Loss Aversion

Daily Devotional – I’m Normal.™  I AM Ministries

“To promote Godly living in a culture committed to destroying it”

Normal I AM

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Loss Aversion

Human beings are irrational beings. We do things that don’t make sense because we are controlled by forces we refuse to acknowledge or of which we are unaware. One need only to consider the phrase “Love is blind” to conjure up images of someone we know who acted irrationally while in the throes of courtship. Other, more ordinary situations, also elicit irrational behavior.

Spiritually, we are little different. For example, can you think of one rational reason why anyone would continue through life without a plan for eternity? They know someday they will die, yet they unaware of what happens the moment their heart ceases to beat. Many people live with a haunting fear of death – both sad and ironic – when they could be freely given eternal life today and the promise of Heaven to come.

Similarly, can you name one rational reason why someone would live under the cloud of shame, guilt, and condemnation of his own sin, when he could be freely and fully forgiven? , Jesus Christ has offered to clothe us in His perfect righteousness. Refusing this offer brings eternal separation from God. It is unfortunate that people resist the love, compassion, mercy, and grace of their Creator God and live their life in isolation and independence from Him, even though He loves them very much.

These behaviors simply don’t make sense from a logical perspective, yet many people live and act this way. They have never been saved spiritually, know they should get saved, but refuse to turn their life over to Christ. Humans are wired to rebel against God, and often go kicking and screaming on their way to finding Him. I know firsthand – I resisted for years.

Many unrecognized forces integrate to create our irrational behaviors. For example, mundane purchasing habits at the grocery store offer an amusing peek at our souls. Researchers have observed that when the price of eggs falls, customers buy a small percentage more, on average, to capitalize on the bargain. However, when the price rises by an equal amount, consumers cut back by two and one-half times! The feeling of dread related to the small loss incurred due to the price increase overpowers the small pleasure we get from a price savings and we overreact in our behavior. Behavioral researchers call this phenomenon “loss aversion”.

Fortunately, Jesus Christ is not offering us a price savings or a discount on salvation. He can’t, because He offers salvation as a free gift. Moreover, He is not an economic choice, He is a spiritual choice and the only Way to Heaven (John 14:6). He is an invaluable gain, not a loss. Nevertheless, most people view salvation in terms of the loss component. They view a commitment to Christ as a loss of independence and freedom –things to be avoided with firm resolve. People rebel against God or anyone else telling them what to do. They want to be at the helm of their lives, make their own decisions, have their own way, and fulfill their own desires. To them, their rebellion against God is loss aversion.

People also see faith in Christ as a loss to their pride. Most people are loath to admit they are in a fallen, sinful, depraved condition, but that’s how God views them (Romans 3:9-18). Most people do not want to admit their total helplessness in saving themselves spiritually. In our pride, we’re convinced we can get to Heaven in our own strength and merits. Humans possess an overpowering desire to contribute to their salvation, but God’s plan of salvation doesn’t include a contribution by us. It comes as a gift.

As long as a person views a relationship with God and Jesus Christ as a loss, they are destined to spend eternity in the torment of Hell. Given the proportion of non-Christians to Christians in the world, it seems the rate of salvation loss is far more than two and a half times – much worse than loss aversion rates for eggs and with consequences that are far more dire.

It is not normal to view salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ as a loss. Sin, however, is a loss in God’s eyes and Scripture tells us we are all sinners (Romans (3:23). There is nothing we can do to atone for our sins. When you consider who God is, how much He loves us, how much He did through His Son Jesus Christ to offer us redemption, the rational response is to run to God in broken repentance and gladly receive His salvation.

In the game of life and death, loss is inevitable. If you attribute obedience to God and faith in His Son as loss, you may enjoy this life more by glorying in your sin. If you attribute an eternity of torment a loss, you will be rewarded for your faith in Him. There are only two choices – accept a perceived loss now, or suffer a guaranteed loss later. Which loss will you avert in your eternity?

In His love and service,

Jeff Myers
A servant of Jesus Christ

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