We just spent a vacation at Myrtle Beach and I tried to spend some time writing ideas for messages, blogs and such, waiting for God to point me in whatever direction He had in mind, and when He did I admit I was a bit confused, but here goes. Pancakes. Yep, pancakes. The highway here is peppered with stores selling cheap beach wear, toys, souvenirs and such along with an enormous amount of restaurants, mostly of two particular types, Calabash seafood buffets and pancake houses.
Let me start by saying that while I like pancakes, I don’t go out of my way to get them. For me, pancakes are pancakes. But for some reason, maybe the excessive heat and humidity coupled with the promise of cold air conditioning, or possible just the thought that I could find the best pancakes in the world here, I found myself wanting pancakes. Truth be told, it was just the idea of pancakes that results from the successful application of advertising that has me hooked. Everywhere I look here I see the signs for pancakes and well, the advertising was working. I knew that if I was to sit down and eat them, I would be at best full, at worst, disappointed.
Before I offend the true pancake lovers out there, pancakes are not sinful, but my desire for them was not due to hunger,;it was due to the advertising. Being surrounded by temptation is how this world works on us an,d as we get surrounded by things that cause us to give in to desires, we find ourselves looking for justification for giving in and indulging in our desires. The modern world has so much on display to offer us an opportunity to justify and indulge in some things that, while some are the very essence of sin, some may not be very sinful, but they probably aren’t very useful and therefore not very pleasing to God.
The Word is pretty clear here: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2 ESV) “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” (1 John 2:15-17 ESV) “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7 ESV) Pancakes aren’t the only temptation surrounding us though, not by a long shot. No, this world is built around tempting us with sex, with envy, with politics, sports, entertainment, media etc., etc., etc. And today, with the preponderance of social media, we spend more time trying to find whatever approval and justification we need to satisfy these temptations more than ever before.
I know, I’m writing this on an old IPad, very well aware the the newer ones are way better, my old IPhone is acting up (still works fine as a phone) and man, the new ones rock! Have any of you guys looked at the new pickups lately? The temptation to find a reason to spend the money is alive in me, after all I can justify it for my business (see how easy it is), and this is an all day, everyday thing. Paul is pretty plain in Romans on being “conformed to this world”, and his warning is at least as important today as it was in his time, maybe much more so. “Resist” is the word that James uses to instruct us when it comes to the devil, and I’m thinking that if I can train my heart and mind to resist the onslaught of temptation advertising that bombards me, I can, as 1John says “abide forever”. That’s good advertising there!
So for now, I’ll keep on writing on my old IPad, keep on calling on my old IPhone and resist the temptation to give in to the call of the world and driving my old truck. I just may have to have some pancakes, but I need to be assured that I’m having them because I really want them, and not because the temptation of the advertising hooked me like a hungry fish. Sometimes God speaks to me in huge and powerful ways, sometimes He uses His word, sometimes pancakes, either way I’ll keep my heart and my mind focused on Him with the promises He has in store for me. Those aren’t on any billboard, but on my heart.
~ Scott B.