It was a beautiful fall afternoon. I was lounging on the patio, celebrating the sunshine with a glass of iced tea.
My chocolate Labrador, Lucy, on the other hand, was doing anything BUT lounging. Normally, she lounged nonstop, but the minute someone walked outside, she was up and at it.
Today, her mission was annihilating every frog on the premises. It didn’t matter that the frogs were minding their own business under the shed, out of sight; Lucy wanted the frogs dead.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I hate frogs. They are ugly and make me do weird things, but since frogs consume spiders and mosquitoes and gnats and flies, I say: Let the frogs live.
But not Lucy. Lucy couldn’t have cared less what the frogs were doing under the shed. She wanted them out and destroyed. It wasn’t just a desire of hers; it was a need. And the more I hollered, “Bad dog!” the more urgent the need became.
Kind of like children, isn’t it?
Tell them they can’t do something and, suddenly, they need to do it. Tell them they can’t have something and, suddenly, they need to have it. The more their parents say no, the more urgent their need becomes.
Regrettably, it’s like some adults, too.
They have everything they need—a house, a car, a spouse, beautiful children and even God—yet they aren’t content.
Regardless of how silly it is, they want the frogs under the shed, you might say. And in their ruthless quest to capture the forbidden, friends are decieved, children are disappointed and marriages are torn apart. But the would-be conquerors don't care. The forbidden is all that matters.
Finally, one day, the ruthless pursuers get what they want. The frogs are all theirs to do with as they please, and life is one big barrel of forbidden fun.
But after a period of time (in Lucy’s case, a few minutes) the frogs don't jump anymore. They don't thrill anymore. They just leave a nasty taste in the conqueror’s mouth. The pursuit is over, the prize is tarnished and all that remains is a stench.
In his New Testament epistle, James explains it like this: “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”
His next sentence is a plea of sorts: “Do not err, my beloved brethren.”
In other words, James is saying, “Leave the forbidden alone, dear friends of mine. It’ll only disappoint and leave you empty.” ♦
This article appeared in Signs of the Times magazine.
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