Deficit spending and sexual conquests fulfill short-term fantasies. But these misdeeds always come back to bite you in the end. Just ask the prodigal son (see Luke 15:11-32). Throughout history man has taken the bait time and time again, as evidenced by the current financial collapse in Greece.
The nation of Greece certainly has a storied past.
As Christianity was taking off in the first century, the apostle Paul was busy starting churches. One church was in the city of Corinth in southern Greece. Corinth was a hotbed of sensuality, where lustful sailors, traveling salesmen, and everyday citizens had a bevy of carnal temptations around every corner. In fact, "Corinth" became a synonym for immorality and all manner of debauchery.
A famous temple to Aphrodite, the goddess of love, had stood high above the city on the Acropolis. In its heyday, the temple housed 1.000 cultic prostitutes whose sexual escapades were a form of worship to Aphrodite. These prostitutes would descend into the city at night and lead many astray.
The church found itself smack dab in the middle of this lascivious culture. Paul actually wrote words of warning to God's people after getting reports that some in the church were giving their bodies over to such wanton pursuits (see 1 Cor. 6:9,10).
Everyone who has ever gone into excessive debt, or excessive lust, has found that you eventually have to pay the piper. It's like the law of gravity. What goes up must come down.
Today, Greece is hitting the bottom financially because of its debt load. And the weight of man's sin carries an even bigger price tag. For example, the "spirit of Aphrodite" is alive and well in America today. The word "love" gets thrown around loosely, often describing a relationship outside of marriage between one man and one woman.
But the goddess Aphrodite has never been able to provide man with real peace and lasting love. She is a big flirt, but she leaves you feeling empty while nursing your sexually transmitted diseases.
It's important to realize that feelings of love are not always rooted in God's love. The love of God is pure, and it flows from the throne of heaven. The temple of Aphrodite, on the other hand, provided nothing but a counterfeit form of "love."
Thankfully, God's love won't bankrupt your soul, just like prudent spending won't bankrupt a nation.
Politicians in Greece and America could learn a lot from the letters which Paul wrote to the churches of his day. These epistles contain wisdom, and wisdom leads men and women to resist temptation even in the midst of a carnal culture. Greece, like America, couldn't resist the urge to dig a hole of debt so deep that the way out seems nearly impossible. This is the tendency of man. We "go with the flow" until the flow runs out. And it always runs out.
Unless, of course, you tap into the flow of God. Living water flows from heaven today into the hearts of all who know Christ as Savior, and the river of God will flow eternally in heaven (see Revelation 22:1,2).
Jesus said, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him. By this He meant the Spirit" (John 7:38,39).
This is why Paul wrote to believers, "Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit" (Eph. 5:18). You see, the Holy Spirit produces a flow which the world cannot provide. The world can only dole out the spirit of Aphrodite, and the spirit of overspending. Those cravings feed the flesh, but do nothing to quench the deeper thirsts of man's spirit.
The appetites of the world will eat you up and then spit you out. This is what we are now witnessing in Greece. And it's been going on in that country ever since the temple of Aphrodite stood high above Corinth. But this flow hasn't been limited to Greece. In America today, the enormous financial debt continues to grow, as does the debt which sexual sin brings to the souls of those who engage in it.
It should be obvious by now that man always tends to flow in one spirit or another. The Holy Spirit moves believers to desire the things of God. As the third person of the Trinity, He knows exactly what will satisfy our spiritual thirst, and why a counterfeit flow will only lead to destruction.
Life is fluid, and desires can feel overwhelming. The only one who can deliver us from our destructive appetites is the Lord Jesus Christ. The nation of Greece needs the Lord today, and this will only come about as individual Greeks accept Christ as Savior and yield their bodies, minds and desires to His will.
As Americans watch the events unfold in Greece, the writing is on the wall. You cannot continually increase your financial debt or your sin debt without it catching up with you. And as bad as economic collapse is within a nation, it is far worse for an individual to suffer spiritual destruction. The Bible reveals how spiritual collapse goes way beyond the grave. It stays with you forever, literally.
Those who worshipped at the altar of Aphrodite did so because it brought them some temporary financial gain and fleeting sensual satisfaction. But such idolatry can only last for so long. You eventually burn out on it. And it doesn't bring you one step closer to meeting the real needs of your soul. This is why compulsive spending and sex outside of marriage never deliver ultimate satisfaction. Not to mention the fact that these behaviors are highly addictive. And so those who are ensnared by them live to regret it.
But your life does not need to imitate those who choose to live under the spell of Aphrodite. If you will turn your life over to Christ today, and receive His forgiveness for your sins, you will get in the flow which only God can provide. There is a world of difference between the spirit of narcissistic indulgence, and the Spirit of the living God.
So which of these two rivers is your soul flowing in today? The sensual desires of a counterfeit love, or the divine wellspring of the Holy Spirit?