It’s one of life’s great treats – pumpkin pie with some Cool Whip on it. Yeah, that’s what I was after when I went to my son’s refrigerator that day. I had cut my piece of pie, and all it was missing was that little white topping of Cool Whip. I foraged around in the fridge until I saw that familiar plastic container with a picture of exactly what I wanted my pumpkin pie to look like. Somewhat mindlessly, I opened that container, stuck my spoon in there, and pulled out the contents. I was just about to decorate my pie with it when I looked at what was on my spoon. It wasn’t Cool Whip. It was gravy, which doesn’t do much for pumpkin pie.

I’m Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about “When the Container Lies to You.”

The container promised me one thing, but what was inside was very different. I didn’t know it was leftovers. That’s an experience every one of us has when we reach for something based on what it was supposed to give us, only to be disappointed when we find out what’s really in there. That deception is, in fact, the very nature of sin. And that’s why we end up with scars and messes we never knew we were going to be part of.

In fact, you may be looking at a temptation right now, maybe you’re even giving into it right now; a temptation that looks promising on the outside. But God is sending you a warning today to let you know the heartache and the hurt that’s on the inside. Sin conceals its ugliness and it conceals its destruction until you’ve already bitten the apple.

The temptation that looks good to you right now may say “pleasure” on the container – “do this,” “it will feel good.” Or maybe the package says “love” – do this and you’ll get some love. The promise may be “relief” – a chance to escape from your hurt, or maybe it says “significance” – do this and you’ll get ahead, you’ll feel important.

But see, God believes in “truth-in-packaging.” He clearly reveals what sin really offers in James 1:15, our word for today from the Word of God. Hear this: “After desire has conceived” – that’s the part where the container really looks good – “it gives birth to sin; and when it is full-grown, it gives birth to death.” That, of course, is not on the container. First, sin fascinates you, and then it assassinates you. It kills your self-respect, it kills people’s trust in you, it kills your close relationships, it kills your freedom, and it kills your closeness to God. Short benefit – long consequences. A sinful way to get something you need or want is never worth it and ultimately it never delivers what it says it will.

It’s a prison that looks like a penthouse on the outside. You don’t know that you’re hooked until the cell door slams behind you. The thrill of sin lasts a short time; the bill for sin lasts a long time. There’s a little good stuff and a whole lot of guilt; a rush that’s brief and wreckage that can last a lifetime.

Don’t fall for the lies on sin’s package. Check its real contents, as exposed graphically in the Bible. If you’ve already opened sin’s package, get out while you can. If you’re looking at a compromise that God calls sin, run the other way. You haven’t got time for the pain, for the scars, for the slavery, for the shame. Do it God’s way, even if it’s harder, even if it takes longer. Remember, it’s the narrow road that leads to life. It’s that wide road that leads to destruction (Matthew 7:13-14).