Resisting Temptation – or Not? By Jo Russell

As the young mother walked through the car lot to the showroom, towing along two small boys, the salesman smiled.

She began, “I’m looking for a four-wheel drive bigger than this compact wagon, but I want to buy in the spring.” Jolene named off one of two brands.

Big ticket salesmen like Jeff knew that they had only one chance to sell a car and most of the time, that was the one and only time the customer walked up to him. Winter, spring—what difference does a few months make?

Jeff reviewed his training tips: Ask questions to figure out what the buyer needs. Follow with overcoming objections with questions which can be answered “yes.” Bring out the contract, negotiate a deal and have the customer sign on the line.

But much of his work was done by his customer’s second grade boys. One seven-year-old commented, “Mom, isn’t this blue a great color?”  The two crawled inside, tried out the seats and seatbelts. Then both bombarded her with questions, “Gee, doesn’t this have lots more room? We can put our toys in here and even take some on our trips. What do you think, Mom, can we buy this one?”

Jolene told the salesman, “No carpet. I live off country roads and I want to be able to hose out a vehicle.”

Jeff showed her another SUV the same size, model, engine, but with rubber-covered floorboards. Again, the twins examined the vehicle thoroughly. One sat in the driver’s seat, his feet two teddy bears short of the clutch and brake pedals. “Don’t you think this will be a great truck for me when I get to be old enough to drive?”

The other one added, “Yeah, it’s rough and tough, no matter where we live. I like it. What do you think, Mom. Isn’t this just what you’ve been dreaming and talking about?”

“Let’s take it for a test drive,” salesman Jeff suggested. After he sunk the vehicle into sand up to the wheel wells, he easily drove it out in 4WD.

“Wow! This is great!” one son piped up. “Remember when we got stuck in the sand going to church and almost didn’t get back home?” her second son reminded her.

For the next two hours, the praises of the showroom truck from the peewee gallery didn’t stop.

Though it was months from spring, Jolene signed on the line and drove the boys home in the new SUV that day.

It’s the boys’ fault. Never underestimate the power of second graders. Along with missing teeth, their power of persuasion is legendary.

Peer pressure and temptation. Both are facts of life right up there with calories, cavities, and committees.

But the important thing to do (besides leave the kids at home when you’re shopping for big-ticket items) is to stand strong against temptation. Choose to stay with God’s values, his will and plan in every phase of your life.

“So 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 temped, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” 1 Corinthians 10:12-13]

Temptation—even Jesus had to deal with it. But God strengthens us—even when facing the

persuasive power of one’s peers, car salesmen or our own offspring.

 

[Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of scores of articles, a half dozen anthology contributions, and award-winning Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women. available from Amazon.com, her speaking engagements and website, www.button-to-god.com. She lives in northeast Arizona with her husband, Ed. Enjoy chuckles and speeches, tips and excerpts in website options and weekly blog.]

 

 

Resist the Terrible by Jo Russell

“What’s that on your mouth?” Paul asked as he pecked his wife on the cheek after coming home from the office. Carol had run out to meet him at the car.

She touched the sticky place next to her lips. “I think it’s that the caramel apple in the refrigerator. It was terrible.”

“How much did you save for me?”

“None.”

“Why didn’t you save me any?”

“Yuck! It was terrible! Whoever made it should have known better than to use a tart baking apple for that. I had to throw it away and eat the caramel. Even that was like peeling the tread off a tire.”

“But you ate it anyway?”

“Not the whole thing. Besides aren’t you supposed to be on a diet this week?”

“I’ll guess I’ll have to find something to snack on.”

“Good luck. I thought we had three boxes of gourmet crackers, but I couldn’t find any at all.”

Paul blushed.  “I went to a lot of trouble organizing all the cupboards to find them. They weren’t all that good.”

“But you ate them anyway?”

He reddened again, “I guess.”

A whole lot of foods end up on the American’s no-no list because of the popularity of  trying to lose weight. Like Carol and Paul both, some get eaten anyway, even though they agreed neither was worth the calories.

But tempting foods is only one form of fighting to do the right thing.

In teaching the disciples to pray, Jesus said, “Lead us not into temptation and deliver us from the evil one.” [Matthew 6:13 NIV]

Jesus included temptation in his model prayer because it comes in many forms to hit people up in their weak areas. Besides Halloween treats, this can be in money, food, time, lust, envy, greed, pride, choosing bad company or activities, not listening or doing what God wills us to do or giving up. Satan has scores of other options for every holiday, season, and occasion.

But God can strengthen us to be strong enough to fight temptation and win— even over caramel apples.

[Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of scores of articles, a half dozen anthology contributions, and award-winning Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women. available from Amazon.com, her speaking engagements and website, www.button-to-god.com. She lives in northeast Arizona with her husband, Ed. Enjoy chuckles and speeches, tips and excerpts in website options and weekly blog.]