The writer of Hebrews describes the active faith of Moses who refused to rush headlong into the bountiful pleasures of Egypt. Hebrews 11:24–25 states, “By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin.” The word for “enjoy” in the original language means “to cling tightly.” Moses did not want to hold on tightly to the fleeting pleasures of sin although he had every amusement at his disposal. As a member of the royal court of Pharaoh, he could have had all the women, money, food, and delicacies his heart desired. He had every pleasure imaginable at his fingertips. But instead of buying into the deceitfulness of sin, Moses understood that the comfort it offered was only fleeting.
This passage tells us that sin is pleasurable. We would not sin if we did not think it brought us pleasure. Sin feels good. Sin is fun. Sin promises excitement and allures us with the prospect of enjoyment. But these promises are empty. These pleasures of sin are fleeting. They are temporary. They only last for a season. Sin is so deceitful because it tricks us into believing that disobedience is fun. If we are honest with ourselves, we know all too well that sin can be fun. We happily rush into sin because we believe that we will experience ultimate pleasure at that moment. But what does iniquity reap in the end? We experience the crash and burn of this deception when the fleeting pleasure passes. Paul reminds us in Galatians 6:7–8: “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.” Paul warns us not to fall into faulty thinking that sin will bring no real consequences. We do not find this word “mocked” anywhere else in the New Testament and it means “to turn your nose up in contempt or mockery.” You can’t outsmart God and how he has governed the universe with the law of reaping and sowing. There is an unstoppable law that always remains true in agriculture. If you plant corn seeds, you will not reap strawberries. You will receive a harvest of corn. In the same way, in the spiritual realm, you will always reap what you sow. The consequences or the harvest may not be immediate, but the harvest will eventually come.
Here’s the adage: “Sow a thought, reap an act: sow an act, reap a habit; sow a habit; reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny.” This constant sowing to the flesh leads to corruption which in the original language means a rotting corpse that slowly decomposes over time. The more you sow to your flesh, the more sin gradually pollutes your life until eventually, it ends with destruction. What are some examples of sowing to the flesh? Maybe you surf the Internet and find yourself trapped in a hollow world of pornography. Perhaps you struggle with bitterness where you can’t bring yourself to forgive those who have deeply hurt you. Maybe you’re driven by success to climb the corporate ladder at all costs, which makes you irritable around your family. Perhaps it’s an insatiable need to gossip where you lie and backstab to make yourself look better. Maybe it’s a spiral into materialism, greed, and envy where your appetite for stuff has led you into major credit card debt.
We face an enemy who promises a great deal of enjoyment, but in the end, all we receive is destruction. In addition to sin deceiving us with fleeting pleasures, our adversary the devil also tries to hide the consequences of sin from us. Sin fools us into believing that there will be no real damaging consequences for our actions. We may suffer a little discomfort here or there and maybe have a guilty conscience for a while, but the payoff for the pleasures of sin far outweighs whatever consequences we might have to endure. Not only are we blind to the immediate results of sin, but we fail to see the ultimate future repercussions for giving in to this deceptive enemy.
Sin is a ruthless enemy that has resulted from Adam’s fall in the garden. Sin is insidious. It is manipulative, devious, and never rests for a moment. May we all be watchful and not fall into temptation!