George Mallory died on the north face of Mount Everest at age 37. He declared that his motive for attempting the climb was simply “because it’s there.” The mere existence of the mountain was enough to fire his imagination and prompt action.
I thought of this as I reached for a second donut this morning. It wasn’t an especially appealing specimen (being of the grocery store variety with preservatives to maintain it in edible condition for who knows how long). I wasn’t hungry. Eating it actually ran counter to my nutrition goals. I couldn’t think of a better excuse for consuming it other than “because it was there.”
I suspect that most of us need nothing more to motivate an action other than the simple existence of an object of interest, be it a mountain, a donut, or anything in between. One could argue that climbing mountains and eating donuts is morally neutral. But not everything is, and it’s easy for us to fall to temptation just because we have an opportunity.
This calls for both diligence and self-control. As long as we’re in the flesh, we’ll have desires associated with it. That’s unavoidable. What we can do, is avoid opportunities for those desires to be expressed. That’s why as soon as I post this, I’m going to get those last three donuts (yes, I counted them) off my desk.
Each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death (James 1:14-15 NIV).