Wouldn’t you love it if you could just take a step into your future? Maybe your future relationship or marriage, and like what you see when you got there? You have the power to protect your future by choosing to live carefully right now and train for the marriage or relationship you might not yet be in. Sex and romance are not peripheral to your life, they are of life-and-death importance.
The good news is, you can arrive at the future that you hope for. But there is a flip side of this coin, too. It is also possible to do things now that will cause you to get to a future you don’t like when you get there.
Meet Esau. He did this. He’s a dude in the Bible, (a very hairy dude, we’re not sure what the deal is with that, but we’re told he’s really hairy) who made a decision, in a moment, that kept him from being able to get somewhere that he really wanted to go. In Hebrews 12:16 it says “Watch out for the Esau syndrome: trading away God’s lifelong gift in order to satisfy a short term appetite.”
What trade did he make, you’re asking? A little context would probably help for us to see what’s at stake here. Long story short, Esau was the grandson of a very famous man in the bible named Abraham. Abraham was given some ridiculous, extraordinary, massive, and impossible promises. God promised that through Abraham’s descendants He was going to bring a Messiah, a Savior, the hero of all possible heroes. (Hello!) So when Abraham had his first son, Isaac, this promise from God was passed on to him, as he was next in the bloodline. Then Isaac had two sons, twins. One named Jacob, and one named Esau. Even though they were twins, Esau was born moments earlier making him the firstborn, meaning the inheritance and the promises from God were now passed onto him. So, a lot is at stake here!
Here’s the kicker… Esau did not end up experiencing any of the things promised to him as the firstborn. He gave up all that God wanted to do in and through his life. So, I’m sure you’re wondering… what did he get for it? He must have gotten something pretty awesome in return, right? Not so much. He got… you ready?…a bowl of soup. That’s a really bad deal, this guy is not a good negotiator. But that is how it went down in Genesis 25.
Esau comes in one day from a hunting trip, he’s hungry and his brother is cooking. First, you have to know, Jacob and Esau, they were cut from a different cloth. Jacob is on Nordstrom.com, he’s shopping, he’s on Pinterest. Esau, he was like straight Cabela’s, you know what I’m saying? He’s like REI, he’s Field & Stream, he’s covering himself in elk urine, the whole deal. They had different tastes in everything. And when Esau came in from his hunting trip and smelled the soup Jacob was cooking, he got super hungry and he said, “let me have some of that soup.” Jacob realized he could leverage this moment, and he said, “I’ll give you some of this soup…but you’ve got to give me something in exchange for it…”
So in that moment, Esau signs on the dotted line giving Jacob everything God had promised to do in his life, he gave up being in the new testament, he gave up being in the bloodline of Jesus Christ, and he ate the soup in an impulsive act.
Now, it would be easy to pile on the guy, making him sound like a savage, and a barbarian, and an idiot, but what we should really see here, is that both you and I are capable of doing exactly what Esau did. Trading, in minutes, what we would regret for decades. The enemy, somewhere in some kitchen, has a pot of soup simmering. And it will be served up at the perfect time. Ladled into a dish, presented with culinary perfection, offered to you when you’re at your lowest, when you’re feeling unloved, when you’re feeling like your needs have not been met, when you’re worn down, stressed out, or anxious. And in that moment, when the steamy stew hits your nose, you will feel like all of your happiness is attached to what’s in that dish, and any notion of some far-off promise of how God wants to use you is going to seem so distant, so opaque, so unreal, and so undesirable.
I’m writing all this to tell you– you don’t want what the devil’s got in his Crock-Pot. He’s slow cooking the death of your calling. Don’t trade what you want most for what you want right now.
Know this: When your stomach gets empty, your standards get lower. That’s why it’s such a colossal mistake to go grocery shopping on an empty stomach. I’ve learned that lesson the hard way. I’ve come home with a cart full of Ben and Jerry’s, and my wife is like, “I asked you to get eggs…” but I was just so hungry that I made bad choices.
Do you think Jacob would have gotten Esau to make this deal if he would have approached him at the table after a full breakfast? And so it is for you. If you’re unclear about your calling, it will cause you to put a lower value on yourself than you deserve.
The devil has tremendous timing. He’ll make sure to show up with temptation just when you and your boo have had a fight, or just when there’s been friction at work, or just when something’s gone wrong. He’ll swoop in with some comfort sin that’s just the thing to cheer you up. But when you know who you are, you’re not going to let anyone else tell you what you’re worth. If you are full of God’s word and your hands are busy doing God’s work, guess what? You’re not going to have the space or the time to fall for these things that the enemy wants to put in your life.
Now if you’re like, “you keep talking about my identity, my calling– what do you mean?” Oh, did no one ever tell you? You’re a child of the King of Kings. You’re a son or daughter of the Emperor of all eternity. He is the Maker of the ends of the Earth, and you’re His adopted child, you’re royalty. I dare you to wake up every day, look yourself in the mirror and say, “I am chosen, I am loved, I am called, I am equipped.” Because you are!
It can be a hard thing to do, making choices right now for a far-off future, because now yells louder, but later lasts longer. Instant gratification will keep you back from ultimate satisfaction.
So when you’re tempted to do something that could take you away from where God wants you to go, that could take you away from the marriage experience He wants you to have one day, that could take you away from what your children, who aren’t even born, are going to one day walk in — just slow it down for a second, and in all you do, think follow through.
Excerpted with permission from Swipe Right by Levi Lusko, copyright Levi Lusko.