Written by Marina Hanna of North York, ON

Some kid was screaming in the next aisle over, and I was wishing I could shop in peace as I lethargically shuffled my feet through an outlet store the other day. I grabbed another shiny knick-knack, turning it around in my palms. I quickly conjured up a reason I really needed it as I tossed into the cart with the rest of my things. My eyes wandered around the shelves in search of the next good deal.

I confess. The act of acquiring stuff is practically magical to me; there’s nothing like coming home with something new. My vice of choice is beautiful stationary — if I have it in my hands, it’s nearly impossible to put it back.

Unsurprisingly, I was in the stationery aisle when a crystal clear sentence presented itself in my soul, completely out-of-the-blue.

He’s using this against you, you know.

I froze, a person in suspended animation.

I know when a thought is from God because they’re typically quite unrelated to whatever I was thinking about, like a gentle shot to the heart. This time, I had been stressing over if I should purchase a notebook with pineapples on it for my science class, so…yeah.

Anyways, I asked God, “Using what against me, and how?”

Satan, He clarified. He knows that if he can entice you into draining all of your money into foolish, meaningless garbage, then you won’t have any left to spend on what I’m preparing for you.

I swallowed hard, the notebook still in my hand. I looked at the ground. God was convicting me about my spending habits as I was in the act. I slowly became angry, like a person who’s just realized they’ve been taken advantage of.

What God was revealing here made perfect sense. I grew up surrounded by families with new money who participated in consumer culture like it was a competitive sport. Bigger was always better. I remember feeling inferior to my friends, who styled the best outfits and the newest toys.

God was showing me how clever Satan is.

He curled his grip around an insecurity I’ve had since childhood. I began to see how he can target the weakest parts of our humanity, like wanting to be special, popular or rich. If we’re not careful, he’ll redirect our affections from the eternal to the temporal so subtly we don’t even notice.

If we’re not careful, he’ll redirect our affections from the eternal to the temporal so subtly we don’t even notice.

1 Peter 5:8 warns us to “stay alert” for Satan, comparing him to a lion looking for a person to devour. I saw then that the devouring can happen slowly, as a gradual chipping away at your resolve to love God alone.

My eyes were now aware of the roaring lion prowling around my heart, and the Holy Spirit told me that it was time to get the heck out of that store.

My revelation having fully unwound itself beneath the bright lights of the stationary aisle, I put down that notebook and I walked away.