By Bethany Pitman
Whether it’s the thrill of the crowds or the rush of snagging an item in an online cart, most people love getting a good deal. If you’re like most Americans you spend the days before Thanksgiving scoping out the flyers and online deals, and you have a list of your Black Friday must-haves.
Many stores fall into the red—owing more than is earned—throughout the year. Black Friday earned its name because it was one of the major days that stores counted on to bring them back in the black—profitable—for the year. This one day helped to make them “right” for the year. One of the reasons Black Friday is so successful is because stores bank on our human nature that can’t pass up something that’s advertised as a deal.
However, as many savvy shoppers have found, not everything advertised on Black Friday is actually a bargain. Often, big-ticket electronic items lack the special features and memory required for a quality experience, making the items almost worthless. One of the major box stores has been known to offer a special credit card with 0% interest for eighteen months—what a deal! However, the fine print clearly states that if just one payment is even one day late, the borrower will end up paying all the interest on the items charged to the card, making this “deal” more of a trap.
Here’s just one more deal to examine. There’s no fine print and nothing to prove, and I promise you, we come out on the winning side of this one! As we enter Advent and focus on Jesus’ birth, we know that in just a few short months, we’ll be celebrating another Black Friday—the one just before Easter—the day we received the deal of a lifetime. God chose to “go negative” by leaving heaven and coming down to earth, living a perfect life, shedding his blood for us, and taking our sin so that we could live eternally “in the black.” God marks us with his stamp of approval because of Jesus’ sacrifice. We don’t need to worry about debt or making payments—Jesus already took care of that for us.
We get to live in the black every day—free of charge. As Christians who are daily living in the black, we’ve been called to “walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4 ESV). In the Book of James, we are also told that living in the black means actively living and showing our faith to others, regardless of the circumstances. Just like those retail stores who rely on our need to find the best deal, Satan also counts on us giving into our sinful human nature. Just like the credit card with the fine print, the devil always presents us with opportunities to take advantage of something that looks like it’s a great deal. He knows each of us inside and out, and he just waits to offer us a bargain that preys on our unique weaknesses.
None of us is exempt from the devil’s “deals,” and he’ll make them look like the bargain of the century. Because we are sinful humans, we often forget that we live in the black. We sign the shady contract with the devil and forget to read the fine print that outlines the consequences of our actions. When we make these mistakes, though, we still get to bear all the benefits of that Black Friday. While we still must live with the consequences of our choices, the guilt and shame of our actions are removed. There is no fine print. We are forgiven—no questions asked. And, because we are living in the black, we are able to have a personal relationship with Jesus and live out our faith through our actions and words.
Thankfully, Jesus wasn't after finding the best deal on that Black Friday. He could have taken the bargain, spared his own suffering, and left us to live in the filth of our sin. The devil offered him some pretty tempting bargains. But he didn't. In fact, he insisted he pay the full and ultimate price for us with his blood to make us right so that we can enjoy a lifetime of undeserved forgiveness and an eternity of living in the black with him. And that is the best deal we will ever get.
Prayer: Jesus, thank you for paying the ultimate price to ensure that we will be yours forever. Work in our hearts and provide us the strength we need to show our faith to others as we “live in the black,” both now and in eternity.