You didn’t see it coming. Or you did, but you didn’t recognize it for what it was.
When I first started driving, I used to drive myself and one of my brother’s to piano lessons. There was a game we’d play while I was driving. It was the early/mid-90s and I had an uncanny talent for identifying the make and model of a vehicle by their headlights or taillights alone. Ford F150, Chevy S10. Corvette. Buick. Camero. Lumina. Crown Victoria. Grand Am. Mustang. Toyota Celica. Suburban. Firebird.
I’m not so good at it anymore - there are more different models out there than there were half a lifetime ago and I don’t spend nearly as much time looking at them. Though you better believe I can still spot a Corvette when it is little more than a speck on the horizon.
Sometimes it is hard to tell what something is until it is on top of you. Our enemy works like that. Not only does he disguise his attempts to tempt and distract us … he clothes himself like the wolf among the sheep covered in fleece.
“…even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.”
- 2 Corinthians 11:14
He comes at us when we are blurry-eyed with tiredness, shaky with weakness, and covers who he is beneath a guise of compassion, help, kindness … a safety net.
He did this with Jesus. He came to a hungry Jesus [Matthew 4:4-11] in the desert with an idea for how to obtain bread. He invited Him to prove He is the Son of God by testing God’s words in Psalms 91:
“For He will give His angels charge concerning you,To guard you in all your ways.They will bear you up in their hands,That you do not strike your foot against a stone."
- Psalm 91:11-12
Yes, that’s right. He can quote scripture. Do you expect to hear scripture slithering from the mouth of your enemy? We know our enemy lurks in the darkness - but in Isaiah he is referred to as the star of morning and the son of the dawn. Thrown down from heaven when his unrighteousness and corruption revealed themselves, but you better believe he recalls beauty and light. He once stood in the presence of God and the father of lies is an impressionist.
“How you have fallen from heave,O star of the morning, son of the dawn!You have been cut down to the earth,You who have weakened the nations!”
- Isaiah 14:12
So sometimes we don’t see him coming because instead of preparing something juicy, tempting, and glaringly wrong - he presents himself as something right and good. What defense do we have against such a seasoned masquerade?
When Sam and I played that game, I could tell what those vehicles were because I knew them. Their patterns were ingrained in my brain because I had seen them so many times before - ads, magazines, commercials, posters, calendars. I’m the girl who asked for transformers for her birthday as a kid. I knew cars and trucks.
“Your word is a lamp to my feetAnd a light to my path.”
- Psalm 119:105
“… I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”
- John 8:12
The best way to identify a counterfeit is to know the real thing inside and out. When we are immersed in light and life, we know when we’re being dazzled by a mirage.
“for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light.”
- Ephesians 5:8