The Bible tells us there is a grand and dangerous optical illusion which we encounter in life and we run into it on a daily basis. It is the temptation of sin. Proverbs is so mindful of this illusion it repeats the warning two separate times (Prov. 14:12; 16:25). Sin looks harmless at first glance, even good at times, but in the end, its reality is death. And like optical illusions which dazzle our eyes and override the brain's rational process, our eyes are the instruments which introduce both godly and sinful thoughts into our lives. Jesus illustrated it in this way, "The lamp of the body is the eye; if therefore your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore, the light that is in you is darkness, how great the darkness!" (Matt. 6:22-23). Simply put what goes into your being through your eyes has a direct effect on both your heart and mind. So, as the children's song goes, "Be careful little eyes what you see".
One time, when my sister and I were in high school and our parents were out for the evening, we stayed up late to watch a Rod Serling’s Night Gallery. The show was a compilation of stories that had a dark edge to them. I've never really liked watching scary things, but my sister had talked me into it. In spite of the fact I didn’t really want to watch it, I found myself unable to turn away as the story progressed. It just so happened to be a dark and stormy night, so the stage was set for our nerves to be on edge as well, yet we kept watching. As the climax approached and the fright factor increased we were both mesmerized and at the same time trying to will ourselves to turn off the TV. At the exact moment our fears reached peak level a bolt of lightning and a clap of thunder pealed across the heavens and sent us into each other's arms followed by a frantic dash to the TV's OFF button! We never watched another episode. What had appeared to be fun, turned out to be anything but fun. It was an optical illusion.
I am no longer tempted to watch scary movies. I’ve learned they give me nightmares or cause a tremendous amount of anxiety. But it doesn’t mean I’m not prone to believing an optical illusion or two when it comes to sin. The apostle Paul told the Corinthian believers that everyone is prone to the temptation of sin (1 Cor. 10:13) but it is not a hopeless situation. He also reminded them that the Lord will always provide a way to escape that temptation. For some it is an accountability partner, for others it is prayer, and for others it is literally removing themselves from the situation which produced the temptation in the first place. Whatever it takes is whatever you must do and the Lord has given you the ability to do it. While support from others, physical action and prayer are powerful tools in battling temptation, there is still one tool that is even stronger.
The greatest scene of temptation in the New Testament is the encounter between Satan and Jesus (Matt. 4:1-11; Mk. 1:12-13; Lk. 4:1-13). No matter what Satan enticed Jesus with, fame, power or pleasure, Jesus steadfastly refuted those temptations with God's Word. It is the most powerful lens by which to view the optical illusion of sin. Jesus knew that Satan's promises were optical illusions and what was true for any aspect of life could only be found in God's Word. Like a lamp turned on in a dark room, God's Word dispenses light which shows everything for what it truly is. If you are being fooled by the optical illusion of sin, immerse yourself in God's Word and surround yourself with His people (Ecc. 4:9-12). This is the way a disciple keeps his/her eyes healthy.
Ann H. LeFevre, M. Div.
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