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Saturday, October 1, 2011

Bargain Basement Finds

2 Humans are satisfied with whatever looks good;
   God probes for what is good. 
 9 We plan the way we want to live,
   but only God makes us able to live it.
(Proverbs 16:2, 9)

Have you heard the term "window shopping"?  It refers to the action of simply being out "aimlessly" traversing the paths of the mall, in and out of shops, sometimes finding an item or two we "just must have", and at other times, just getting ideas about what we will come to "dream about".  We are accustomed to the idea that we look for what "appeals" to us.  If it "moves us", we say we are influenced to make the purchase and claim it as our own.

The problem with this type of "shopping" is that we often buy what looks good and not what has the lasting / enduring qualities of a "good purchase".  We tend to follow the "fads" rather than to be making quality decisions.  The fact is stated very well in our passages today - we are "satisfied" with whatever looks good!  We stop short of what is "best" and settle for what is "good" simply because it appeals to our senses!

God's focus is a little different - he probes for what IS good.  That means he has to be a whole lot more discriminating than to just go after the first thing that appeals to him!  So, if I am to be living after the pattern I see (God), then I need for his way of doing things to become my way of doing things.  The idea is that he has to dig a little deeper in order to find the quality he is seeking.  

Why do you think stores put up all those displays at the end of the aisles or just as we enter the stores?  It is because they want to encourage us to buy what we see first!  If they get us to "buy" what is easiest to find, they often get us to buy what we don't even really need!  It just appears to be a good bargain, so we latch onto it.  In the end, we often are disappointed with the quality of our purchase, or the way it affects us.

God knows that what is best for us may not come the easiest to us.  We need to dig a little deeper in order to truly get what is best!  We might actually have to take our plans to him in order to see that they are not the best for us! We make all kinds of plans - but it is God that sorts them out and shows us which one of those plans is really like settling for the "alluring bargain" on the end of the shelf!  

Do you know what a bargain is?  It is an "advantageous purchase acquired at less than the usual cost".  The fact is that truly real "bargains" are rare!  We see all kinds of "advertised" bargains in life, but the reality is that they are seldom "advantageous" for us!  God's plan for us is to help us sort out the "true" or "advantageous" stuff from the "junk".  The next time we find ourselves being allured by the seemingly "advantageous" bargain in life, we might want to stop long enough to ask God if that is really part of his plan for us!

God's only goal is that we will have what is good and perfect for our lives.  He wants to keep us from making rash decisions that end in misery.  He hopes to keeps us from the enticement of just "settling" for the bargains in life.  Remember this....what costs us little is rarely of any real value!  His goal is that we have things and people that are of value in our lives.  I'm not just referring to the physical stuff here, like the TVs or Bedroom Furnishings, but things like solid relationships, the biblical strength to withstand temptation, and the honor of a good reputation.  These are rarely "bargain basement" items!