One of the accumulated ironies of aging is the recognition that, though we pursue worldly delights with less energy and inclination, we realize that sin is more than just vice with vigor. It’s still merrily manufactured in our most secret core, hidden from public view but marketing itself in a clever new package designed to woo the middle-aged miscreant.
Take, for instance, the command that we do good works to glorify our Father in heaven.
I do enjoy doing good.
And I do pray, with as much sincerity as a redeemed, sanctified-but-still-struggling human can, that I do these things to the glory of God.
But even as this prayer is in my heart and on my lips, my sin factory has distracted me with a shiny display shelf chock full of ME. So clever, so consumer-savvy is my sin that before I realize it I’m reaching for ME. I’m filling my cart with ME.
Again the genius. It isn’t tempting me to do anything like, say, steal candy from the PDQ or smoke a cigarette behind the barn or flirt with a gentleman I have no business flirting with. It most definitely isn’t tempting me to NOT perform the good thing. And it even convinces me that I want to give God the glory.
The sales pitch to this consumer is subtle.
“Do this, give God the glory, and maybe, if you play it right, some of that glory will bounce back onto you. Maybe you’ll be shining a little more brightly because of this.”
Oh, sin has done its research into my brand loyalty.
ME is my favorite brand.
In the face of such clever ploys I’m pretty helpless. No sales resistance.
Such a relief to have a Savior in charge of the purse strings. He hurries me along past ME. He reminds me of all the other times I bought into ME and was disappointed.
And when I still snatch a pack of ME He doesn’t charge it to my account.
He says “I’ve got this’ and shows the ‘PAID FOR’ receipt in a nail-pierced hand.