Smoke And Mirrors
“How did he do that?” Was the question each one of us asked as we wondered how the magician at a party I recently attended had left us spellbound with every trick he performed? Of course, we knew there was no magic involved in his performance. And yet, this showman’s mind games and deceptive techniques were the smoke and mirrors he needed to fool us into believing that his ‘magic’ was indeed supernatural. This got me thinking. If a magician could take advantage of the gaps in our minds by using smoke and mirrors to pretend something was impressive when it wasn’t, then is it possible we can be so easily deceived in our faith?
According to the Britannica Dictionary, ‘smoke and mirrors mean that something seems good but it isn’t real, it isn’t effective and it is done to take away from something else either embarrassing or unpleasant.’ Hmmm, smoke and mirrors. Perhaps this is why the enemy’s schemes are so efficient, so convincing, and so compelling, for he operates with the illusion of smoke and mirrors to make us believe something is good when it’s not, and he does it to get us to our direct our focus off the things that will help us to have a deeper relationship with God, and onto the things that aren’t beneficial or effective in our faith.
Directing our attention toward something else and distracting our gaze on things that are not effective in our faith, is so easily done when we’ve taken our eyes off Jesus and we’ve spent all of our time on other things that fill our days. Each one of the devil’s half-truths and distortions finds us slowly steering off course as he draws us away and draws us into his cleverly hidden agenda. And before we’ve realised what he’s up to, his sleight of hand techniques have found us hoodwinked once again, and he’s got us directing our gaze on the more glamorous side of our faith. You know, the parts where we’ve replaced stillness in God’s presence with productivity. Where we’ve focused on all our achievements rather than resting on what Jesus accomplished on the cross. And over time, we start to believe that these are good things to focus on in our faith because, let’s be honest, no one wants to be labelled as unproductive, right?
However, this artful deception is an illusion. It’s all smoke and mirrors as to why Jesus gave us the gift of salvation in the first place. And when we come out of the fog of the devil’s deception and see that his smoke and mirrors were just props and tools to make something seem good and effective when it wasn’t, then the misdirection the enemy used to get us to focus on something that isn’t real was all done to turn our attention from the important things that we need to pay attention to and onto the unimportant.
The key to dispersing the enemy’s smoke and mirrors is cultivating a daily habit of spending time with God. When we pay more attention to a deeper connection with the One whose presence makes the enemy disappear we can then see that all our striving, hustling and misconceptions that we need to do more and more and more in our faith rather than rest in the peace that Jesus offers us, we’ll be able to identify the enemy’s tricks far quicker than we did before.
He will attempt to direct our attention to something else by using smoke and mirrors, however, when you’ve experienced God on a deeper level, the gaps in our minds the enemy takes advantage of will be that much smaller for his schemes to be effective because they’ll be no room for him to operate.
Proverbs 4:11-13 says, ‘I guide you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths. When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble. Hold on to instruction, do not let go; guard it well, for it is your life.’ [NIV]
Smoke and mirrors turn our attention to the things that seem good but are not effective because each one of their superficial, empty promises keeps telling us we have to perform, we have to do more, we need to be more so that we’re more productive in our faith, is all smoke and mirrors and devalues what Jesus values in our lives. Intentional, quality time spent in God’s presence will help bring a real change in our faith that will disperse the smoke and mirrors and cause the enemy to disappear in a puff of smoke.
Fallen for the enemy’s smoke-and-mirrors tactics lately? Where could you be more intentional in discovering the stillness of God’s presence in your daily walk with Him?