Have you noticed everywhere you go it seems like retailers are trying to up-sell you something. These additional promotions appeal to our earthly nature. Probably the most common is when a fast food establishment asks you “Would you like to up-size your order?” How much better is a supersized French fries and drink for $$ more. I also noticed in the seat pricing of a popular airline in our area. Would you like to pick your own seat in advance? Cha Ching. Would you like to have early boarding privileges before others? Cha Ching. Again, appealing to our human nature for pleasure, control and stress avoidance. I am sure that you can share your own examples. The Devil does the same thing to you as a follower of Christ. He is also up-selling to appeal to your sin nature.
The Apostle Paul speaking to the church in Ephesus reminds them to be on their toes to the up-selling tactics of our adversary. “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.” (Ephesians 6:11) The schemes of the devil are his encouragement to put yourself first. Paul, again to the church in Corinth writes, “so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs.” (2 Corinthians 2:11) Satan could have just as well been the originator of the quote attributed to P.T. Barnum, “There’s a Sucker Born Every Minute!” P.T. Barnum was “one of the best purveyors of entertainment in history — a genius in sales and marketing.” Yet, Barnum is not the source of the quote! It has been said that ‘If a lie is only printed often enough, it becomes a quasi-truth, and if such a truth is repeated often enough, it becomes an article of belief, a dogma, and men will die for it.’ (“The Crown of Life, 1869) And let us not forget Jesus’ description of the Great Deceiver, “He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44b)
One of the most debilitating half-truths that we tell ourselves is “I have no control over the choices that I make.” I like to refer to this spiritual condition as “Rational-lies-itis.” It is a malady that all of us suffer. It is the condition of justifying doing what we want to do. Yet, the Bible reminds us, that for those that know Jesus Christ, the believer has the ability to say “No” to the up-sell. “For one who has died has been set free from sin.” (Romans 6:7) This is true for physical death; a corpse can no longer commit transgression. But what is being spoken of is the spiritual death of our old nature. We now have the freedom to say “no” to the up-selling.
The key here is a “born from above” relationship with Jesus Christ. The new birth is that transformation resulting in our “death” to sin. It is an incredible truth that deserves more attention (Note Romans 6-7, 2 Corinthians 5:14-21). The next time the Devil attempts to up-sell you, encouraging your rational-lies, remember who you are in Christ. “For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:2)
-Pastor Joe Parkinson