Total Cost of Ownership
Short term sacrifice with long term reward,
long term sacrifice with short term reward.
When it comes to the things we own; we often don't look at one very common trait of our purchases; "total cost of ownership". It's basically the long term view of what we will spend on an item; not just when we first purchase it, but also as we spend more later on on things like repair and maintenance.
Our lives can be the same way. We often dig into relief from need and turmoil without fully knowing the final cost of such relief. When we buy a car, we might buy the cheaper model thinking we're saving money. But then we sometimes don't pay attention to how much maintenance and repair will add to that cost in the end. So in the long run, we may actually pay more for an initially cheaper car, than for a higher quality machine. In the same way, we can borrow money from a friend or get it from a loan shark. We can get stress relief from prayer and meditation or from a street drug. We can find spiritual benefits in Christ or in something like witchcraft or Wicca.
Without knowing what we're in for when we seek what we need; we can easily get cheated by any system that offers solace. In the same way a schoolyard bully knows that a potential follower needs acceptance and control; the Devil knows what each of us is pining for. He knows how to hook us into it and how to offer a quick way to fill the holes. And like a drug dealer knows how to make a pill feel like benign fun, that Devil knows how to make his hooks look innocent and inviting.
So how do we avoid getting hooked? Get schooled by the big guy (God). I can tell you from experience, everyone out there offers information on where you can go to get what you need. But there's only one source that offers help that's good for absolutely everyone. So read and watch up. These lessons were given to me; and the more I learned, the more quickly I've been able to discern selfish from selfless, Godless from Godly and and real from fake.
The first and foremost step
Read the manual to life (AKA; The Bible), see my article on where to start and how to read.
The more we understand something, the less it can hurt us. It's hard to explain; but the more I read the Bible, the more I understand life and everything in it. It's actually pretty interesting, that so much of what applied thousands of years ago still applies now. The more I study it, the more I can identify those who are trying to manipulate it.
My own experience and research
From dabbling and engaging in other religions, to interviewing others, to engaging in heavy research; I've laid out everything I've learned about how get into the best situations when it comes to long term, total cost of ownership.
When it comes to how I maintain my life and how I build my spiritual future; the easy road is usually my last venture. I strength train my soul the same way I do my body; the harder the workout, the bigger the reward. So using easier things like spells, curses and making pacts with someone who wants my whole self in return; after years of trying it both ways, only one is clear... take the path laid out by God's son... it's the short term sacrifice with the long term reward. And here's information on how to avoid the opposite:
How to Get Used by the Dark Side (article) - Big business does it. High school cliques do it. But the one at the head of it all; he is, for now, all but condemned for his leadership role in the greatest hidden pyramid scheme the world has ever taken part in.
Wicca, Witchcraft, Wile (article) - Like it or not; believe it or not, all humans exist on the same battlefield. That basically leaves us in three potential positions:
Fighting for the wrong side,
A state of uncertainty or unawareness, or,
Fighting for God’s system and God’s family.
Cut to the Chase (Personal Peace in Spite of Turmoil) (article) - If we don't use things like the spells and agreements above, how can we find peace and solace in this world? Christ laid that plan out for us.
Spiritual Strength Training (article) - Faith is just like strength training, in fact, it is strength training. It's an investment that lowers the total cost of ownership by setting us up for perseverance.
The Realism of Sin (podcast) - Whatever the arguments, the total cost of ownership comes at our end; and it's often based on how we behave in this life.
Porn is Okay, Right? (article) - I researched, so I could understand the total cost of ownership for looking at porn. What I found were constant cycles of abuse, drug addiction, early death and the stunted ability for the people on the supply side to have true friendships, romances and families.
Being a Conduit (article) - Knowing we don't actually own anything is an incredibly liberating lesson.
Take it a step further
Staying away from the raw deal isn't just about discernment; it's also about closing doors to those who'll try to hook you. The tighter you close them, the harder it is to sway you. The following are ways to do just that, keep yourself in top spiritual shape.
Sin, a Realistic View (article) - A practical look at how and why we should close doors to the dark side.