“Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God; for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth He any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished bringeth forth death.” James 1:13-15
Today’s Christian daily devotional
“The dances on the showroom floor are twenty dollars. The house gets half. That’s why we recommend you upsell your customers to the VIP rooms.” The bouncer rattles off his new employee speech as if he has recited it a thousand times.
He clears his throat and continues on. “It’s six-hundred dollars an hour up there; you keep four hundred, the house gets two. You girls also get half of all the liquor sales, plus you keep any tips. The VIP is where you can really bank.”
The girls look at each other with wide eyes. It was as if they had already won the lotto and were mentally spending their unseen fortune.
“I hate to be a buzz-kill, but what happens in those VIP booths?” I gaze at the private rooms cryptically while asking my question. It was hard not to take note of the blocked entryways; they were strategically hidden with potted plants.
The bouncer’s eyes darken. Apparently, questions made his cushy little job a bit harder.
“You make your own rules. Whatever you ladies are comfortable with, that’s what goes. We’re here to protect you. When you girls are happy, we all make money.” He smirks, eyeing each of us like the fresh meat that we were.
“Yeah, right.” I think to myself.
After finishing his spiel on the underworld workings of this upscale Atlanta strip club, we dancers were set free to mingle on the showroom floor. Each girl hunted for the man with the biggest bulge—in his wallet.
I had no problem skipping from man to man and performing dance after dance on that showroom floor. With every dance I did, I could feel the watchful eye of the bouncers carefully counting every dance. This was to ensure that none of us girls weren’t skimming off “their” cut.
“Hey, you’re new.” A short man in a sharp grey suit tugged on my garter and slipped a hundred inside.
He instantly had my full attention. I started to dance for him, like any other paying customer.
“No. I don’t want a dance here. I’m special. I want to be treated special.” He winked and flicked his eyes towards the booths up the stairs.
“Oh, no. I’m staying right here. You can have five dances right here.” I tap on his chest attempting to coerce him back into his seat, he stood up anyway.
“Where’s Ricky? I always get my way, honey.” He grinned in a way that made the hair on my arms prickle.
I quickly pulled that hundred out of my garter and shoved it right back in his hand.
A man sitting behind him made eye contact with me and waved a fresh twenty. I knew I wouldn’t have an issue picking up where I had left off.
“What’s the problem?” The bouncer with the sly grin tapped me on my shoulder.
“There’s no problem.” I swallowed hard, hoping that I could feign confidence and get out of this little fiasco quietly.
“Ricky, I’m not happy. I want a dance from this nice girl but she isn’t playing nice with me.” The customer pushed that same hundred into Ricky’s hand this time.
“Why aren’t you taking care of my boy over here? He’ll take good care of you.” Ricky pulled me over a couple of inches and whispered in my ear. It was clear that he wasn’t really asking a question; it was more of a demand.
“You said we could do what we want here, right? Well, I don’t want to go into those private booths. I’m fine working the floor for twenty dollars a dance.” I smile sweetly at the man waiting for me. Right now, he was my only salvation.
“Are you stupid? You’re wasting my time. There’s a lot of money to be made up there.” His grip tightened on my arm.
“There’s enough money to be made down here.” I turned away from him, but his grip on me was only tightening.
“You’ll go upstairs.” Ricky calmly breathed into my ear.
My heart was beating so hard that I felt like the sequins might just pop off my chest.
“Whatever.” I tried to play it cool, but I was seething with anger. There was no telling whom I hated more at that moment: the pushy customer, the greasy bouncer or that controlling manager, Ricky.
Grabbing the customer’s arm, I muster a fake smile.
The man waiting for his dance got up and started making a scene. After arguing for a minute with Ricky, he stomped out of the showroom.
The short man in the grey suit smiled triumphantly.
“You made a good choice, darlin’.” He loosened his tie as my stomach curdled.
We headed up the stairs together; arm in arm as if we had known each other for years, not minutes. I felt like I was inching my way towards my own private little hell. With every step of my stiletto, I could feel the agonizing crush of my soul.
In James 1:13-15 the Bible clearly warns that temptations can only affect us if our hearts are willing and open towards being tempted. It all starts with desire; otherwise temptation would have nothing solid to work with.
When I walked into that glittering Atlanta strip club, I had plenty of desires. I wanted to fill my bank account with shopping cash, to keep the peace and be cool with the bouncers and customers. My interests and goals had very little to do with God’s will for my life. The deeper I compromised my own personal convictions, the more hope I lost that that life would ever get any better. My own lusts ended up costing me more than I bargained for.
“Dear Heavenly Father,
You have a good plan for each one of us. But, that doesn’t mean we will all have the life you dreamed for us.
I know that my own lustful heart has brought me into some very bad places. Today, I take responsibility for my personal behavior and choices. I will stop blaming you for my mistakes.
Help me Lord. I feel like I have travelled so far down the path to nowhere I can’t see my way out of this mess! Save me from myself.
Where do I go from here, Lord? Show me what to do. Give me a heart that rejects rebellion. This is the very issue that has gotten me into most of my troubles.
Help me to seek your voice, to read your word and to follow your wisdom. Help me to see the opportunities that you will put in my path. I am ready to walk your way, Lord. I know it won’t be easy. Give me joy; that will be my strength.
Help me to give up the old habits, friends and lifestyles that will not be conducive to the life you want for me.
I will keep my eyes fixed on you. May every distraction fade to black.
In the end, I know I will be accountable for every decision in my life. From this day forward, I want to bring a smile to your face.
Lord, I want to wipe away the tears from your face. I know I have caused you much pain. This will not be the legacy of me. My story of victory is just getting started. In Jesus’ precious name, thank you for second chances, Amen.”
Thank you for reading today’s Christian daily devotional on verses: James 1:13-15
Please check back and see what we have for you tomorrow!
Author: Julia Shalom Jordan