the secret sauce used by ugly guys everywhere who marry beautiful women. I’m heavily relying on this theory.
LIE #3: “Your body’s cravings are normal”
We live in a culture that tells us to listen to our cravings. Comfort and convenience is the main goal according to much of society. If that’s all I cared about, I would never get out from under my warm covers for work when it’s cold outside, therefore I would be unemployed. I would never shower in the winter time, either, because that impending blast of freezing cold air makes for all kinds of discomfort; therefore I would have no hope of getting a new job on account of my stench. I’d probably also be 300 pounds from eating nothing but cookies and brownies and never working out.
Cravings wreak a stealthy havoc in our relationships as well. Living together before marriage seems completely pragmatic and reasonable for both financial and sexual convenience, which is another issue in itself. Sex is seen as merely physical play between two mature adults–never mind how it leads us to make some of the worst possible decisions. I know first hand that sexual relationships convince us to turn a blind eye to some major red flags that would otherwise be the deal-breakers they should be. Be honest… did you really not see the pain coming, or was your mind clouded because “hey, at least the sex is good.” We get so deep into otherwise shallow and unhealthy relationships that when they finally end (long after when they should have) our hearts are shattered instead of just disappointed. (This three-minute video explains it much better.)
The truth: Just because my mouth is watering for something sweet or salty doesn’t mean I’m hungry. Just because working out usually looks about as appealing to me as surviving on raw onions for the rest of my life doesn’t mean it’s not worth the pain. The craving to live with someone before we get married sounds harmless, but really that’s how we rob the relationship of trust and self-control (which tends to come in handy in a healthy marriage). The entire concept of dating shouldn’t be seen as a test drive where want to experience all the luxurious features before actually committing to the purchase. It should be a deep, God-honoring friendship that we want to explore and enjoy for the rest of our lives, whatever else may come. If someone cannot practice self-control pre-marriage, why do we expect them to suddenly stumble upon it once they have a ring on their finger? If they can’t even put God above their own needs, how can you expect them to put the needs of their spouse or family above their own?
In a nutshell: Loving and being obedient to God somehow makes our lives, and the world, a better place.