The sign said that EVERYTHING in the store was 50% off! I wouldn’t really call myself an avid shopper, but a sign like that in a store filled with lovely clothing in a hundred spring colors was like a personal invitation.
My mom was with me and we had a few minutes to spare. And so we started filling our arms with clothing to try on–colorful summer dresses, mostly, and a couple of cute shirts. We carried our loads to the dressing room.
As is pretty typical, I came out of the dressing room with one thing. But the one thing I found I really liked. It was the perfect addition to my summer wardrobe. I took it to the cash register and waited for several minutes since, apparently, the only person taking sales at the register was also the person who answered the phone.
Finally, she hung up the phone and rang up my purchase. She named the total and I was taken aback. I was certainly not willing to pay that amount for any shirt– no matter how cute.
I immediately asked about the signs that were placed all over the store.
Well, guess what? Some things were excluded. Like my shirt.
Of course it was.
All the new spring items were not on sale.
What?? Where in the world did it say that on the sign?
I told her I did not want the shirt, after all, and walked away. On our way out of the store, we stopped by a sign to read the fine print. It was SO SMALL that we couldn’t even read it. Seriously. It was so small that I didn’t even see it there when we looked at the signs originally. I have never seen fine print that small.
I don’t really think I will shop at that store again anytime soon. I understand that stores need to use exclusions and fine print. But to do it in such a way as this store did was to mislead and really be dishonest. At least make the fine print legible.
I suppose that what this store did regarding what they have to sell is what Satan does with what he has to sell.
Promising something that you can’t deliver.
Yep, that is exactly Satan’s style.
He promises us joy and peace if we follow our hearts.
But it’s not there.
He promises us a great life if we focus on our needs and wants at the cost of everyone else.
But it doesn’t happen.
He promises us an awesome time when we drink and use drugs, stare at pornographic images, or gamble away our paychecks.
And, sure, their may be a thrill for a brief minute or two, but he doesn’t show you the sorrow and heartbreak that goes with it. You never hear the word addiction or betrayal or loser when he is trying to win you to the other side, do you?
He promises us purpose and fulfillment if we just stand up for our rights.
But it doesn’t happen.
He promises us happy, carefree kids if we never say no to them.
But this is definitely false advertising. Happy kids are kids that have boundaries.
He promises us happiness if we just have that house we want, look like a model, or if our kid is a soccer star.
But it doesn’t come. Because that’s not what makes us happy. Not permanently.
Satan beckons us all with these lies. But we never read the fine print. This fine print can be read in the history books and literature of yesteryear. It can be read in the lives of our family members and the lives of those who live in our community. If we take some time and see the outcome of ungodly decisions, it isn’t hard to see the lack of wisdom in them.
You know, Jesus says in Luke 17:33 that “Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it.”
The further along I walk down the path of life, the deeper understanding I have this verse. The truth of the matter is that, after we are saved and have come into a right relationship with God, we can only experience true peace and pure joy through daily self-sacrifice and self-denial. I am much more at peace and so much more joyful, when I am practicing the fruits of the spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) than when I am trying to fulfill my own selfish desires. And, yet, that battle rages within me constantly. Even though I know the truth.
Oh, some of our worldly choices may lead to temporary happiness and bliss, but it never lasts. We will never be perfectly content until we root that contentment in Jesus. And, honestly, it is impossible to stay in that place entirely until we reach heaven. We are human, after all. Even Paul had trouble with fighting his flesh (Romans 7:15-20).
So this life is a battle. But it is a battle worth fighting! Selfish choices and decisions lead to destruction. Godly, wise decisions lead to a joyful life. We are given the freedom to make a choice. Which one will you make?
I will leave you with the words of one of my favorite Psalms–
Blessed is the man[a]
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
2 but his delight is in the law[b] of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
3 He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.
4 The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
6 for the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.