Devotions, Retail Ready

The Art of Deception

(The following excerpt is taken from “Retail Ready: 90 Devotions for Teens in the Workforce”, available for purchase on Kindle for $7.99 or in print from Amazon for $9.99.)

Read: Genesis 3:1-24

“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” – Genesis 3:4–5

My first job in retail was working for a small family owned hardware store on a corner not far from my home. There were only an handful of employees, so those of us who did work there were responsible for everything from freight and cashiering to stocking shelves and cleaning the floors. I’m not certain at what point it happened, but someone discovered that I could clean a toilet and do it better than anyone else. From that day forward, two or three times a week I had the “high honor” of doing just that.

I was unable to think of a polite way to excuse myself from the task until one afternoon when a young man who we had hired decided to harass me about the matter. “You must not be very good at much if you always get to clean the bathroom,” he snickered, leaning his stocky frame against the door jamb.

“Actually,” I replied with a grin, “I’m the one who cleans the bathroom because I’m the only one around here who can do it! You can eat off my toilet when I’m done with it and there ain’t no way you could do nearly as good a job as I do. They’d never let you near the toilet!”

My plan worked and, to my great delight, the next time the bathroom needed to be cleaned, he did the job himself just to prove me wrong. I had convinced him that it really did take someone exceptionally special to do the dirty work in the store.

Sadly, this deceptive strategy was in use long before I embarked upon my career. Not very long after God placed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, Satan managed to convinced Eve that the only reason she wasn’t allowed to eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil was that it was a privilege reserved only for those who were special. Heeding his advice, she ate the fruit of the tree, unaware that God had forbidden it because eating of it would actually diminish her.

Satan uses the same tactic to distract us even in this present age. Each day we are bombarded by the message that those things which God has forbidden are for “special people only.” As Christians we must guard our hearts and minds carefully, remembering that those things which the world considers special freedoms frequently fail to yield the type of results that they appear to promise. God’s commands have been given not to degrade us, but rather to give us the best life possible in our present world. And that is Special, indeed!

Challenge: List a few of the messages that you receive which are contrary to the Word of God. In what ways might these ideas hurt you rather than help you? Commit yourself to following God’s message and His message, alone!