“Bad things in life are enjoyed first and paid for later, but good things in life are paid for first and enjoyed later.”
Good morning! About five minutes ago my youngest son, Chance, earned the opportunity to pay for something he had enjoyed a few moments earlier. You see, just as I was preparing to sit down at my desk to write this blog, I was greeted with a cacophony of giggles followed by corresponding screams!
As I raced from my desk to the living room, sure enough, there was my Chance perched on top of his younger sister Cherish administering some form of childish torture. I proceeded to spank Chance and requested my wife Lori to administer the necessary “discussion” so that I could return quickly to my work.
What I know for sure by now is this: my son – though only six – understands that he will have to “pay” for being overly rough with his sister. I know this because Chance and Cherish (4 years herself) have a long history of fighting with each other. And pretty much every time this occurs, Lori or I wind up spanking Chance. So, although Chance knows the consequences for his behavior, he still chooses to enjoy fighting with his sister.
This is a simple, albeit silly, example of today’s truth. Bad things in life are always paid for after they are enjoyed. And conversely, good things are paid for, or earned, prior to being enjoyed.
Going back to my illustration, Chance chose to engage in the sin of fighting with his sister prior to having to pay for that sin by being spanked. So we see that the sin occurred first, and then the “payment” occurred afterwards.
Suppose Lori and I were to offer Chance a deal. We would promise him that if he is kind and gentle with his sister for one whole month he would be rewarded with a trip to Chuck E Cheese’s. This reward could be considered “a good thing”. Notice that in this hypothetical situation, Chance had to “pay” first before he could reap his reward. In this case he would “pay” by displaying good behavior and resisting the temptations to be rough with his “seester.”
So it is with life in the Spirit. Good things are paid for first and enjoyed later. Sacrifice is always rewarded, selfishness always reaps ruin of some sort. Sin requires a payment, and that wage always comes after the sin. The Bible is clear in telling us that God is as faithful to chasten us as He is to forgive us our sin. He will not allow His children to wander out of His will without taking reactive measures to straighten it out. Hebrews 12:6 says, “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.”
This verse indicates to us that sin does not go unpunished, or unpaid for. Praise God, our sin once had a huge death penalty payment tied to it. But through Christ, that payment has been paid, rendering our sin no longer punishable by death; but it still warrants consequences. Each and every time we do something in disobedience to God there will be consequences paid or rendered. You will not reap where you have not sowed. My friends, in my lifetime I have seen these payments range anywhere from a mild conviction in the Spirit all the way to a premature death. The scary fact is that we can never guess as to what the consequences of our sin might be.
Remember RU Recovery Principle #9:
We lose our freedom to choose when we give in to temptation. The consequences for our sin are inevitable, incalculable, and up to God.
Conversely, Scripture also tells us that God is faithful to reward our obedience to Him. One thing that we can count on is that God will bless our faithfulness to Him. The confusing part of this is that we cannot always attribute God’s blessings to our faithfulness. God will bless us in ways that are inconspicuous and often in ways that are, unfortunately, taken for granted.
Philippians 1:6 says, “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:” This verse is perhaps the most prolific reference that demonstrates God’s good will. It is important for us to remember that we are Gods workmanship so He has an inherent interest in our well-being.
We have seen that evil is paid for after the fact in what is typically a negative or painful form of chastening, though it bears the peaceable fruit of righteousness. And we also have seen that good works require an advance payment of effort that is paid for beforehand by obedient, sacrificial behavior. What we will come to see, however, is that our payment, by way of “obedient and sacrificial behavior,” will soon no longer feel like a payment, so to speak. Soon we will learn that forsaking sin is actually a blessing in itself! So in effect, good will pay us throughout the entire process!
Remember, if in God’s will, you wish to stray, you will eventually and assuredly pay. But if you abide in Him each day, it is you whom will receive full pay. And pretty soon you will find staying within God’s way is seemingly child’s play. So, start today, avoid the fray and don’t be led astray. You just may receive a hefty pay day!