It was a rainy New Year’s morning in Hawaii and my family was invited to a lunch celebration at my aunt’s home. On the way, I stopped off at a local florist to pick up a gift of flowers to present to my aunt’s family. The florist had many beautiful arrangement but one that caught my eye was placed near the entrance. Because of the rain, the flowers were lightly adorned with rain drops. It was a picturesque setting, one that would be appropriate for the living room of my aunt. I purchased the arrangement and within a few minutes, presented it to my aunt at her home. After thanking me and exchanging the perfunctory pleasantries, her gaze became riveted upon the arrangement positioned upon her coffee table. Her forehead furrowed as she exclaimed, “These flowers are fake!”
“What?” I laughed and thought she was joking but she continued her rant as she touched the petals of the flowers. “These flowers are fake!”
Another aunt attempted to rescue me. “Oh no, I am sure these are not fake, the…”
“These flowers are fake!” cutting off the other aunt. “I know my flowers!”
I peered at the arrangement, touched the flowers, and with chagrin, acknowledged my error. There was no sign or card in the shop that designated these flowers as fake. I had embarrassed myself and my aunt by neglecting to verify the authenticity of my gift. I assumed that all of the flowers in the florist shop were real; the rain and setting further camouflaged the truth from me.
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.
1 John 4:1 (ESV)
The incident reminds me of my need to be ever vigilant of false messages and prophets subverting God’s Word. Like the fake flowers, the setting may be in a mainstream church or church-sponsored seminar. The speaker may have all the credentials of a legitimate Bible teacher or minister. It is during these times that I must be ever more alert to subtle deceptions. I cannot be lulled into complacency as I did with the fake flowers, thinking that because I am in a familiar setting, God’s Word is being truthfully and faithfully presented. Satan’s schemes are far more subtle and insidious than I can ever imagine. I need to be aware of the fake flowers masquerading amidst the real ones.
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.