One of the best ways to battle sin in the moment is to think about its consequences in the distance.
This is the heartbeat of a simple phrase in Proverbs 5:11, nine words that form the fateful condition of those who refuse to fight sexual sin: “and at the end of your life you groan.”
With stark imagery, Solomon warns us that refusing to listen to God’s words and, instead, chasing the enticing temptations of sexual sin will ultimately lead to complete “consummation” (5:11) and “utter ruin” (5:14). There’s no fairy tale ending for those who stray from following the Lord; the end destination is “bitter” (5:4), even if the temporary rest stop is sweet.
Pondering sin’s ultimate destruction can help us resist its initial deceitfulness. Without a doubt sin always promises more than it can deliver. It is always a mirage; a bait and switch. It thrives on smoke and mirrors. When tempted, tell yourself this truth repeatedly, no matter how luring the lying trap.
The writer of Hebrews penned a similar thought when he recounted Moses’ decision to align himself with God’s people instead of Pharaoh, reminding us that Moses chose “to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin” (11:24). It appears Moses was willing to embrace short-term pain for long-term gain. He considered the endgame of sin, and concluded it wasn’t worth the price. He was right, and the Red Sea would echo his decision.
Satan and sin, however, want you to do the opposite. They desire you plunge into seeking short-term gain, all the while knowing that in the end you’ll experience long-term pain. That’s always what sin leaves; its residue is always an end of life that groans.
As you wage war against sin today, think about your life in 10 years. 20 years. 40 years. What will it be like later if you give in this time? Next time? Every time? Never underestimate the exchange you’re making when you sin. Adam’s one moment of pleasure has resulted in millennia of pain.
How much better to say ‘no’ to sinful, partial satisfaction in the immediate for divine, full fulfillment in eternity. Live with long-distance eyes, seeing what assuredly matters most, not just what seemingly matters now.