Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew; and he ate and drank, and rose and went on his way. Thus Esau despised his brithright.Genesis 25:27-34
Do you remember the story “Jack and the Beanstalk”? Young Jack heads to the market to sell the family’s last remaining cow in order to buy food (I have often wondered why they didn’t just eat the cow). On the way to the market, he meets a man who tricks him into trading the cow for a handful of beans. Jack returns home and shows his mother the “magic” beans. She tosses them out the window and the rest is history.
I want to remind you today that there really is no such thing as “magic” beans. Just ask Esau. He is a man who could tell you a thing or two about beans. Esau was a hunter. He had a younger brother by the name of Jacob. Jacob was not much of an outdoors kind of guy. In fact, you could probably call him a mama’s boy. One day Esau returns home empty-handed from a long and exhausting day of hunting. When he reaches home he finds that his brother Jacob has a bowl of stew (red beans) sitting on the fireplace. Esau is hungry. Esau is tired. Esau asks Jacob for a bowl of beans. Jacob responses by asking Esua to make a trade. Esau can have a bowl of beans if he will give Jacob his birthright.
Now a birthright doesn’t mean much to us. But at that time in history, it represented Esau’s share of the inheritance, roughly equal to two-thirds of his father’s wealth. Get the picture now? Jacob is offering Esau a bowl of beans for two-thirds of his father’s wealth. Doesn’t seem very reasonable, does it? But the amazing thing is that Esau agrees to the trade. In a moment of weariness and weakness, he gives away everything for essentially nothing. In one decision he trades his birthright for momentary satisfaction.
Before we point the finger we need to take a hard look at our own choices, particularly as they relate to purity. See, the honest truth is that the enemy uses much the same means when he seeks to steal from us our birthright. Consider the following times when you should especially be on your guard against sexual temptation.
- Disappointment. Esau has nothing to show for his labors that day. The day had not turned out according to his expectations. He has worked hard but has come back empty-handed. Temptation often comes during those times when we have been disappointed, particularly in the realm of relationships. One of the chief deceptions involving porn is that of no disappointment. The “partner” never says anything except, “Yes.” It is far easier to trade real relationships and the risk of disappointment for the temporary satisfaction that comes with porn. The problem is that real wealth comes from real relationships. Most of the men that I have counseled regarding sexual impurity lacked meaningful relationships in their lives. Porn was a temporary relief. But the guilt and embarrassment associated with it only led them to even greater isolation and loneliness.
- Weariness. Esau declares that he is “famished.” The literal idea in Hebrew is that he is “weary, exhausted“. Temptation often comes when we are at our lowest points both spiritually and physically. Here is a word of very practical advice. At the end of a long day, when you are most tired…go to bed. Don’t turn on the TV. Don’t turn on the computer. When you are tired it is very hard to control the pull to impurity. Go to bed. What you need most at that time is rest, not ungodly entertainment.
- Misplaced Priorities. Esau made the mistake of placing greater value upon the immediate. Immediate gratification never satisfies. The bowl of beans that fills the stomach only lasts so long. It is only a while before you find yourself hungry again. We are destined to make poor choices when we spend the majority of our time feeding the natural rather than the spiritual. Where do you spend more time each day? Reading the Word or digesting mainstream media? Maybe the struggle in your life is one of the confused priorities? I recently came across a study that demonstrated a very strong connection between time spent in Bible reading and purity. Men who had developed consistent, daily times in the Word experienced greater levels of sexual purity.
- Confusion Regarding Eternity. Esau declared to Jacob, “I am about to die; so of what use then is the birthright to me?” About to die? Really? The temptation will make you feel like you have no choice but to say “yes.” You will think you are going to die if you don’t give in. But let me remind you that it is just a lie. If you say “no“, you will live, both literally and spiritually. In fact, the opposite is true. Every time you say “yes” and give in…a part of you dies. Esau gave up tremendous wealth for a bowl of beans. So many young men are making the same choice, trading the spiritual power of pure life for the momentary pleasure of porn and sexual immorality. A birthright for beans…power from God for porn. Next time you are tempted you need to remind yourself that eternity is at stake in this battle. The enemy has targeted you because he wants to steal your destiny and your heritage. Don’t trade what really matters for something that never satisfies.
Ask God to give you eternal perspective and godly priorities. Draw strength and healing from Him next time you are weary and disappointed. Purity is His purpose for your life. You will never regret saying no to the enemy’s “beans.” I’m not saying it will be easy. But what I am telling you is that it will be well worth the struggle. Stop trading what really matters for things that can never satisfy. There is no such thing as magic beans.