Sunday, May 28, 2017

Smoke and Mirrors

An honest witness does not deceive, but a false witness pours out lies.

-- Proverbs 14:5 

Slot machines and concerts may draw the big crowds in Las Vegas, but magic acts like Criss Angel, David Copperfield and Penn and Teller can be the hottest tickets in town. Their clever illusions and sleight of hand are designed to trick the eye--and all while deceiving the audience that it's possible to make an elephant disappear into thin air. The crowd knows that there must be a trick, yet they still want to believe the incredible. Meanwhile, the magician never reveals the truth: the secret behind the hocus-pocus.

A very different kind of revelation is that split second when one's eyes are opened to a spiritual truth that changes everything. For Christ-followers that can happen when God shows us that we're going down the wrong path in some area of life. Then there's the ultimate eye-opener: when non-believers finally awaken to their need for Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. That's not just life changing--it's literally eternal.

When God's light breaks through, the Magictruth is revealed and we can finally see. Unfortunately, much of the world still chooses to remain deceived and enjoy the utter darkness of its existence. Meanwhile, Christ-followers who are open about their faith are accused of narrow-mindedness, bigotry or worse. Just surf the web or watch TV. You don't have to look hard to find articles or videos featuring Hollywood celebrities or so-called progressive journalists who point their fingers at "intolerant" Christians.

But depending on the context, is intolerance such a bad thing when the truth is at stake? After all, Jesus hates sin and declares himself to be the exclusive pathway to God. "I am the way, the truth and the life," he says. "No one comes to the Father except through me."

That's not very tolerant of God's Son. And his bold proclamation defies today's inclusive, politically correct environment. After all, it hurts feelings and suggests that some faiths are better than others. But society's demands for open-mindedness and equality are irrelevant. Jesus has no tolerance for their false gods and deceptions.

God's truth is near for those who truly seek it. And we have open access to this living water through the Bible, prayer and even wise counsel from fellow Believers. With such vast resources at hand, we should have less trouble than others with telling right from wrong and discerning the truth. But actually living this out is another matter. And that opens us up--and often rightfully so--to allegations of self-righteousness and hypocrisy. That's because the world is watching. And It's comparing our Sunday-morning words to our weekday deeds.

So are our words, thoughts and deeds little more than smoke and mirrors...or are we living on rock-solid faith? Let's not be deceived.

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