You're minding your own business, walking around the mall, when all of a sudden a greasy-haired man in a long coat comes up to you.
"Psst!" he hisses. "Want a great deal?" You try to ignore him and walk by, but he steps in front of you and opens one side of his coat. "I got over seventeen varieties of broken watches here," he says, smiling and wagging his eyebrows.
You look at the watches. "Did you say broken watches?" you ask. You see him nod. "Why would I want a broken watch? I want a watch that keeps time!"
You start to step around him, but he quickly shuffles to block your way. "Wait a minute," he says, looking around as if he's letting you in on an even bigger secret than broken watches. "That's not all I've got." He pulls an envelope out of his pocket and shakes an assortment of postage stamps into his open palm. "I got canceled stamps, too. All kinds!"
He shows you the stamps. You think, This dude's elevator doesn't go to the top floor.
"Look," you say patiently, "I'm not interested in broken watches or canceled stamps, OK? What you're selling is worthless. So if you'll excuse me . . ." You walk around him, and as you walk away, you notice him approaching somebody new.
That would be a pretty weird experience, wouldn't it? But it's actually pretty common. Oh, you may not meet a guy selling broken watches in the mall, but every day the devil tries to sell you something worthless. He tries to convince you to lie, steal, cheat, or do other things that are even more worthless than broken watches or canceled stamps.
Of course, the devil makes those things look attractive. But no matter how much you shine up a broken watch, it's still broken. And the deeds of evil and darkness may look like they'll bring you fun and fulfillment, but in the end you'll discover over and over again that nothing good ever comes of sin. It's always worthless.
So the next time the devil tries to sell you something worthless, remember to "take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, rebuke and expose them." And "be careful how you live, not as fools but as those who are wise" (Ephesians 5:11, 15).
REFLECT: Can you think of a time when a wrong choice paid off and made you a better person? Can you think of a time when a wrong choice brought you closer to God? Can you think of a time when a wrong choice made you feel good about yourself? What will you plan to do the next time the devil tries to sell you some-thing worthless?
ACT: Tack a worthless item a broken watch, a canceled stamp, an empty gum wrapper to your bulletin board or school locker door to remind you not to take part in "the worthless deeds of evil and darkness."
PRAY: "God, help me to remember that the deeds of evil and darkness are worthless. Help me not to take part in them but to live as those who are wise."