Saturday, September 26, 2015
Here is a tranquil beach scene that looks exactly like a painting, but it's actually a photo I took during our stay at the Outer Banks. As I stood on the beach, I zoomed in on this distant colorful umbrella and snapped the picture. It looks so much like a painting you can almost see the brush strokes. In fact, it looks more like a painting than a picture, which I think is really interesting. I may even use it for a book cover for an upcoming book I have in the pipeline.
Although I'm really thrilled with the way this picture turned out, I just can't miss the chance of using it as an example of a thing looking like something it is not.
Two of my recent posts referred to Satan's tactics to deceive us and that's what we are reminded of with this painting/picture. We've been doing an Andy Stanley study, "Twisting the Truth," in our Sunday School class. It's subtitled, "Learning to discern in a culture of deception." And isn't that what the dark forces are trying to do in our lives daily -- twist the truth. Notice, the word "truth" is still there -- and there is truth in what we see around us, but you can count on the truth being twisted ever so subtly in many cases, and downright blatantly in other cases.
Jesus warned us in Matthew 7:15: "Beware of false prophets who come in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves." There again, we have a thing looking like something it is not. It looks like a mild sheep, but is inwardly a hungry wolf. We could use that simile to describe a false prophet -- or, sad to say, even a friend who might be tempting you to go in a direction you know you should not. How many times in life do we see examples of the old phrase, "With friends like that, who needs enemies?"
Paul tells his young friend Timothy to be careful who he trusts, saying, "having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power, avoid such people!" 2 Timothy 3:5.
The key to being able to discern rightly is being close to the One who knows what is real and what is not real. A right relationship with the Lord will help keep you centered in the truth. Our good friend Paul wrote to the Thessalonians and told them, "But test everything; hold fast to what is good" 5:21.
Enjoying a picture that looks like a painting is fun, but making a decision or accepting a thing that looks like something it is not can be dangerous. We all desperately need to "learn how to discern in a culture of deception."