My mom has not owned a microwave oven in twenty years. She once got an apartment that came with a microwave; she unplugged it and put it in the laundry room. When she cooks, she cooks on the stove or in the oven. If she has leftovers and wants to reheat them she puts them in the oven or in a pot on the stove.
I, on the other hand, have always had a microwave. I love them and don’t really want to know a life without them. Microwave popcorn, microwave desserts, microwave dinners. Have you ever cooked popcorn on the stove? Uh, pain. I don’t want to wait 45 minutes for a baked potato, I want to wait 7 minutes. I don’t want to make and bake a whole cake, I want to put a few ingredients in a mug and microwave it for one minute. Here’s a site if you want to pause for a treat: 13 Easy Microwave Mug Cakes
Then there’s Spotify. In my life Spotify is to music what a microwave is to food. But it’s also a reminder of a desperate desire to feed my appetite for immediate self-gratification. In Galatians 5:19-21 we read a laundry list of sins:
Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these.
When I look at these sins I see a common thread running through them all: they all feed off of a desire for immediate self-gratification. They all suffer from a lack of patience and an abundance of pride. The same sinful desire that makes a person jealous, or divisive, or impure, or sexually immoral is the same sinful desire that makes me want the entire world of music available to me at the push of a button. I don’t want to buy every CD or song that I might ever care to have I just want every CD or song I can think of available to me now, now, now, now….give me, give me, give me, give me….more, more, more, more.
This is how the Bible says it:
So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.
She saw it, she wanted it, now. God said not to, but it looked so good and they wanted to eat it, they wanted the knowledge, they wanted to be like God, NOW. And every time I search some obscure album that I would never spend my money on, but I’ll listen to it, because I can, I’m reminded that in my heart, I am just like them…I don’t want to save up and buy the album, I want to listen to it now. I don’t want to heat up leftovers for 30 minutes, I want them hot and ready now. I want everything I want and I want it all now.
So what is the answer to my (our) insatiable desire for immediate self-gratification? Paul tells us to, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. (Gal. 5:16) Why is that? Because the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Gal. 5:22-23) So how do we receive the Spirit? When we heard the word of truth, the gospel of our salvation, and believed in him, we were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit. (Eph. 1:13) Have you heard? Have you believed? Yes? If so, then you are sealed and you have received the Holy Spirit and belong to Jesus.
And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires (Gal. 5:24-25) for immediate self-gratification, for having everything they want and more, right now. So, make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires. (Rom. 13:14) Bake a potato in the oven, heat some leftovers the old fashion way (on the stove), and listen to a CD, that you bought, at a store, where you spent money, that you earned.
May we put on Christ and make no provision for the flesh to gratify its desires.
May we live by the Spirit and walk in a manner worthy of the Lord.
May we learn to follow.