What’s the Catch?

Seeing the Hidden Cost of Temptation

By Karen Woodall
  • May 14, 2015

On the television screen, beautiful people extolled the virtues of an amazing product. They said it was versatile, durable, and affordable. But after reading the fine print and factoring in the overpriced shipping cost, they revealed the total price. Despite the ability to spread out the cost over “six easy payments,” the final tally was staggering to me. While I was tempted at first, I weighed the cost and decided it wasn’t worth it.

If only Achan had considered the consequences of his desires first. His story is a perfect example of the destructive power of temptation.

It begins when, despite expecting an easy victory, Israel was defeated by the city of Ai (Josh. 7:3-5). As Joshua soon found out, their loss was due to their failure to follow God’s instructions after Jericho was conquered. The Hebrew soldiers were specifically told to bring all the silver and gold from the defeated city into the nation’s treasury (Josh. 6:19). However, Achan ignored that command and took a robe, a couple stacks of silver, and a gold bar (vs. 21).

The tragic story culminates when Achan’s sin against the Lord is revealed, and he and his family are stoned to death. They and all his possessions are burned then buried in the Valley of Achor (vs. 24-26).

I’m pretty sure that Achan would have walked right past that stack of loot if he’d have taken the time to consider the fine print that was figuratively scrawled into the bottom of that gold brick. But he took what he wanted without ever realizing that the true cost of his “purchase” would include his life and family.

Satan is a master salesman. He taps into our unbridled cravings and conceals the true costs. And too often, we choose to satisfy self-centered longings with His promises of imaginary benefits. We sign on the dotted line, and before the ink dries, it’s often too late to undo the damage.

The cost. We can only see it if we train our minds to do so by mediating on God’s Word. When we regularly spend time with God, He gives us the strength to change the channel, tear up the contract, and walk away from deception. For with Christ, “godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Tim. 6:6 NIV).

Dr. Stanley describes what we can do to turn down the enemy’s sales pitches in his message “Dealing With Temptation Wisely,” airing today on radio.

Related Topics:  Addiction  |  Sexual Sin  |  Temptation

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3 They returned to Joshua and said to him, Do not let all the people go up; only about two or three thousand men need go up to Ai; do not make all the people toil up there, for they are few."

4 So about three thousand men from the people went up there, but they fled from the men of Ai.

5 The men of Ai struck down about thirty-six of their men, and pursued them from the gate as far as Shebarim and struck them down on the descent, so the hearts of the people melted and became as water.

19 But all the silver and gold and articles of bronze and iron are holy to the LORD; they shall go into the treasury of the LORD."

21 They utterly destroyed everything in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox and sheep and donkey, with the edge of the sword.

24 They burned the city with fire, and all that was in it. Only the silver and gold, and articles of bronze and iron, they put into the treasury of the house of the LORD.

25 However, Rahab the harlot and her father's household and all she had, Joshua spared; and she has lived in the midst of Israel to this day, for she hid the messengers whom Joshua sent to spy out Jericho.

26 Then Joshua made them take an oath at that time, saying, Cursed before the LORD is the man who rises up and builds this city Jericho; with the loss of his firstborn he shall lay its foundation, and with the loss of his youngest son he shall set up its gates."

6 But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment.

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