However, recognizing the truth when it is presented is not always easy. For instance, what is the truth about climate change/global warming? Scientists of high caliber stand on either side of the issue—some crying “hoax,” while others scream “warning!” What is the truth?
There is a meme making its rounds on Facebook that says— “Stop being impressed by people who can quote Scripture… Be impressed by those that live Scripture.”
However, this is just another of those things designed to help us feel good about ourselves while the Pied Piper keeps us dancing in our delusional trance.
Let me be clear at the outset—there is nothing inherently wrong with being able to quote Scripture. That is not the point. However, this type of abbreviated thought has the potential of leading the easily impressed to think otherwise.
To whom is this statement addressed? Obviously, it is addressed to those who are easily influenced by outward show. These are the types who are also easy prey for the intentional deceivers in our midst.
Whether intentional or not, the deception that occurs is real and dangerous.
Jesus, in His few short years of ministry, managed to give us a few clues as to how to avoid being deceived by something like this—
In Luke 16:15, He said, “For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.”
He also said, “Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.” [Jhn 7:24 ESV]
Of course, that is the idea of the meme’s statement—do not judge by appearances.
Let us consider, though, the logic implied by the full statement.
There is a tacit assumption that the ones spoken to have the ability to see, or recognize those who live out the Scriptures.
The supposition here is that those so impressed know their Bible so well that they can tell who is living what they speak.
If that were true, then the first part of the statement is unnecessary, for those types would not be impressed by the mere quoting of the Bible.
And so the dance goes on, feverishly posting and re-posting the warm fuzzies of futility, feigning a fury for the few whom we might pluck from the fires of fakery.
Kids, especially boys love to show off their scars from fights, from sports, from daredevil tricks. It gives them an opportunity to brag about how tough they are, which is important during the coming-of-age years.
They usually fail to mention that they may have cried like a baby with the pain of the cut or puncture.
Scars of regret—
A scar is proof that you have survived the event, but we tend to pick at it, much like some people pick at scabs on their arms. That tends to hinder the healing process, because we keep the wound “fresh.”
I was playing the blame game.
None of which is true. Each one of those is an accusation, blaming the other, and avoiding the real issue of the pain we feel.
The truth is—
We need to learn how to access our true feelings and express them in a way that does not blame another. Our feelings are our own, not someone else’s and they have no control over them. They are yours and yours alone. YOU are responsible for your feelings. Therefore…
But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. [Jas 1:14-15 ESV]
DEATH—we have such a limited understanding of this term as it is used in the Scriptures. Of course, we have the same problem with the concept of “eternal life,” thinking it only refers to something after life on planet Earth.
Eternal life, which is not my focus here, has both a quantitative and qualitative aspect as revealed in the Word of God. “Death” falls into the same category, having both quality and quantity in its realm.
Death, as used in the Bible, refers not only to the cessation of physical life, but also to the abundance of negative things in life before one quits breathing.
You may be thinking, “Preacher, are you telling me that all this crap in my life is the result of sin?” Maybe. But, I CAN tell you this—“Like a sparrow in its flitting, like a swallow in its flying, a curse that is causeless does not alight.”
[Pro 26:2 ESV]
Notice, then, the process that James lays out.
First, there is desire. Second, desire conceived. Third, desire births sin. Fourth, sin grows up. Fifth, death is born.
Today, however, I am only going to address the aspect of desire.
Where does it come from?
Before I answer that, let’s ask a different question—
Have you ever heard of advertising?
Of course, you have.
You may have a knee-jerk reaction to the question within the context of this little article and say that advertising only plays to what is already within a person’s mind.
I won’t argue with you on that; but I will take it a step further and ask another question. Why do Coca-Cola, Budweiser, and other major name-brands continue to advertise when it is obvious that the whole world already knows of their existence?
Could it be that they understand HOW to create desire?
“A successful advertising message transcends the audience perceptions of needs and wants. It creates an emotional appeal that subtly convinces the audience that the item being promoted will make a difference in their lives by either making them happy, giving them status, satisfying a desire or providing security.”How Does Advertising Affect Wants & Needs? | Chron.comhttps://smallbusiness.chron.com/advertising-affect-wants-needs-69071.html
It is simply a matter of vying for your attention amid the clamor of everything else also pushing itself at you.
Therefore, the point is to be able to gain access to your mind.
Here’s the rub—the Holy Spirit doesn’t do that.
That is why it is up to you to “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.” [Pro 4:23 ESV]
It is up to you to guard what goes into your mind. If the television or the radio is on, the advertising will find its way into your heart. It is THAT powerful.
People have told me for years that they don’t pay attention to the ads.
THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT THE ADVERTISERS WANT YOU TO BELIEVE!!
They know better. That is why they continue doing what they do, spending billions of dollars to promote their products.
What is the sum, then?
According to the Holy Spirit’s word through James, your temptations are a direct result of your desires.
You are the only one who has any control over your desires.
Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. [Gal 6:7-8 ESV]
The writer begins with “DO NOT BE DECEIVED,” because it is such an easy thing for us to ‘wander’ off the path. Remember, the Lord refers to us as sheep who often go wandering.
The word “deceived” is translated from the word meaning “to wander.”
Sort of like a dog with its nose to the ground, not paying any attention to its surroundings—just following a trail.
We tend to be like that. Some juicy morsel comes along that tickles our fancy, and next thing you know, we are off wandering into something that will get us into trouble.
That happens because we are not aware of our boundaries.
As Christians, followers of the Lord Jesus, we should constantly be aware of our boundaries, which are established by the Word of God. However, we have “matured” and no longer need to be constantly in the Word. We think we ‘know’ the Word.
Any cursory observation of the Church today would reveal how far off from the mark that truly is. We have wandered off into all sorts of strange and weird things for which there is no biblical basis.
Our boundaries lack even the strength of an amoeba’s cell wall.
When the Bible has this statement of “Be not deceived,” we should straighten up and take notice. There is something important here that I should pay attention to.
Yet, when this particular warning about sowing and reaping is issued, our response is usually along the lines of, “Well, duh! Everybody knows that.”
Do they? Do YOU?
Are you constantly cognizant of your actions and thoughts? Do you seriously consider the ramifications of your actions, your speech, your thoughts?
According to these two verses,
everything you say, think or do is sowing a seed.
It is a law, a guiding principle just like the law of gravity, that should inform your life.
While most people are aware of the law of gravity, it appears that they are not quite as aware of the laws of motion. If they were, we would not see nearly as many car wrecks as we do on a daily basis.
The law of sowing and reaping as presented here in these two verses is just such a principle. However, the reaping of sowing to the flesh is not nearly as swift as the law of sowing to “me first” on the highway.
And, because the time required for the reaping is so slow, we tend to overlook this principle and sow to the expediency of the moment—not thinking about the consequences of our behavior.
As the preacher wrote in Ecclesiastes, “Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed speedily, the heart of the children of man is fully set to do evil.” [Ecc 8:11 ESV]
While this verse speaks very plainly to the failure of our justice system, it also speaks to the issue at hand.
“Because results of our behavior do not show up immediately, we tend to do whatever we want.”
But, don’t be deceived, God is not mocked. What you sow is what you will reap.
To put it simply: are you planting for YOUR future, or the future of the Kingdom of God?
Regardless, do not be surprised at what shows up in your life, for YOU are the one who planted the seed.