As followers of Jesus Christ, we often talk about the consequences of sin, and what not to do or be. God’s Word, the Bible, is very clear about this.
However, in our war against sin in our lives, we must also recognize the rewards of choosing to sin, and the “punishment” that we will have to go through by choosing not to sin.
What kind of crazy talk is that??
The writer of Hebrews uses Moses’ life to illustrate the consequences of choosing not to sin:
“By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.” (Hebrews 11:24-26 NIV)
What rewards were awaiting Moses if he chose to sin? All the riches of Egypt! Honor among the top Egyptian leaders, wealth without limits, education with the top scholars of his day, all the sensual pleasures he wanted. Many people would be extremely envious of Moses’ opportunities, and would sell their soul to live that life. Can you feel the compelling, all-consuming pull of the rewards of sin in your heart?
This passage also makes it clear that Moses suffered consequences by choosing not to sin: alienation, mistreatment, and disgrace, not to mention having many doors of opportunity closed to him. This included living in poverty vs. wealth, chasing dumb sheep around the desert rather than discussing national policy with the top minds of Egypt, and subsistence living off the land rather than dining at Pharaoh’s table.
And the enemy loves to hold out the same enticements to us – the “gold ring” to forsake everything so we can claim it, and have a life of comfort and convenience. But we have to sell our soul to obtain it.
Following Christ as His disciple is not easy, and is not for the timid or weak of heart. It requires self-denial, self-discipline, hard choices, and pain. Jesus sums it up this way:
“… Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”
(Luke 9:23 NIV)
Sometimes the battle for our hearts and minds feels overwhelming, and it’s so tempting to give up and live the “easy life” rather than fight against sin in our lives. Jesus offers us this encouragement:
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
(John 16:33 NIV)
Moses set a great example for us, and chose God’s eternal reward rather than the fleeting pleasures of sin.
What choices will you and I make today? By God’s grace, may we choose wisely like Moses.