Have you ever entered a store just to browse but end up coming out with a bag full of new stuff? Somehow between the front door and the checkout counter you found one (or five) things you couldn't live without. Are stores really that in tune with our needs or is something else going on?
For a short time I worked at a retail chain as a salesman. During my time there I learned that we could sell items on a rack in the checkout line for sometimes three or four times what it was listed for elsewhere in the store (disclaimer: I did not personally set these prices or come up with the idea. I was only responsible for selling items). A printer cable would be listed for $5 in the back of the store, but at the front it would list for $20. We called this front rack the "impulse rack". I wish I could tell you that this tactic did not work, but the truth is that it did, and it did very well.
Impulse racks came about through market research into how people think. By understanding how a customer thinks they found that they could sell more, thereby making their business more profitable. Learning of this made me consider how well I know my thinking habits. Am I being watchful as the Bible charges me to be (1 Peter 5:8), or am I blind and becoming a victim of all of life's impulse racks around me?
In Galatians 5:1 we are reminded not to submit again to the burdens of sin. This also includes our way of thinking. We have been set free from the impulses that imprisoned us, literally and spiritually, because of Jesus' gift of his life on the cross. As we stand in checkout lines throughout this season, let us not just be watchful for God to move, but also guard our minds from the impulses of this world.