I remember a trip to the grocery store where Satan was clearly messing with me. I walked out of the grocery store to find a gorgeous, pearl-white sedan parked right next to my 13 year old (but very well-cared for) minivan. Up until that point, I hadn’t really given much thought of buying a new car, especially one that couldn’t accommodate my family of five and at least one or two of my kids’ friends. And yet, suddenly, I was quite smitten with this car! On the way to my own car, I was able to casually peek inside, clandestinely of course, so as not to draw attention. It was sharp! As I loaded up my van and climbed in, I kept eyeballing the car next to me. I thought about it the entire drive home from the store and, after putting the groceries away, I quickly jumped on the Internet to research more about the car. Then, as if Satan wanted to taunt me further, when I went to pick up the mail, there was a post card from the same manufacturer of the car I had just seen advertising some amazing price as well as a deal incentive. Talk about temptation!
Well, I didn’t buy the car. For us and for our situation, it just wasn’t the right thing to do. Our financial goals do not include a car payment and this purchase would have required financing what we were not willing to sign up for. It also would have meant higher insurance premiums due to the financing as well as higher licensing and registration fees among other things I’m sure.
I stewed about it a lot, but after I realized that Satan was up to his old tricks, I was able to allow the temptation to pass. I still see those cars out on the road now and, frankly, they don’t strike me the way they did that day. Satan did a really good job of making it look like something I needed and truly deserved. But, after stepping back and refocusing on our priorities, it went back to being just another car—simply a way to get from one place to another— and I’m relieved that we didn’t act impulsively.
I’m writing about this to point out that these temptations happen to us almost daily. These temptations aren’t always at the level of a new car, but we have little “interferences” in our plans that frequently derail our objectives toward gaining financial freedom and Satan always seems to know what will set us off. I have written extensively on the importance of keeping to a solid grocery budget and how to use a menu plan in order to help with that. However, when I’m at the store, I am wooed by the “Today Only” markdowns in much the same way as I was struck by the beauty of that car in the parking lot that day. I easily justify the purchases to myself, especially if it is something that I know we will use (eventually). And, while the mark-down prices at the store won’t unravel our finances quite the way a car payment would, if I do it often enough, it can definitely put a strain on the budget.
Whether the purchases you are considering are large or small, always question your motivation behind them. Are you purchasing something because you truly need it or simply because it’s a good deal or because you are being tempted? Satan will make every attempt to put a snag in our plans to serve God with how we spend and manage our finances. It is up to us to recognize him and keep him at bay.
“But He turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.'”-Matthew 16:23