TEMPTATION (Part 1 – THE TEST DRIVE)

Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. [1 Peter 5:8-9a (NLT)]

Like lions crouched in hiding, they wait to pounce on the helpless. Like hunters they capture the helpless and drag them away in nets. [Psalm 10:9 (NLT)]

lion-tanzania

Lynn Johnston’s comic For Better or for Worse follows a family through their everyday life. Recently, John, the father, experienced middle-age discontent. Confiding to his friend Ted that he’s become bored with life, John asks, “How do you break the cycle of get up, go to work, go home?” Ted suggests a little “after-hours recreation,” adding, “And I ain’t talking racquetball!” John declines his friend’s offer of a “spicy dish” and departs. “What’s happening to me?” he laments as he drives home. “I’m healthy, I have a good job…I have a wonderful home, two great kids, a loving wife…who could ask for more?” Dissatisfaction, however, rears its ugly head and John answers his own question with, “I want more!”

“I want to go home but an irresistible, biologic urge is forcing me,” says John in the next day’s strip. “My wife might never forgive me but here I am, in the one place I’ve tried to avoid for years,” he continues, “a place of unbelievable temptation!”  In the next frame, we find him in a car dealership facing a grinning car salesman who asks, “Can I interest you in a late model sports car?”

That comic (and the story that followed) reminded me of Bible verses that compare Satan to a lion ready to pounce. If you’ve ever been in a used car lot, you’ve probably felt like fresh meat being tossed to hungry lions. Salespeople circle as you drive into the lot and, before you’re out of your car, someone is offering you a test drive. In fact, in the next day’s comic, even though John insists he’s “just looking,” he takes that test drive. The salesman confidently chuckles to a co-worker, “I love it when their lips say no, no…but their eyes say yes, yes!!” After his test drive, John reluctantly returns the car and admits its impracticality to the salesman. “I understand,” says the salesman sympathetically. As John departs in his sedan, the salesman’s co-worker wonders how he could let go of a customer so easily. The salesman smugly replies, “He’ll be back. … He left lip prints on the hood.”

Admittedly, I don’t understand men’s affinity for cars. To me, a car is just a way to get from here to there and, as long as it runs, I don’t care about suspension, exhaust systems, horse-power, or aerodynamics. Then again, my husband doesn’t understand my affinity for designer purses when he is satisfied with just an old wallet in his pocket. Satan, however, understands exactly what it is that floats our individual boats…be it fast cars, possessions, money, sex, food, drugs, power, or status. He starts with sowing a few seeds of discontent and follows up with the offer of a test drive—be it a little flirtation, just a taste, a tiny lapse, one visit to the website, or a minor breach of ethics. Satan, like a good salesperson, doesn’t have to be pushy once he’s matched his customer with the right temptation and he knows where we’ve left our lip prints! Satan may know our weaknesses but so do we! We need to avoid the people and places where we’ll find Satan’s hungry lions—be that bars, back alleys, shopping malls, coffee shops, websites or car dealerships!

 My child, if sinners entice you, turn your back on them! [Proverbs 1:10 (NLT)]

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