It seems we are living in a world that demands instant gratification. If you doubt that just look at some of the readily available information concerning debt in the USA. The website Debt.org breaks consumer debt down into four main categories: Home (mortgage), auto, student loans, and credit cards. All those types of credit allow people to get something now and pay for it later. Here is what was reported by cnbc.com on July 8, 2021:
U.S. credit card debt hit an all-time high of $930 billion
- Debt surpassed the $870 billion peak during the 2008 financial crisis
- Credit card delinquency rates increased 16% from the prior quarter to 5.32%.
- Younger Americans (18 to 29) have a 76% higher delinquency rate than anyone else
Delinquency rates for credit cards — which are the portion of payments late 90 days or more — also rose to 5.32%, up from 5.16% from the prior quarter.
“The data also show that transitions into delinquency among credit card borrowers have steadily risen since 2016, notably among younger borrowers,” Wilbert Van Der Klaauw, senior vice president at the New York Fed, said in the press release.
The youngest Americans (18 to 29) suffer the highest delinquency rates of 9.36%. That’s 76% higher than the total average credit card delinquency rate.
Older Americans (50+) have delinquency rates below 5%, which tends to track with their increased wealth compared to younger generations.
Although some credit purchases are obviously necessary to meet an immediate need it is apparent that many will sacrifice future comfort and gains for immediate gratification of a whim or pleasure.
Another indicator of the pursuit of instant gratification is to be found in the number of people who will sacrifice an eternity of bliss in heaven for a short time of pleasure in this life. Witness the proliferation of the acceptance and approval of “alternative lifestyles.” There was a time when those who engaged in such activities kept their deeds and life choices out of public view. Why? Because they knew that giving in to such lusts and temptations condemned their eternal soul to an eternity of punishment in a hell prepared for the devil and his angels (Matthew 25:41).
It is true that there is no one sin that is any “worse” than another sin. All sin leads to condemnation. As the apostle plainly stated, “The wages of sin is death…” (Romans 6:23). He did not specify any one sin. All sin leads to death. However, it would seem that many today try to justify their sinful lifestyle by claiming, “God made me like this. Surely He would not condemn me for following the urges He gave me.”
Yes, God made you, but He also gave you the power to choose. All people face temptation of some kind. For some the temptation might be sexual. For others it might be the temptation to steal or kill. For still others it might be the temptation to lie or cheat. Either of those could claim, “But God made me like this.” Does that excuse and justify engaging in any of those activities? Certainly not! Additionally, whether we use it or not, there is always a way to escape the temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13).
Some have argued that Jesus never addressed sexual sins. Nothing could be further from the truth. In Matthew 5:32 and 19:9 Jesus is recorded as stating that if a man divorces his wife for any reason other than her committing “sexual immorality” (fornication – KJV) and marries another he commits adultery. The word Jesus used that is translated “sexual immorality” is porneia, defined as illicit sexual intercourse: adultery, fornication, homosexuality, lesbianism, intercourse with animals etc.: sexual intercourse with close relatives; sexual intercourse with a divorced man or woman;1
Furthermore, He promised His apostles that He would send them a “Helper” (the Holy Spirit) who would “guide you into all truth” (John 16:13). It is on that basis that the apostle Paul issued this condemnation to the Christians in Rome and Corinth: For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.2
Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.3
Satan wants to share. He wants you in his camp. He wants you to experience the same punishment that is reserved for him. In order to get you where he wants you he will use any and every ruse he can, including misquoting, misusing, and misapplying God’s word. When the serpent approached Eve in the Garden of Eden he quoted God “almost” exactly. Concerning the one forbidden fruit God had said, “… for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Genesis 2:17). The serpent said to Eve, “You will not surely die” (Genesis 3:4). Only one word was changed, but what a change was wrought!
Yes, we face trials (James 1:2-4). Yes, we are tempted. But those who endure the temptation are blessed (James 1:12). Neither can we blame God for our temptations. He does not tempt anyone but we are tempted when our own desires draw us away. Giving in to and acting upon those desires is what gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death (James 1:14, 15).
Remember: Submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you (James 4:7).
1 Strong, J. (1995). Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon. Woodside Bible Fellowship.
2 The New King James Version. (1982). (Rom 1:26–27). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
3 The New King James Version. (1982). (1 Cor 6:9–10). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
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