Saturday, September 1, 2012

Salesmanship 101

I stopped to get gas yesterday at an unfamiliar station. I pulled up to a pump, got out of my car, and proceeded with the usual routine with credit card in hand. A young attendant approached and said, “This is a full service pump. The price is $3.94 with a credit card.” I thought that was okay, so I said, “Okay, that’s fine.”

He looked at me and said, “Are you sure?”

“Yes,” I said, “it is cheaper than any prices I’ve seen.”

“Well,” the attendant began, “if you purchase with cash the price is $3.88 a gallon. If you get gas from that pump (pointing to the pump at the other island), you’ll pay $3.88. And if you go up to that station (the attendant pointed up the road to a nearby gas station), you’ll pay $3.79 per gallon.”

I don’t believe this young gas station attendant had received the training on salesmanship.

But I wondered how things would be if Satan had missed Salesmanship 101. If so, he might ask if we were sure we wanted to engage in certain activities. He might explain the consequences of some of our actions. He might be a little less encouraging of selfish behavior.

But alas, not only has Satan excelled in Salesmanship 101, but has passed 201, 301, and 401 with flying colors. I would even say, he wrote the syllabus for each of these courses.

Peter tells us about Satan and his tactics. “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8 – NIV) Satan is slinking around, waiting for his next victim. Waiting for someone to show some form of weakness. Then he will pounce. Peter’s advice is to be self-controlled and alert.

But then Peter goes on to share a couple other ways to put Satan in his place. “Resist him [Satan], standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” (1 Peter 5:9 – NIV) Our faith will give us the strength to resist Satan.

Satan will do his best to lead us to sin. He will tempt us with his best vices. He will lead us astray. He will do all that he can to keep us from following God’s path.

The good news is that God is working just as diligently to keep us from falling. Paul mentions temptation in 1 Corinthians. And this passage shares some great news about temptation.

“If you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” (1 Corinthians 10:12-13 – NIV)

God loves us so much that He will always provide a way out of temptation for us.

Jude 1:24-25 (NIV) confirms this truth. “To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy—to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power, and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forever more! Amen.”

Satan knows exactly how to tempt us. He knows our weaknesses. God will provide assistance, but it is up to us to keep from falling into temptation. According to Jesus, prayer is a key element to standing firm against temptation. Consider these passages. Matthew 26:41; Mark 14:38; Luke 22:40; and Luke 22:46.

For more information on how Jesus dealt with temptation, you can read about His journey in the wilderness in Matthew 4 or Mark 1.

And here are a few other passages to consider when thinking of temptation. Matthew 6:13; Galatians 6:1; 1 Timothy 6:9-10; Hebrews 2:18; Hebrews 4:15; James 1:13-14.

I didn’t purchase gas from the first station I pulled into yesterday. I was warned. I heeded the warning. I removed myself from a possibly harmful scenario (harmful to my wallet).

I should remember this occasion the next time I am tempted. Think of the possibilities instead of the obvious. Look for a way out instead of being stuck in the moment.

With God on my side and the tools I need to resist him, I’m positive Satan will not be able to convince me that his conniving schemes are worth the consequences of sin. I pray the same for you.

Grace and peace be yours in abundance,


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