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"Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee..." Psalm 60:4

LIFE IS A MARKETPLACE
By Fred O. Blakely

Both revelation and experience underscore the inescapability of moral choice for the believer in Christ. Constantly, he must weigh flesh against spirit, time against eternity, and chart his course in consequence of the decision. Thus, life becomes a marketplace in which we daily compute and exchange values, either wisely or foolishly. But it has ever been so. At "earth's great market", as it has been called, man has always trafficked in the issues of life. And more often than not he has emerged the loser from his transactions. It was so with Mother Eve. Over against continuance in simple obedience to God, with its divine rewards, she set the "lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life" (I Jn. 2:15-17; Gen. 3:6). She weighed the values and made her choice, with tragic disaster to both herself and her posterity. 
Likewise, did Esau, Achan (Josh. 7:1-26), Balaam (Num. 22-25; II Pet. 2:15-16; Jude 11; Rev. 2:14), the rich young ruler (Lu.18:18-25), Judas Iscariot (Matt. 27:3-5), Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-11), and the Laodiceans (Rev. 3:14-18). They all sought to save their carnal lives, but at the expense of the spiritual (Matt. 16:24-27). They traded in life's marketplace, but were pitifully bested by Satan in the deal. 
Similarly, there are many today outwitted by the Serpent, who is "more subtle than any beast of the field." As J. T. McKissick has said: "The people of our day saunter through the streets with as much swagger as an Indian sword-dancer, balancing the things of time against the joys of eternity." Suffice it to say, whenever the things of earth take precedence over those of Heaven, or the ways of men are chosen in preference to the will of God, it is a bad bargain. The one making it will certainly have to bear the consequences sooner or later. 
But it is heartening to know that every trader at life's marketplace has not been foolish. We think first of all, of course, of the Son of God. He met the tempter on the same grounds as Eve (Matt. 4:1-11). At least something of the same values were on the counter. And our Lord—praise be to God!—chose for eternity, rather than for time only. He was "tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin" (Heb. 4:14-16). He re-sisted the Devil, and he fled from Him. So—bless God!—Paul could write: "For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of One shall many be made righteous" (Rom. 5:10-21). 
There have been others who have been wise in evaluating the issues of life. Moses, confronted with the wares of the Devil, is such an example. He chose rather to "suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season, esteeming the reproaches of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt.. . ." (Heb. 11:24-27). Casting a glance at all this world had to offer them and comparing it with the "riches of Christ," the Apostles also "forsook all, and followed Him" (Lu. 5:11). Paul, after appraising all of his enormous assets as Saul of Tarsus, exclaimed, "I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Jesus Christ my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ" (Phil. 3:7-12). And, without doubt, there are many today who are wisely choosing for Christ, rather than for the evil one. 
But what are we doing? We must incessantly be on guard. "Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God. . . For we are made partakers with Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end" (Heb. 3:12-14). Life is indeed a marketplace. As traders there, let us learn to evaluate by the divine standard, and to persist in doing so.