When I was growing up, teen sex movies were all the rage. Often there was a “repressed,” self-righteous character who eventually learned that he was just as horny as everyone else. By the end of the film, he was joining in all the fun. That’s the Hugh Hefner way: Indulge your desires.

But is that what we really want? Scratch deeper and you find that we have conflicting desires. A married man may fantasize about an illicit relationship, but he also desires to be faithful and expects the same from his wife. Gossip is tasty but we would like ourselves better if we were above such cattiness. The alcoholic feels peace when drunk, but would he not be happier if he gave up that miserable lifestyle altogether? By indulging he quenches the desire for a bit, only to see it roar back stronger the next time, and a form of slavery is the result.

Self-indulgence begets emptiness. Suppressing evil desires fulfills a deep, God-given instinct for self-control. More importantly, it proclaims that we trust God when He says that He is our greatest possible source of happiness (eternal happiness!). Isaiah 55:2: “Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food.”