This line sets the ‘stage’ for my latest musing. A very famous phrase from the film The Graduate, (a big favourite of mine) directed by Mike Nichols, with lead actor Dustin Hoffman. My focus is not on the main plot of the film, a young man who is seduced by an older woman and then proceeds to fall in love with her daughter – but more on the sub-plot, the power of seduction which renders us helpless to its pleasures.
What am I getting at? You walk into a department store to purchase one item – but between the perfectly pleasant store clerk who insists you try this or that on and the beautifully packaged and displayed (not what you came for) items, you are swept up into this euphoria of options and you just want them all! Or you step into a supermarket armed with your shopping list and a no nonsense attitude (absolutely no baked goods) – but the first thing that hits you is the smell of cinnamon that pours on that old nostalgic feeling, the longed for home cooked meal topped with freshly baked cinnamon and apple pecan bread pudding. You suddenly find yourself heading to the baked goods isle with the shelf of cupcakes and pudding your target.
This is no joke or story telling – They have all conspired to seduce us, and like these crafty retailers, it’s the same way that the devil lures us in, using sinful pleasures which we foolishly treat as “little habits” we believe we can quit… Like the pleasure that comes after: the first time you lied and got away with it; or your first masturbation; the first time you had sex out of marriage and the misguided hope or false joy of being asked to do it again; or calling in sick from work knowing you took the day to chill; or buying too much of anything just because you can, and the list goes on and on.
The truth is, and I know you already know this, although we have the power to choose not to sin, we can never stop on our own. Only the ever permeating power of Jesus can save us. What we must do, though we often don’t, is be prepared to walk away or run for our lives. Turn off the TV or computer, sever that relationship or just hang up the phone, and allow Jesus, through His Holy Spirit work on cleaning us up fortifying our resistance to sin.
The bible warns us to vigorously resist the first attacks of sinful seduction – if we do not resist it in the beginning; it rapidly gains strength and force its way into our souls. Once there, it takes possession of our heart and every day, searches for ways to satisfy its cravings. Sin is nasty, ugly and messy, a faceless empty black hole of never fulfilled needs which is beautifully packaged as long awaited solutions which only serve a temporary fix.
One of the main reasons we often fall into this trap is that we are never ever content. We may actually be happy for a little while but it doesn’t last. Someone else or something else will come along and drain the contentment from our lives.
“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.” 1 Corinthians 10:23-24
Be content with all the things God has given you. “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” 2 Peter 1:3