Our modern culture doesn’t like to call anything sin. Especially when it involves something we really desire. Maybe because our culture is so saturated with the idea that self must be pleased. Happiness, self-fulfillment; that is the ultimate goal. Right? Some say that because they have a certain desire that won’t go away and it seems like the only thing that would make them happy – that makes it right. After all, why would God allow me to have this desire if it isn’t right? Why wouldn’t He take it away? I can’t answer all of those questions but these are my thoughts. First, we are all born with a sin nature. Our flesh is born desiring what is sin in God’s eyes. We can’t help ourselves. That is why Jesus came, lived a perfect life and took our place, paying for our sin. He now offers His righteousness in exchange for our sin. He is our way to heaven and eternal perfection. However, what about life on earth for the Christian? Yes, our sin is paid for by Jesus, but we still live in a fleshly body that desires sin. What do we do with those desires? What if a Christian continually desires what is immoral, harmful or empty? What if we feel we can’t be happy without this thing we desire? A person might say, “God made me this way so I am going to live the way He made me.” What if we all did that? How many married men struggle with the desire to have sex with many women? Does that mean he should just live that way? What about the pedophile that says he or she can’t stop the thoughts that come to mind? What if denying self seems like denying happiness? Should we just give in to what looks like our hearts desire? How do we know what is right? We have to have a standard. We need a plumb line. Something we can use as a foundation that doesn’t change. We have that in God’s Holy Word! Whatever our feelings, desires, or temptations may be, God’s Word gives us the standard for right and wrong. To choose to live opposite of His Word because it “feels” like it will make us happy, (After all, doesn’t God want us to be happy?) is to choose to live in rebellion to God. Ultimately, this won’t give us what we long for. Following Christ often means denying self. It means trusting Him with all my desires. Of course, none of us can do that perfectly. We all sin and His blood covers our sin. Nevertheless, to just give in to the flesh, to decide to live in opposition to God’s Word – that will only bring heartache. I believe God is more interested in our eternal glory then in our temporal happiness. Temporal happiness can be a smoke screen keeping us from a joy that transcends human understanding. Joy goes much deeper than happiness. That doesn’t mean a follower of Christ is never happy on earth but it may mean denying ourselves things that seem like happiness. I don’t understand why some have to struggle more than others with certain temptations. I can’t answer those questions. However, I know my foundation is the Word of God. His Holy Bible. Without a standard, without a truth to stand on, each person just does what is right in his own eyes. Do we really want that?