4 Boxes of Ex-Lax


The manager of a store is interviewing a young man who has applied for a sales position. The young man has no sales experience and the manager is concerned. He stresses over and over again the importance of selling something. The young man assures him that he can make sales and he is hired. Three days go by and not one single sale. The manager is getting frustrated and reminds the new employee that he has to sell something to keep his job. The young man assures him that tomorrow he will sell something.

A customer comes in the next day, coughing a lot and clearly not feeling too well and the new employee sells him 4 boxes of Ex-Lax. He is pretty proud of himself so he tells his boss who rightfully questions him – “why on earth, would you sell someone with a really bad cough 4 boxes of Ex-Lax?”

“Well”, the new employee says, “he will think twice about coughing now”.


Ever feel like you’ve been sold a bill of goods? That what was supposed to bring relief only made things worse? If I be honest here, I would have to admit that there have been times in my following Jesus life that I questioned if I had bought a bill of goods. I’m sure that has never happened to you but I am just saying that there was a time when the grief and criticisms I got from being a Christ follower seemed greater than the sum total of the good I got from being one.

I went to church, I regularly read my Bible, I prayed, I went to Bible studies, I even led Bible studies, but at the end of the day, I was still me. Bottled up, pent up, filled with anger, lacking in joy, finding a hard time keeping hope alive. I expected the Christian walk to change my life and make it good. No not good, great.

And it didn’t.

Like the man in this joke, I was trying to treat the symptoms the wrong way. I was trying to be a good Christian. Nothing wrong with that except this: it’s not my job. It’s not my job to make myself be a good Christian. I can do all the right things and still be miserable ol’ me because I am the one doing it. I can’t make myself be a good Christian any more than Ex-Lax can stop that man’s cough. When I learned surrender, which only came after NOTHING I did worked,  only after giving up and letting go, I began to see myself change. I can’t be a good Christ follower, I can only follow Christ. And only as He helps me, can I even do that well. Or at all.


I have learned the hard way that there is an easier way. I wish there had been an easier way to learn it!

Have you ever experienced that kind of doubt?

Do you find it easy to surrender?

I would love to hear from you, Diane

pic credit 1: reddit.com

pic credit 2: rockstarplush.com

pic credit 3: imgkid.com



  1. Dear Devo mom, thanks for your post, it seems to me the Spirit of God is trying to bring some encouragement to our friends online, I had a blog post which i called BECOMING, i think the spirit of it is in sync with your post. I love it when the Holy Spirit does things like that, just tells me He’s in charge. Praise God! Pls keep on blogging, love your posts.


    • Thank you for your words of encouragement. You know the verse that says out of the mouth of two or three witnesses, a matter is confirmed. Well you are my third witness in just two weeks. I hope to keep blogging. Thank you again. I do love it when, by God’s Spirit, we can be in sync with people in different places! Why did you stop blogging, if you don’t mind me asking?


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