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Bait and Switch

It’s a form of fraud. A store offers a great item at a great price, but when you show up, that product is gone and you’re shown something “just as good” but at a higher price.

If you recognize the scam, you turn on your heels and leave empty handed.

There’s a spiritual version of bait and switch, too. And most people buy it hook, line, and sinker.

Here’s how it works:

You’re trying to change a longstanding habit and realize you need a higher power in order to do it. Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection reveal He is more than willing to give Himself to you.

Jesus giving Himself to you? That’s a great deal! There’s the bait. (And in this case, it’s not a scam, He’s really offering.)

And here comes the switch.

Someone replaces the original offer:

       You bring your old destructive habits, Jesus gives you Himself.

With this one:

       You bring your old destructive habits, you get a list of godly things to do.

Pray, memorize Scripture, tithe, go to church, fast, serve, attend recovery groups, get accountability, read this book, listen to that sermon series, have more faith.

There is nothing wrong with these. (In fact, I try to practice them all.) But recognize this: They are not God.

If you’re going to find freedom from something you’re habitually doing, it’s not going to come by something you do.

Don’t fall for the scam.

Instead, look Jesus in the face and say “Yes” to the deal He’s offering. As many times as you need to. When you think you deserve Him most and especially when you deserve Him least. He’s here, giving Himself to you.

I’d love to hear from you! What helps you recognize and avoid the bait and switch? What helps you say yes to God.

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Yes please,
Josh

9 thoughts on “Bait and Switch”

  1. Thank you so much for speaking so plainly about our need to JUST take Jesus as HE is… at HIS word. When I get consumed with DOING, then I usually find myself run down and sick from something or other and finally slow down enough to hear the quiet, still voice that tells me that nothing that I do can ever make me GOOD ENOUGH, that HE loves me just as I am and through HIS love for me I can find the peace I’m searching for. Thanks again!

  2. Dee posted the following but the picture that came with her post wasn’t her, so I’m posting her comments this way.

    “Thank you so much for speaking so plainly about our need to JUST take Jesus as HE is… at HIS word. When I get consumed with DOING, then I usually find myself run down and sick from something or other and finally slow down enough to hear the quiet, still voice that tells me that nothing that I do can ever make me GOOD ENOUGH, that HE loves me just as I am and through HIS love for me I can find the peace I’m searching for. Thanks again!”

  3. The difference between God himself and those disciplines (prayer, memorizing etc.) is difficult to see. One does not exist without the Other – or does it?

    1. Thanks so much for your question. It’s a very important one.

      Practicing spiritual disciplines can be of great value. We’re human beings with bodies that are meant to participate with our faith. What we do matters. It’s part of how we connect with him.

      And in my experience, we can unwittingly exchange relationship with God for doing “godly” things. The Pharisees did the right things but were disconnected from God, so much so that Jesus referred to them as white washed tombs outside filled with dried bones inwardly. Doing for God does not replace being with God.

      Great question! Is this helpful? What are your thoughts? I’d love for others to weigh in here as well!

  4. The bait, switch deal causes me to slip into much busyness, of thought. It can easily get me onto the ” I ” track. For example, ” I better do this, I better do that.” However by abiding as a branch in Jesus, the Vine, I am able to enter the quiet places of the heart, and keep my focus on Him. This results in learning more about how to “hear His voice” and know His peace, love, mercy and healing!

    1. Thank you, Lolli! I love John 15. God has had me camped out there for a few years, or perhaps more likely He keeps bringing me back to it because I slip again and again into the living “for God” life rather than the “with God” life.

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