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            No matter how long you stare at the picture below, your brain will tell you that the smaller circle pattern has a larger center and the larger circle pattern has a smaller center.  In reality, it's an optical illusion.  Both centers are the same size.  Optical illusions are brain teasers.  Some are geometric, like the one below.  Others are illustrations which have hidden objects, or subjects that change appearance depending on which side of the brain is active when you view the picture.  Whatever shape or form they take, optical illusions are just that- illusions.  They are not what they appear to be.

            The Bible tells us there is a grand and dangerous optical illusion in our 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).  What goes into you 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 show (somewhat like the Twilight Zone).  It just so happened to be a dark and stormy night, so the stage was set for nerves to be on edge.  I've never really liked watching scary things, but my sister had talked me into it.  As the climax approached, a bolt of lightning and a clap of thunder sent us into each other's arms and a split second later 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.

            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 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                                                                                                 2-27-2011

 

 

 

 

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