Yesterday, I saw a picture of diable, French word for devil, in one of my daughter’s French picture dictionaries. He had horns and looked devilish and scary. I said to my wife, “It would have been much easier if that is how the devil looks.” It would be easy for us all and there would be nothing called temptation. We would all know instantly that the enemy was after us and as intelligent beings, we would avoid it like a plague.
The reality is that, yes, as God’s children, we are sent as sheep in the midst of wolves, but the wolves do not look like wolves, they look like sheep. Temptations do not look evil, they are alluring, inviting, harmless, pleasant.
In the garden of Eden, Eve saw that the fruit was desirable, she did not see the vicious cycle the human race was about to enter. It is called an entrapment and it is the same strategy used by the enemy today. No one in their right senses would move near sin if they knew that it was a trap, a bait.
The amazing thing about entrapments is that they do not have to be obvious like adultery. You can be completely chaste sexually and still fall into a trap. A good thing can be a trap. The enemy set a trap for Jesus using God’s own word! It is a serious matter when even the written word can be used as a bait. It may seem like paranoia but Jesus recognized that a trap was being set for him through his very close buddy Peter, when on the face of it, Peter was just honestly concerned about his Master. Jesus addressed the issue immediately, when he said to Peter, “Get thee behind me Satan…”
The reality in which we live, work, play and even worship, is such that evil looks good, and at times even godly. Ravenous wolves appear in sheep clothing, princes of darkness appear as angels of light, ways of destruction appear as the right way. All around us are entrapments. The implication is that to survive and to thrive in this reality, we need to be like Jesus, about whom the scriptures say, “…he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears…”
To avoid the entrapments around me, I need to depend on the all knowing Spirit of God. The only way to successfully navigate this field of mines, is to be in constant communication with the one who knows the terrain, who knows that this seemingly harmless situation is a trap, and this business deal on which I have conducted my due diligence and all looks good, is really a bait. Maybe others can, but I am realizing that I cannot afford to be out of tune with the Spirit because my eyes and my mind often tell me something is good when in reality, it is an entrapment. Even the written word requires the Spirit’s interpretation, for “the letter killeth but the Spirit gives life.”
As a sheep among sheep-looking wolves, I need to learn how to hear the voice of the Shepherd, who incidentally is called the Word and is therefore always speaking. If I make it a habit to hearken to the Shepherd’s voice, in the midst of entrapments that are designed to derail, only goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life.