I was recently reading a sermon written and delivered over 100 years ago in Manchester, England, on the nature of “The Old man’ that is replaced by the “new creation” when we accept Christ. This is the part of each one of us human beings that, although it is no longer fundamentally “us” after we are saved, nevertheless flirts with us still each day to return to it and its ways. Before we became joined with Jesus, we were slaves to this nature – we had no choice but to obey its demands. The difference now is that it holds no power over us other than what we choose to give it. We are free in Christ, but even free men and women are able to ignore the voice of our Chief shepherd and seek our old ways that can be more comfortable because they are more familiar… and yet those ways will always be deceitful, because they will never fulfill like they promise to. The following is excerpted from the above mentioned sermon… perhaps you’ll find it interesting.
“These desires are, as it were, the tools and instruments by which deceit betrays and mocks men; the weapons used by illusion and lies to corrupt and mar the soul. They are strong, and their nature is to pursue after their objects without regard to any consequences beyond their own gratification; but, strong as they are, they are like the blinded Samson, and will pull the house down on themselves if they be not watched. Their strength is excited on false pretences. They are stirred to grasp what is after all a lie. They are “desires of deceit.”
Nothing is more certain than that no man will get the satisfaction that his ruling passions promise him, by indulging them. It is very plain that the way never to get what you need and desire, is always to do what you like. And that for very plain reasons. Because, for one thing, the object only satisfies for a time. Yesterday’s food appeased our hunger for the day, but we wake hungry again. And the desires which are not so purely animal have the same characteristic of being stilled for the moment, and of waking more ravenous than ever. ‘He that drinketh of this water shall thirst again.’ Because, further, the desire grows and the object of it does not. The fierce longing increases, and, of course, the power of the thing that we pursue to satisfy it decreases in the same proportion… And so, the longer I go on feeding my desire, the more I long for the food; and the more I long for it, the less taste it has when I get it…” -- Alexander Maclaren, 1905
The tough thing about faith is believing that the narrow, windy road God directs your life down will, in the end, actually satisfy your deepest longings and bring you the life of fullest contentment that the “desires of deceit” promise a shortcut to on that other, wide road. Remember -- nothing worthwhile is easy.