There’s so much emphasis on personal pleasure and there are so many distractions from what I consider to be most significant in life. Everywhere we turn we are bombarded by the Enemy’s attempts to entice us with the things of this world.
I’m not saying that all these things are bad, but when we start focusing on our perceived needs for such things it blurs Reality.
Early in my business life I considered a career in advertising. Then, the more I looked at the possibilities, the more I realized that I disagreed with the approach used by many advertisers.
And, over the past 30 years, it became obvious that the major thrust presenting the product in a fashion that truly represents its value had become overshadowed with somewhat humorous entertainment and misrepresentations of competitors’ products.
In my opinion, the advertising expenses of many industries are truly out of control.
According to Nielsen, the predominant advertising expense leaders are automotive, fast food restaurants, pharmaceuticals, department stores, wireless telephone services and the alcohol/tobacco industries. These industries are competing for the same dollars and their products are often very similar in price and quality. Their strategy is to use cunning advertising techniques to sway customers to purchase their brand over another.
As an avid golfer, I’m amazed at the present price of new golf equipment, and how many golfers will spend $450 or more just to get their hands on the latest driver to hopefully pick up 10 to 15 yards more distance off the tee.
When you consider that more than half the price can be attributed to advertising and player endorsements, you can see why I get a queasy feeling about the direction of the industry. By the way, there’s also no guarantee you’ll actually gain any distance at all with that new club, but you can show it off to your fellow golfers so they can be envious of your purchase!
So, let’s go to the Bible to get a better handle on the pleasures and distractions of life.
Tell me, can you relate to having your eye on something that has been advertised to the point that you just have to go out and buy one for yourself? It’s easy to justify something we feel we must have as something we really need!
One of the best-known scriptures dealing with this subject is 1 Timothy 6:10. Paul exhorts “For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. Some people eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”
Loving such things is a snare that can draw us away from what is truly important in life.
There’s an interesting account found in 2 Kings 5 that many Christians have possibly never heard. The prophet Elisha was confronted by Naaman, the commander of the army of the king of Aram. “Naaman was a valiant soldier, but he had leprosy.”
In the story we hear that Elisha sent a messenger to instruct Naaman to “Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.” Reluctantly, he finally did as the messenger had instructed him and his leprosy was healed. In appreciation, he attempted to give Elisha a substantial gift that Elisha refused to accept.
Later in the chapter, we find Elisha’s servant, Gehazi, hurrying after Naaman to ask him for a gift for two young men in need of two talents of silver and two sets of clothes, which he planned to take back to his master’s house. Then Elisha confronted Gehazi and he denied he had ever left the house.
In response to his servant’s disobedience Elisha said to him “Naaman’s leprosy will cling to you and your descendants forever.” In the final verse we are told “Then Gehazi left Elisha’s presence and he was leprous, as white as snow.”
In the Bible, leprosy is often considered a representation of sin. When confronted with temptation, do you stand up under it or impulsively succumb to its call?
In 1 Corinthians 10:31, we’re instructed by Paul that “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear, but when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”
There’s not a thing we can do to remove the pleasures and distractions that will always be around us, but we can stand fast and realize they represent the things in this world that we’d be wise to deny.
Keep your eyes on Jesus and the things above!
Passages to Ponder
— Jim Langley has been writing for more than 30 years while working as a life and health insurance agent in Santa Barbara. In recent years, his passion has turned to writing about his personal relationship with God, and his goal is to encourage others to draw near to Him as well. As a longtime member of CBMC of Santa Barbara (Christian Business Men’s Connection), he started writing Fourth Quarter Strategies columns in 2014, and he now reaches an international audience through the CBMC International devotional Monday Manna. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.