March 27, 2014
Are You Buying It?
“No, thank you.”
It was the standard comeback given to any salesperson who came to our door. From boy scouts to vacuum cleaner salesmen, this was the response that was immediately handed out. At a young age I became a student in the school of “How to Turn Down a Salesperson In One Easy Step.” This entailed watching my mom say this phrase right after the person had introduced him or herself. She never said it unkindly, but in no uncertain terms she meant flat out no in plain English. Her answer usually came just as the unsuspecting visitor was just about ready to launch into the most finely tuned sales pitch. There was no lingering on her part to give a false glimmer of hope.
Without realizing it, I had picked up on this habit, and over the years I have followed her example when it has come to dealing with proposals presented to me. On many occasions I have been told that I was considered to be a ‘hard sell’. The minute a person begins to tell me why I need to buy his or her product, I find myself shifting into shut down mode. I smile, politely give the automated response, and no matter how much pressure is applied, my answer does not change. I have to admit, I have said no to things when I really wanted to say yes because this technique is so ingrained in me.
With this mechanism in place, it is a miracle that I accepted Jesus as my Savior. It dawned on me recently that my mom’s quick decline at the door or on the phone meant that her emotions could not be played. That is the key to selling an item to someone. If emotionally charged words are used to illicit enough feelings in a listener’s heart, she can be persuaded to buy. How many times have you thought that you were going to say no and a week later a Fedex package arrived at your house? Apparently, something that was said changed your answer from a negative to an affirmative. And, now you have signed up to receive a new potholder each month for the rest of your life. You don’t even cook.
Being accustomed to not letting people talk me into anything, meant that I should have been able to disregard God’s offer of salvation. Unlike most individuals who do an altar call in a large church before a clapping congregation, I was persuaded by the Lord to ask His Son into my heart while I was alone in my living room. I had been given literature on the born again experience by a family member who simply dropped off the material and left me to my own devices. I think she realized that my nature was not open to a debate. Instead, she quietly gave me the information and departed.
After reading through the pages and the scriptures that were laid out so convincingly, I surrendered my life to the One who created me. In that moment, it became clear that I needed Him in my life. Since that day I have gone out of my way to please Him and to do my best not to cause an offense to upset our relationship. I have walked a faith tightrope not wanting to slip and mess up with my Heavenly Father.
One day during my devotional time with Him, He said, “I am trying to get you to buy something.” Of course, I asked Him what that could be, and I had this thought, “I want you to accept My fullness of love that I am trying to sell to you. I will never let you go over a cliff in your walk with Me. My love for you is much bigger than that. I know that you have been told that you can fall away and that I will turn My back on you if you don’t follow after Me perfectly. This is not true. I want you to buy into the fact that you cannot separate yourself from My perfect love.” I began to wonder where this revelation had been because it brought such a feeling of liberation. I asked Him, “So, how do I accept this idea that I cannot screw this up?” He said, “Read My Word. Let me point out scriptures to you that will pierce your heart, touch your emotions and allow you to buy into what I am saying. Others have convinced you of the opposite of this. Let me persuade you into believing the truth.”
One of the first scriptures I found was this in 1 Corinthians 7:23 where it says, “A high price has been paid for your freedom, so don’t devalue God’s investment by becoming a slave to people.” Here I found that I had forgotten that God had actually purchased me through the death and resurrection of His Son. Instead of adhering to this, I had somehow listened to the words of others who thought they were doing me a favor by directing me away from the simplicity of this passage. I thought I had to ‘work’ to stay in His good graces. My eyes were being opened to the fact that He bought me and there wasn’t any mistake I could make to cause Him to ‘return’ me to the store. In Ephesians 1:13, it was made clear to me that I have been stamped with the seal of the Holy Spirit. This identification mark cannot be erased, and it makes me His forever.
Through this exercise, I have been finding myself more convinced of His love for me. At times, I am overwhelmed when I realize how much I have quoted scriptures, heard sermons preached and none of it touched me at a heart level. You can speak scripture out loud for many different reasons. Maybe you want to impress your neighbors with how spiritual you are. Maybe you think it will bring you closer to God if you memorize passages. The Word is alive, but it can be made very much dead if it isn’t used for the empowerment of who you are and God’s glorious role in your life. Tossing around scripture will not do you any good unless you really take in what the scriptures say. In the same fashion that I disconnected myself emotionally during a sales pitch, I have followed the same format when it came to letting God’s promises sink into my spirit. This is quite the shock after walking with Jesus for twenty years.
Salvation is just the beginning to a changed life. The next step can be rather difficult if you have suffered from low self esteem. Am I really that valuable to God? Me? How can one believe that the God of the universe would want to do everything for him or her? I mean, maybe a slight answer to prayer here or there, but He wants to cover all things for me?
In John 14:14 you will find that it says: “If you ask Me anything in my name, I will do it.” This statement leaves no room for misunderstanding. Jesus said that, but do you believe it? This is the part that God is looking for you to ‘buy’. I began to find scriptures that I was led to that resonated with my spirit, and I wrote those down on note cards. Instead of trying to memorize various passages, I decided to go through my cards during quiet times like when I am eating or out taking a walk. I don’t whip through them, but read one at a time and think about it. The more time I spend pondering a certain sentence or promise from God’s word, I become more emotionally attached to it. Just like the persistent salesman who won’t take no for an answer because he knows that the more time he spends with you, the more likely you will be to make a purchase.
Doesn’t that put a new spin on why you are spending time reading scripture and hearing the voice of God? Instead of a ritualistic approach or following a thirty day program to better yourself, you are actually allowing the promises of God to penetrate your life so deeply that you will then expect to live just as the Bible says you are supposed to. Why would you expect any different? Following along the same lines of how you bought those potholders, this same method holds true for the Word of God. His promises will change your response to the outside world and allow in the ideas, the people and the items that God so much wants you to have. The difference, however, is that He will never ask for your credit card number because He freely gives. His great love is up for sale. The question is: Are you buying it?