Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. (Jam 1:16 ESV)The story is told of a certain African tribe that learned an easy way to capture ducks in a river. Catching their agile and wary dinner would be a feat indeed, so they formulated a plan.
The tribesmen learned to go upstream, place a pumpkin in the river, and let it slowly float down into the flock of ducks. At first, the cautious fowl would quack and fly away. After all, it wasn't ordinary for pumpkins to float down the river! But the persistent tribesmen would subsequently float another pumpkin into the re-gathered ducks. Again they would scatter, only to return after the strange sphere had passed. Again, the hungry hunters would float another pumpkin. This time the ducks would remain, with a cautious eye on the pumpkin, and with each successive passing, the ducks would become more comfortable, until they finally accepted the pumpkins as a normal part of life.
When the natives saw that the pumpkins no longer bothered the ducks, they hollowed out pumpkins, put them over their heads, and walked into the river. Meandering into the midst of the tolerant fowl, they pulled them down one at a time. Dinner? Roast duck.
Satan is described as the deceiver and deception comes in many forms. The Greek word in James means to be led astray. We can be deceived or led away from Christ in many ways. We can be deceived by false teachers (Mat 24:4); we can be deceived by sin, thinking that we can live a life contrary to the gospel and still inherit the kingdom (1 Cor. 6:9-10); we can be deceived by the negative influence of the wrong people (1 Cor 15:33); or by being led astray by the love of money (2 Pet 2:15); and even be deceived into thinking we do not sin at all! (1 john 1:8). In what ways are you tempted to be led away from Christ? Or what ways do you see the body of Christ led away from Christ? Let me know!