The Camouflage Effect: How to Recognize and Counteract Satan's Tricks
For this Halloween my husband Ben and I helped out with a harvest party, an outreach our church sponsored in order to share God's love with our community. As part of the festivities, a group of of us participated in "Trunk or Treat" by decorating the trunks of our car and passing out candy in the church parking lot. In doing so Ben and I accidentally won the car decorating contest. I say 'accidentally' because our mindset was not so much one of creativity as it was a genuine desire to avoid extra work.
You see, my husband loves to hunt, so much so that he hijacks the back of our car for about six weeks a year as a storage spot for his hunting gear. (No worries. With only two of us at home, the groceries can fit into the back seat.) Knowing that Ben would be getting up super early on November 1st to get out into the woods, I wanted to spare him the extra work of having to unload the Trunk or Treat supplies and reload all of his gear. So his solution was to use his equipment that was already there to make a hunting theme for the night. We wanted to tie in Scriptural truth to the theme, and we did our best to steer clear of any glorification of evil or spookiness. But we did end up scaring people, rather unintentionally at first. You see, as part of the set up, my husband wore something called a ghillie suit, which makes his body look a little a bit like a bush or brush to blend in with the environment when he hunts.
Evidently the deer and wildlife are not the only ones fooled by the suit. Though his upper body sat well above the hunting shield, he still managed to blend in as part of the background, especially as it got darker. Add to this that the people's eyes were drawn to the orange signs and the candy that I held a few feet away from that. Most people either didn't notice him or thought he was part of the scenery... until he spoke up. That's when they jumped. I mean, how would you feel if a bush started talking to you? It kind of reminds me of that scene from "The Wizard of Oz" when the tree starts talking to Dorothy.
Ben didn't mean to scare or startle anyone at first. But I'm not gonna lie; as the night went on, everyone seemed to get a kick out of people being startled by the one whom they had not even noticed at first. Fortunately, the adults and older children who had gotten startled thought it was funny too. When he realized how much others enjoyed this surprising, adult version of "Peek-a-Boo," Ben started really started getting into the role of talking bush.
Here's the thing, Satan is probably the greatest master of camouflage in the universe. He does not create, nor is there anything good about him. But he can blend into the environment and make himself appear to be good, all while contorting and defiling our lives and understandings. The key is to draw us in close while diverting our attention in a different direction. That's when Satan will go in for the kill. So basically, he tricks us while we are focusing on the treats.
Put another way, 1 Peter 5:8 (NRSV) says:
"Keep alert. Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour."
Within the context of this problem, Peter also offers some pretty sound advice to help us both identify and neutralize the tactics of the enemy of our soul:
Adopt an attitude of servitude (1 Peter 5:1-3)
Go for the end game, focusing more on your eternal reward than temporary goals (verse 4)
Submit, to both God and the earthly authorities that God has placed over us (verses 5)
Humble yourself, with the patient expectation that God will lift you up in due time (verse 6)
Talk to God about your fears, and leave your anxieties at God's feet (verse 7)
Pay attention, not in fear, but in mindfulness! (verse 8)
Resist the schemes, fight with faith (verse 9)
When we focus on the Lord, God will shine light on Satan's schemes. Through Christ God provides us with the insight to identify our enemy's soul hunting tricks and the authority to resist and neutralize them by the blood of the lamb. We just need to seek and ask.