Seriously - not trying to freak you out or anything, but do you realize how many companies want your money? I was reading an article recently about how much money is spent by tweens & teens. Not only that, they influence their parent's spending habits as well. All told that's about fifty billion dollars that young people are spending (or getting their parents to spend).
That's a lot of dough.
And there are rooms full of fancy advertising execs all dressed up in nice suits trying to figure out how to get you to spend that money on their stuff. Commercials, clothing labels, advertising - it's so a part of our lives that we barely notice it anymore.
Yet million of dollars is not spent on advertising because it's ineffective - it's very effective. We're just not always aware of how it influences us.
And that's exactly how satan works too.
He can't be totally obvious about his ways - they are too easy to recognize. When I see a commercial that makes me mad, I'll go out of my way to avoid that product. We can spot the enemy easily sometimes and when we spot him, we're better able to resist his temptations. So satan doesn't like to be "out there".
Instead, one of the ways he likes to try to influence us is to make something "appear" to be something that it is not. He'll help you to justify your anger towards a friend (sin) because they did something really wrong to you (also sin). The enemy uses words like "deserve", "rights" and "fairness" to lure us into thinking that we're not doing anything bad. You were treated badly and therefore have a right to a little sin of your own.
And we don't always see who's influencing us and how. We are surrounded everyday by a world that has fallen from grace, where evil is done, people are selfish, and God is not always honored. And yet God has called us to holiness.
I don't know about you, but just seeing that word makes me ache inside. I am so far from holiness. I mess up, I make bad decisions, I do things wrong all the time and God wants me to be holy.
But the great thing is that we are not left to become holy on our own. We don't have to get all cleaned up and scrubbed up so that we can come to God. Nope. he takes us, messes and all, and makes us more holy day by day, one decision, one step at a time.
It's not always a fun process, but when I look at all the things that can influence me each day, I'm awfully glad that God is the One I can trust.
What do you think?
What kinds of things influence you the most?
What can you do today to draw yourself just a little bit closer to God?