Pursuing Desires

She’s content spending each day caring for her calf, grazing, munching a mouthful of hay, or chewing her cud. That is, until Papa shows up with her favorite treat in hand. That’s when “Sopracciglia Bianca” (Italian for “white eyebrows”) loses all control. Whether the scent of the oatmeal cookie or my calling with a cookie in hand, she looks up, mulls it over a few seconds, then gallops over at full speed. The lure of her favorite treat is something she cannot resist. If I allowed her, I think she would eat the entire tray of cookies.

This past Sunday, God used my “Bianca” to remind me of an important truth. When temptation becomes sufficiently appealing to us, it causes our almost involuntary response to sin. Our craving for what appeals to us, even though we recognize it is wrong, is too strong to overcome in our flesh. I understand that as much as we desire not to sin, not to fall into temptation, our human spirit remains within us. While we can control it with self-discipline and Sprit-given self-control, we will not fully conquer it until our human death. In Romans 7:15-18, Paul explains how sin dwells within each of us (Christian and non-Christian). Sin, being a part of our mortal being, enables us to be tempted.

“For what I am doing, I do not understand.
For what I will to do, that I do not practice;
but what I hate, that I do. If, then, I do
what I will not to do, I agree with the law
that it is good. But now, it is no longer I who
do it, but sin that dwells in me. For I know
that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells;
for to will is present with me, but how to perform
what is good I do not find.”
(Romans 7:15-18, NKJV)

I don’t think my new mama cow having an oatmeal cookie is a sin, any more than my affinity for Klondike bars and root beer (sugar free of course). Even simple temptations like these can be dangerous because they can lead us into sin when we give into them. The example before me was how when “Bianca” came for her cookies, she abandoned her calf and left everything behind in her pursuit of her desire. How often have we done the same thing?

Satan battles in a spiritual world of inches. #Temptation #StrongFaith Click To Tweet

Satan employs a long-range strategic plan against Christians. Since he already has the unsaved, it’s easy for him to keep them blinded and distracted. With Christians, especially young/immature Christians, he seeks to derail their faith and make their testimony ineffective. He does so by playing a game I call “The Inches”. Satan seldom puts on the full-court press or throws a hail Mary pass in tempting us to sin. Instead, he initially attempts with little things that seem innocent enough. He convinces us that We’re not hurting anyone, or This isn’t a big sin. In time, we become so accustomed to our “little sins” that we don’t even realize we’re giving ourselves over to his greater control of our lives. Pretty soon, those inches become yards, then grow into miles of distance between us and God.

There is no such thing as a little sin in God’s eyes. #SinIsSin #Temptation #StrongFaith Click To Tweet

When we pursue desires of the flesh, and we all do from time-to-time, we must remember that these human desires can ensnare us in one of Satan’s many traps. Two verses I keep close at hand for those moments when I succumb to temptation are 1 Corinthians 10:13 and James 4:7. Each reminds me that while my flesh is weak (Matthew 26:41), God is my strong tower (Proverbs 18:10) and with His help, I can withstand the temptations I face.

I pray you continue to enjoy those cookies and pursue the desires of your heart, but please remember to ensure your desire aligns with God’s will. When unsure, seek His wise counsel through prayer. Remember too that darkness cannot withstand the light, so when you sincerely seek God’s presence, Satan must flee.

God’s blessings,

Signature

48 thoughts on “Pursuing Desires

  1. I love how the Lord keeps reinforcing His messages to us! You post today was another reminder of what I’m hearing in a current series of The Wake Up Call (formerly The Seedbed Daily Text.) Our human desires can be transformed, but not immediately. It’s a process. But as you’ve stated, we shouldn’t be ensnared into thinking we’ve arrived. Here’s the connection between our desires & delighting in the Lord:
    https://seedbed.com/the-souls-calculus-delight-and-desire/

    1. Thank you so much for sharing this link with us Ms. Dottie; and also your wonderful insights. I agree ma’am. Our sanctification is a lifelong process that continues up to our moment of coming glorification.

  2. I’m always amazed at the lessons your cattle can teach us. You have a gift of insight into gleaning these teaching moments from ranch life. It’s so true we can be enticed one small temptation at a time. We need to remain aware of the traps around us.

    1. Yes ma’am, I have some pretty amazing cattle. 🙂 Of course, it’s the AMAZING God who can use them to teach me. 🙂 Thank you so much, and am glad you appreciated and enjoyed the post ma’am.

  3. Wow! Bianca left her calf, and everything else, behind to get the cookie. Your analogy was spot-on, J.D. No surprise there. Thank you for reminding us of the danger found in “the inches”. Bless you, friend!

    1. Thank You Ms. Cathy. When our desire reaches that place where nothing else matters, we abandon many things (people, careers, reputation, etc.) to get what we think we want so badly. Often, when we get it, we find that what we gave up was worth much more than what we got, isn’t it? Sin always: 1) Takes us farther than we want to go, 2) Involves, and often harms, people we never meant to involve or harm, 3) Costs us more than we ever wanted to pay.

  4. J.D., interesting to me is that we both wrote on the topic of sin today. I’m thinking that perhaps we don’t give it as much thought as we should. May we be mindful of the little inches and slow but steady slide.

    1. Yes ma’am. I thought that same thing when I read your post Ms. Joanne. Down here, we call that “A Jesus Thang”. 🙂 I think perhaps, it’s a message He wants us to hear my friend.

  5. Great reminder about the balance we must seek between the work we’re here to do and the delights available to us.

    In these October days featuring pumpkin cream cheese pastries at every turn, I can certainly relate to Bianca.

  6. You did it again, J.D. In characteristically soft spoken, unassuming, Cross-Dubya fashion, lured us in with your oatmeal cookie story and proceeded to wade right into our personal stuff and trample all over what has become a devastating tendency in the prevailing “church culture” in America. So many “Christian leaders” seem to have embraced the Satan-inspired notion that to suggest that our natural inclinations could be considered “sin” would sound way too radical. They seem to think that saying such things openly is not only fraught with the unacceptable risk of offending someone, and making them feel unsafe, but they could appear unsupportive of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Even worse, “sin” could be declared to be a “trigger-word.” Using it could be considered hate speech and it could prompt others to start calling us things like “Religious Racists,” or “Right-Wing, Christian Supremacists”.

    Well… though I may not look at my oatmeal cookies quite the same anymore, thank you for another inspirational reminder that we haven’t run out of courageous warriors yet. God bless you for delivering yet another down-to-earth lesson I needed to hear from a perspective I never expected.

    1. Much too kind sir, but thank you for your encouraging and insightful words. I agree that there is a large amount of apostasy in today’s church, but God’s word warns us this was coming. Having the courage to stand strong in the face of false teaching to those who have “itching ears” is something we will be judged for. I pray we will both be firmly on the side of the entirety of God’s Word.

  7. J.D., with Bianca as an example, it’s easy to see ourselves lunging toward what we want. Satan uses crafty schemes to sway us, but as you pointed out, God equips us to stand firm. Thank you for wise reminders.

  8. I could so relate to your analogy here with Bianca and her favorite cookie, J. D. We are so prone to bolt headlong into something we desire, not stopping to question whether or not it’s the correct or Godly choice. Sin is just a misstep away, one that Satan would love for us to take. You’ve reminded us here to pray in ALL situations before moving forward.
    And I DO love oatmeal cookies!!!
    Blessings!

  9. Apostasy in the church is rampant today. Their “oatmeal cookies” tempt us away, inch by inch, from the true gospel and the meat of the Word. Beware of churches with beautiful contemporary music and sermons that contain no gospel message, no mention of the word “sin,” and no cross inside or outside the building. May God grant us wisdom and discernment in these last days to not fall into deception. Thanks for a valuable lesson inspired by your sweet Bianca! Have a blessed week, my friend.

    1. There is today, and I believe has been for the last several decades (since the 60s), apostate churches. Your description seems to be so true. The fancier the “floor show” and the meat of the message are good indications sometimes. We don’t all have to worship is small clapboard churches with only an old piano and hymnals, but we all MUST worship and teach in God’s truth! Amen Ms. Karen.

  10. J.D., “oatmeal cookies” appeal to us, don’t they? You’ve shared such a strong picture of the way the Enemy leads us away from truth. It’s in the compromise our faith begins to suffer. So good!
    Blessings,
    Tammy

    1. Oh, we surely do Ms. Tammy. I’m so glad you took this view of my post. It’s when we start to compromise our lives that we give ground to Satan that isn’t his to take. I can’t imagine that any church ever sits out to be a Sardis, Laodecia, Pergamum, or Thyatira [sic}. Yet, many have slowly moved toward those fates. “Help us to have a strong faith that cannot be moved Lord.”

  11. Bianca’s craving for oatmeal cookies is such a good analogy for how sin can overtake us! Thank you for an important spiritual lesson from the Cross Dubya!

  12. What a good analogy. What’s hardest for me is when a thing isn’t wrong in itself, like a cookie. But too many of them, or at the wrong time, or abandoning other responsibilities for them, like dear Bianca, can make them wrong choices. Like you say, it’s the “inches” we give in to all too easily, and before we know it, we’ve stepped far from where we should be.

    I didn’t know cows ate oatmeal cookies, either. 🙂

    1. Exactly Ms. Barbara. It isn’t always that something is “wrong” in itself, it’s when that “something” becomes an idol in our lives. That “little thing” grows more and more important to us that we abandon other things to have it. Great thoughts ma’am. Well said!

  13. As a cookie lover (and many other sweets), I completely understood Bianca’s rush across the pasture to get her treat. But the real message of your blog cut right to the chase. I’ve been guilty of being trapped in the “Inches” plan of the devil. We think, “I’ll do this one thing–it’ll be okay…” And then there’s another and another… I’ve been there, trapped in the cycle of wants and actions that are not in God’s will (and I didn’t ask Him because I knew they weren’t His will). Thank you for this thought provoking message, my friend, to help us look deep.

  14. Such a great example for us to ponder. Sin can look very tempting and draw our attention from everything else in life. It is a very important message for all of us. Thanks for sharing

  15. Another great post, J.D. I love the story of the oatmeal cookie. 🙂 And I’ve never thought of your perspective before, “The Inches”. But oh how true. Satan leaves the blinded and lost alone, instead he comes after the ones of us who want to pursue righteousness. But when we realize his tactics and stay familiar with God’s Word, allowing the Holy Spirit to give us power over temptation, we can grow more and more to resist and overcome.

  16. I am studying the armor of God, and the lesson described how every time I yield to temptation, it gives Satan a brick to build a wall of separation between me and God. I have to keep seeking Holy Spirit power to overcome because I am an overcomer because of Christ.

    1. What a great way to think about how failing to overcome temptation works; it’s another brick in the wall that divides us from God. Like “the inches”, in time we can get so separated He becomes difficult to see. Then, one day, you stop looking at all. Amen Ms. Joanna. Sounds like a pretty good study you’re going through ma’am. Prayers.

  17. So true, J.D. “Pretty soon, those inches become yards, then grow into miles of distance between us and God.” And if we get to that point, it’s harder to find our way back. Though not impossible.

    1. So very true Ms. LuAnn. While not impossible, the further we distance ourselves, the more difficult the journey. Yet, I am reminded that even the longest journey begins with the first step. Each day we take that step, we become closer to God.

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