Sneaking Pleasure

Proverbs 21:6 NRSV
The getting of treasures by a lying tongue
is a fleeting vapor and a snare of death.

Most of us don’t see ourselves as getting treasures through lies. Likely we work at not lying and are very convicted when we choose to lie. However, because we are sinners, we sin. And I would propose that there are times that we hide what we do in an effort to get comfort from the suffering we experience. In other words, there are things we would prefer to do in the darkness, alone, without others watching that we might not do so readily in the presence of others (particularly other brothers and sisters in Christ).

We sneak that snack that we know isn’t good for us. We sneak an hour to play video games when we should be ministering to our families. We sneak a purchase at the mall when we know there are bills clamoring to be paid. We sneak a flirtation at work and call it innocent. We sneak an extra hour in bed when we know we should get up and seek the Lord in study and prayer. We sneak a catty remark about someone who’s hurt us when we should be forgiving.

All this to say that when we choose the lesser path in hopes of getting some good feelings for ourselves, we may very well be lying to ourselves in an effort to get the “treasures” of feeling good. And scripture tells us that this has two characteristics: (1) it is fleeting, and (2) it leads to death.

I struggle with food addiction. And if I’m totally honest, there are other “addictions” (in the way of habitual sinful behaviors) with which I struggle. But these behaviors all have one thing in common: they exist to “comfort” me when I am angry, frustrated, bored, even tired. Rather than turning to the Lord (which I do far less than I should), I turn to these activities which stimulate the pleasure centers in my brain and “reward” me through good feelings . . . for the moment. But the feelings are fleeting and I often have to return again and again to the behavior in order to block the suffering from which I’m fleeing (anger, boredom, rejection, fatigue).

I lie to myself when I believe that such behaviors are the solution to my hurts. They, in fact, simply add to the problem. Even if they add simply the delay of applying myself to the duty that beckons. They add to the problem. And I’m left with more suffering than that with which I began.

The problem often, for me at least, is that I would rather grasp the pleasures of this world than take on the yoke that the Lord Jesus has for me. And yet, I would find greater peace, greater joy in His arms than in such worthless pursuits: “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” Matthew 11:29-30 NKJV). I need to take the Bible at its word. Treasures gained through lying—even if that lie is to myself—are fleeting and lead to death. I need to learn to seek the treasures that only come at the foot of the cross of Christ.