I never liked to swim where I could not see the bottom. Growing up in Georgia, our lakes and streams were usually murky. Like the water used to rinse children’s paint brushes, our natural swimming areas always sported a milky, muddiness that left me fearing what might be lurking in the darkness, ready to nibble my toes or wrap itself around my legs. We had special “old clothes” we would wear to such places, because once dipped in, they were beyond all hope of cleansing from the effects of a red clay baptism. My own children do not have these concerns. Our Arkansas swimming holes are quite different. Infused with generous amounts of limestone worn away by the rushing streams, our natural pools sparkle with an electric blue clarity that invites and assures. The clarity of the water gives hesitant children a clarity of perspective that nothing sinister waits beneath their feet. When it comes down to it, none of us want to swim in muddy waters.
What is true of our swimming holes is also true of the ideas and experiences that shape who and what we are. We all want clarity of perspective, but often we latch on to ideas or experience things that muddy the waters. When we were children, everything was black and white. Some cowboys were good and some were not. It was simple to distinguish them because some wore white hats, while others donned black ones. But then we realized that men in white hats sometimes committed black deeds and the waters got muddied. Skepticism crept in regarding the people and the truths we thought were so clear. As we sought clarity, we found murkiness. Where would we look for truth? Who can we trust? As one ancient preacher mused, “the devil fishes in muddy waters.”
The enemy of our soul likes to muddy our waters. His goal is to make us suspicious of truth, of one another and of God. You don’t have to look very far in our world today and see that he seems to have had some success. His favorite muddy fishing hole is false teaching and false teachers in the church. Nowhere is doubt and suspicion more easily sown than in the very place which professes to be the pillar and buttress of the truth. Yet Satan’s, strategies, though subtle are never surprising. He always works in the same way. He is never a bald-faced liar. Jesus called Satan the father of lies and a liar from the beginning, but his lying is filtered through subtlety. Like an evil chemist, he mixes healthful truth and poisonous deception. He loves muddy waters. God warns us of this time and time again, reminding us that His Word and Spirit bring clarity – that He is the Living Water.
Join us this Lord’s Day, February 3, as we examine 1 Timothy 4:1-5 to unmask Satan’s nefarious strategy by considering the sources, the content and the consequences of false teaching. We meet on the square in Pottsville, right next to historic Potts’ Inn at 10:45 am for worship. Get directions here or contact us for more info. We look forward to seeing you.