Like the beautiful but deceptive leaves of the Devil’s Claw plant, hidden dangers surround us. God’s wisdom is so necessary for us to avoid such dangers. May He grant you the wisdom and discernment needed to avoid the falsehoods that tempt our faith in Him and His Word.
ETERNAL PERSPECTIVES by Sally Bair
The leaves of the Devil's Claw plant are like those of the pretty, red maple only much larger. Once touched, its name becomes uncomfortably evident. Like blackberry barbs times ten, the Devil’s Claw needle-like, barbed spines cover the underside of each leaf, along the veins, and around the stem. Brochures and signs urge travelers in Alaska and northwestern Canada to wear long pants and heavy, long-sleeved shirts while trekking through the bush country. Such protection will bring the promise of a more enjoyable time in the wilderness.
Other warning signs are common in the northwest wilderness, such as: Moose Crossing, Don't Feed the Bears, Danger—Rip Tides, and Beware of Incoming Tide (posted near certain tide pools that have no easy access back to shore). One warning is posted by the tidal mud flats along Turnagain Arm south of Anchorage, a place where many have drowned after being stuck in the innocent-looking, quicksand-like beach, when the tide came in.
No matter where we live, we’re wise to heed the warnings that helpful citizens and government workers have put up for our safety. After all, we are surrounded by things that appear innocent and enjoyable, but hide danger.
It's best to heed the warnings of the Bible, too. God's Word is full of them. As followers of Christ, we need to be watchful so we won't fall away from our faith. We should pray daily that our faith will not falter, that our minds and hearts remain pure, that we will not compromise our beliefs and actions with those of the world.
Peter said, "Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith…." (1 Peter 5:8) Jesus said to his disciples, "I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves." (Matthew 10:16) Even the prophets of the Old Testament cried out many warnings to the people. In fact, most of the authors of the Bible admonished God's people to beware of the devil, the world, and their own fleshly desires. We would do well to heed God's biblical warnings. The devil's claws are harmful, indeed.
Lord, keep us ever mindful of the deceptions around us. Clothe us in Your armor of truth and righteousness so we can walk more joyfully through the wilderness of life with You. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. In Jesus' name, amen.