“What are you doing?” Carl’s brow wrinkled as he caught a glimpse of the image displayed on the computer screen.
Steve jumped. Snapping his laptop closed, he stammered, “Carl. I thought I was the only one working late today. I … I was just finishing up.”
Carl cleared his throat. “Wow. Uhhh, besides the fact that you know the company’s policy on viewing inappropriate websites at work, I know you, man. This isn’t you. Why would you risk your job – not to mention your marriage – by looking at that stuff?”
Looking everywhere but at his co-worker, Steve stuffed the papers on his desk into his briefcase. “It’s … it’s not what you think … I mean, it’s not like I spend a lot of time looking at …” Steve could feel his face, neck, and ears getting hot.
Carl rolled up his sleeves and crossed his arms. “You’ve got some decisions to make, Bud. You need to decide which you want more: your family, your career.” His voice grew a little louder, “Your self-respect, or that stuff – which, even if it’s true that you don’t spend a lot of time looking at it – if you don’t give it up right now, in time it’ll consume you. It’ll destroy everything you’ve worked for – including your family.”
“Stop!” Steve raised his hand. “You’re not my boss – and you’re certainly not my god. I don’t need your approval or permission to do anything. Stay out of my business.”
Carl stared at his long-time friend, mouth open in disbelief. “Steve. Let’s get out of here and grab a bite to eat. We can call Leigh and Sarah to let ‘em know we’ll be late.”
“I can’t call Leigh.” He slumped in his chair, eyes watering. “She took the kids and left … two weeks ago.”
This is a fictitious story to illustrate this week’s verse and the point of my column:
James 1:14-15 (ESV) says,
But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.
We can lose our wits when sin’s grip entangles us. We forget that a few minutes of pleasure isn’t worth the cost – sometimes a lifetime of sorrow. We’d be wise to ask ourselves, “Is there anything that will bring us more satisfaction than purity (a life free from the control of sin)?” I pray our answer will always be …
No. There is absolutely no substitute for purity. None at all.
What about you?
- Does reading James 1:14-15 make you want to rethink some of your choices?
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