Passions, Dreams and Instant Gratification
2 Timothy 2:22 So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.
When my will is at the center of my decision making, I can justify almost anything. I must follow my dreams. I must be true to myself. I am sure there are those who can follow their dreams to something productive, but for me, following my desires has been profoundly destructive.
The problem, as Paul pointed out in today’s passage, is that my passions are often opposed to that which is right. If I follow my dreams above all, what do I do when my dreams take me down a dark path? Not all of my desires may be wrong, but when I follow what Scott wants, I will, sooner rather than later, find that immediate gratification leads to painful consequences.
I must keep reminding myself of this lesson. I may not struggle with pills today, but I have other defects that promise pleasure now with no payment later.
This is the seductive lie of pursuing our desires. We think we can have instant gratification with no price to pay. We fool ourselves, insisting that we can indulge in just a little bad behavior without causing any harm. Just one more time . . . I’ll change tomorrow . . . Never Again . . .
God does not want to kill our joy and pleasure, rather He longs for us to have lasting, authentic joy. Paul, likewise, insisted that we forgo immediate gratification to pursue lasting purpose and satisfaction in righteousness, faith, love, and peace. How do we do this? We daily, choose not to pursue self and instead choose to pursue God in us.
This is not natural. It is our nature to be selfish, greedy, angry, and anxious. We do not need to live this way though. We do not have to follow our base instincts to pain and shame. We can instead, know joy and pleasure. We need only to make the daily choice to pursue God instead of self.