Let’s say you decide to sell hotdogs at the big football game. How much do you charge? You would obviously have to take into account how much it costs you to buy, prepare & set up the food. Let’s say your costs are $1 per hotdog. If you sold them for just $2 you would probably sell a lot, but what if you knew that some people would gladly pay $4 if they were really hungry? Selling them for $4 would make you more money per hotdog, but sell less of them.
What should you do?
If you could tell that the first person walking by wasn’t very hungry you could charge him just $2 and probably make a sale. If you knew that the second person who walked by was really hungry and loved hotdogs, you could charge him $4 and still probably make a sale.
Why don’t you just put up a sign that says:
Hotdog for the really hungry $4.
Hotdog for the not-so-hungry $2.
Do you think that would catch on? You might have to be more subtle. How about adding 25 cents worth of condiments for this price list:
Hotdog-cheese, relish, onions, mustard $4.
Then you can find out, in a sly way, if the customers are willing to pay more.
IBM did something similar with printers. They made the “LaserWriter E” and to give those customers who are willing to pay more a chance to show themselves, IBM put an additional chip in some printers to slow them down so they could charge more for the “fast” printers! So, IBM mass-produced a single printer, put a “slow-down” chip in half of them and sold them at two prices.
Intel, the chip manufacturer, played a similar game by selling two processing chips at different prices. In this case the inferior chip was actually more expensive to produce because it was made by taking the superior chip and disabling one of its features. (The preceding information about IBM & Intel was taken from the book "The Undercover Economist" by Tim Harford)
I think that is how Satan works.
He has to be subtle in finding out who will pay more. He disables a feature on something that God has blessed you with and tries to get you to “upgrade” to his model.
For example, look at this picture. What do you see?
Did you see black spots or a lot of white?
Pretend that is your spouse. Satan tries to get you to focus on the few black spots (ex. they are late sometimes, they don’t put things back where they go, they don’t talk enough, they talk too much…) instead of focusing on all of the pure white space that God has blessed you with in your marriage: like a dependable partner, a lifelong friend, good conversations, a common love for the Lord…
Satan tries to get you to pay more for "something better" by getting you to focus on the black spots and by showing you an alternative that he tries to present as "superior" by adding a few wrinkles (or more likely by taking away a few wrinkles). Like someone who could be a prettier, younger, more personable spouse who appreciates you more.
Let’s say the picture is your church and the black spots might be: a boring sermon, a member you disagree with, a different opinion about worship…Yet you should be focusing on the good relationships, the servant hearts, and how you can work together to bring Jesus to the lost.
So, my prayer is that we see these temptations for what they are and not let Satan disable things that God has blessed us with to enrich our lives.
P.S. I really love my wife!