When Jerry and I travel, we're always required (like everybody) to go through the security post at the airport. The TSA clerk takes our driver's licenses and carefully scans our faces to make sure we're who our documents say we are. But they don't stop there. They always hold our licenses under some sort of light scanner to check for authenticity. This equipment of theirs is able to detect little bits of information (like holograms and stuff) that are designed into our government-issued cards but can't be seen with physical eyesight alone. No matter how many times they've done it to us Shirers before, and no matter how many hundreds of IDs they've examined in their career, they still don't trust their own perception. They always-always!-put the ID under that light to be sure the one in their hand at that moment is the real deal, not a fake.
The light is what separates fact from fiction.
If the TSA screeners are that militant about checking for deception under the light of their little lie detectors, what about us? Isn't our personal homeland security as valuable as their national homeland security? That's why we must always expose our thoughts and motivations to the light -- just checking, ma'am -- for any bits of deception trying to sneak on board from within.
Our deceiver operates in the darkness. And he hopes we will, too. As long as we're stumbling around shrouded in darkness-not really sure what's true and what's not-we'll never be able to see him for who he really is and detect the underlying intentions of his plans. What we need is a spotlight that pierces the darkness and lays bare all his evil schemes, systems, and illusions. The truth of God's Word is that light!
The fact is, you've never met a magician as astounding at his craft as the devil is at his. Houdini has nothing on him. Satan is the master illusionist. He pulls the wool over our eyes, causing us to think happiness exists where it doesn't, that security is offered where it isn't. He makes evil appealing and righteousness boring, then entices us down a dark path that leaves us addicted, joyless, and empty. That's why a spouse can feel justified in having an affair, or a young adult can be convinced she won't be harmed by playing with morally questionable fire, or a businessperson can feel excused for making a less-than-honorable deal. Somehow the enemy's created the illusion in their minds that they are the exception to the rule.
Why light? Why truth? It's because nothing else in our lives is steady enough to do what only light and truth can.
Feelings, for example. Feelings change. Emotions are unstable. The right movie with the right music and somber storyline can bring tears to my eyes and threaten to sadden me for the rest of the day. But then, just as abruptly, one of my boys will say or do something cute and put a huge smile back on my face. Why? Because feelings change based on external stimuli. Sometimes moment by moment.
The same is true of intelligence. Even the most brilliant among us have changed our minds on an issue after acquiring more information or gaining new perspective. Why? Because minds change. Sometimes from day to day.
What about your gut? Can you trust your gut? Every human being has a conscience -- that deep, internal instinct that steers you morally. But our conscience is part of our humanity -- frail and susceptible to sin, significantly shaped by things like our environment, our parents, our teachers, our life circumstances. Yes, the Holy Spirit awakens and engages our conscience after we're born again, but it's still unreliable as an ultimate source of ascertaining truth. Why? Because even the conscience can change. Sometimes in the heat of the moment, and easily over time.
I'm not suggesting that feelings, intelligence, and instinct can never help you in making life decisions. I'm simply saying that ultimately nothing should be trusted to govern your life like an unchangeable standard.
Again, reason enough why we always need the ever-bright spotlight of God's truth-guiding, directing, regulating everything that comes our way. Our job as belt-of-truth-wearing believers is to recalibrate our feelings, instinct, conscience, and experience to line up with it.
Excerpted from The Armor of God.
BONUS: Learn More About The Armor of God from Priscilla Shirer
A devoted, devilish enemy seeks to wreak havoc on everything that matters to you: your heart, your mind, your marriage, your children, your relationships, your resilience, your dreams, your destiny. But the enemy always fails miserably when he meets a woman dressed for the occasion.
The Armor of God, more than merely a biblical description of the believer's inventory, is an action plan for putting it on and developing a personalized strategy to secure victory.