I had a friend who had smoked for years. One day, she looked into the mirror and was startled to see that she looked like death warmed over. Smoking was a habit she had indulged in for so long, she had grown accustomed to the smell; she had no clue that she reeked. It wasn’t until she was literally dying from smoking, and from living such a hard life, that she woke up so to say, to “smell the roses” before people were placing them at her grave.
The smoke and haze of our culture of deception is getting thicker. Am I getting accustomed to it, not realizing that it means eventual suffocation of truth? Am I taking drags on little lies here and there? An I dulled to the fact that our culture is becoming more and more pagan, and that is a foul stench? Am I inhaling the false, “open-minded” thinking that goes against scripture, but is enveloping our world? Do I see the haze and smog of deception can even dim my view and clog my lungs, leading eventually to death?
It can be so subtle, this gradual adjustment to thinking that goes against scripture. The grey mist is filtering through the doors of our churches in well intended books that shift the focus from God’s complete power in transforming us, to a focus on ourselves and what we need to do to reach emotional maturity…thus implying a deeper “spirituality.”
Sometimes the smoke isn’t so subtle, and its blackness belches from the very heart of a church. A small country church down the road from here assures in its mission statement, that it is a safe place to worship, study, and build relationships with God and others, regardless of race, creed, sexual orientation, gender identity, or cultural backgrounds. The immorality formerly considered dangerous is now inhaled as a norm, and we are “showing love” in our churches by ignoring God’s standard. We that seek the fresh air of Truth are labeled as judgmental and cruel.
Sometimes the smell of death is diffused with attractive nuances. At our local college, there is a variety of courses available in “Health and Wellness” careers, most of which are taught by a shaman priestess. She will teach you about Reiki: “a system of assisting energy movement through the laying on of hands,” and she is dedicated to the “balancing of mind, body and spirit.” Another class offered is called “Slavic Horoscopes” where you can learn about 27 energies that will “empower” you and “guide” you in a new direction in life. Mmmm… smells interesting.
My daughter recently returned from a whirlwind tour of England, Belgium, Denmark and France where the smog is choking. Churches are empty and the look on many people’s faces show they are dying for a breath of Fresh Air.
While in Denmark, my daughter and her friend had a very interesting conversation with a man who was delighted to meet these two young women who considered themselves “born again.” He was delighted because he also considered himself to be “born again, but “progressive.” Being a student of political science, he was amazed at the lack of “progressive” thought in our country; after all, in his country you could “marry” a goat. (And he was not joking.) In the confusion of the haze, what formerly would have been considered unthinkable is now possible: a person claiming to be a Christ follower, being open to bestiality.
Squinting and rubbing my watery, sore eyes, I fight to see through the smoke and haze of deception. My only chance for survival is to follow the Light. It cuts through lies and off- base thinking, and is a beacon of hope to my heart in these darkening days. Following the Light includes hiding His Word in my heart, that I might not sin against Him (Psalm 119:11).
The more I am familiar with the truths found in God’s Word, the more I can detect lies. Not only does God provide light through His life-giving words, His Spirit becomes the smoke detector in my mind, sounding the alarm when there are even molecules of deception beginning to cloud my view of Truth.
Lord, help me to never become adjusted to the sickening, suffocating clouds of deception that surround me. Be my light, be my smoke detector and be the very air that I breathe; for You alone are fresh and good and sweet to my panting lungs.