Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made a richly ornamented robe for him. When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him. Genesis 37:3&4
By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. Hebrews 11:24&25
There was a popular song in the ‘80s which offered this line as part of its refrain:
so I guess I’ll just believe it,
that tomorrow never comes
This song expresses the cunning allure of sin. This corresponds to
the first form of sin’s deceitfulness that was mentioned in the last
post: that a particular sin will be satisfying and will do no harm. If
your children believe the lie that getting instant relief from their
discomfort is ultimate, then they will be bound by the power of sin.
When you hear your child whine, you are hearing a child who has been
deceived into thinking that life will be better if he gets what he
wants right now. If you put up with whining you are helping him to
continue in slavery to the deceitfulness of sin. Moses rejected the
short-term benefits of worldly pleasure in favor of mistreatment for
God. If Moses had thought only of what was good for the moment, he
would have left the way of faith. That is why James says, “Blessed is
the man who perseveres under trial.”
Immediate gratification is the gateway to a life of slavery.
Understanding this will help your children see how sin deceives them.
Sin feeds on the desire for immediate results. That is why a child can
go from seeming bliss to outrage in an eye blink. One moment everything
is fine. Then he sees his brother with a toy that he wants and he
immediately erupts with a howl that sounds like he is being tortured.
It is not natural for him to think first that he is happy his brother
has a nice toy to play with. Another example is when your daughter
says, “Mommy, I want juice.” Your response of, “Just a minute and I
will get you some,” is met with a pathetic cry. Your child may die of
thirst if you don’t get her the drink right now! This is sin at work.
Teaching your children that sin masquerades as instant gratification is
an important first step to helping them see how sin lies to them. Any
time your children think that they must have something now—they are
probably being deceived by sin.
The anger of Joseph’s brothers in Dothan shows this desire for
instant gratification. When hey saw him coming, they thought only of
their intense irritation with him. They looked for the path of
immediate relief. And so, a deadly plot was formed.
The Scriptures are full of narratives that teach this point. Take
some time to look for the narratives that illustrate the danger of
being controlled by desires. Then go over those passages with your
child in vivid detail. You could reenact the story of Joseph and his
brothers to show where living for the immediate leads.
Think about the tyranny of the immediate, living for the moment. We’ll talk more about this in the next post.