“Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12
Becoming a Christian is a very serious choice. As I said before, no one can serve two masters, and to follow Christ is to forsake the desires of the flesh. “Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.” (James 1:4b)
It’s actually a very good trade-off. God promises us a lot if we stick with Jesus till the end. Psalm 2:8 says, “Ask of me and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession.” Psalm 8:5 says, “You made [man] a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.” In Matthew 6:33 Jesus, speaking of food and clothes, says “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you as well.” And finally in Deuteronomy 30:19 God says, “This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.”
The Bible couldn’t make it more clear that Jesus = Rewards. The problem is that those rewards seem so distant. And let’s be honest, sometimes sin can look incredibly attractive.
So we are daily presented with a choice: Will we choose the promise of things yet to come that are too wonderful to imagine, or will we choose the temporary pleasure of what Satan dangles in front of our noses?
James urges us, “Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” With faith that God will give us good gifts, we must close our eyes to the desires of the flesh. Then, as John Piper says, we will not even consider the pleasures we gave up on earth to be a sacrifice when we see what God has prepared for us in heaven.