It was one of those times when I wish that I had had a camera. But it was before smart phones and it was all over too quickly.
Cheryl and I were sitting on the back porch visiting with an elderly couple. It was a beautiful evening and our spot on the planet was losing its turn with the sun. Birds were everywhere, flitting, chirping, and dipping in the birdbath. The elderly gentleman loved and fed them daily. And the cat loved them as well.
He began stalking a small flock that had landed under a bird feeder. They were pecking furiously at the ground gathering up a final meal before roosting for the night. The cat was a very good stalker. Although the birds glanced nervously about as they feasted, he inched ever closer. The drama was intense.
I did not want the cat to be successful and was about to shout and wave my hands when I realized that he had set his mind on one particular bird. Fascinated by his choice I watched spellbound as he crept ever closer and then pounced. Success! As the little flock took flight the cat hit his prey with lightening precision flattening the bird.
However, there was no explosion of feathers, no death struggle in the teeth of the fearsome creature, and no smug look by the cat as he pranced away to enjoy his feast. No, but something much more amazing occurred.
When cat and bird collided the cat bounced back, shook his head several times, and staggered as he slunk off with an unhappy demeanor. When he glanced back at the fallen bird and contorted his mouth as if he were eating peanut butter, I erupted with laughter.
Apparently the cat in his intense desire to capture and kill one of the birds did not notice that the one he lunged for was a cement yard decoration. How his teeth and head must hurt! I cannot imagine the shock and the embarrassment, if a cat can be embarrassed.
Later that night I thought about how professing Christians often make the same mistake concerning the lures that Satan sets up. His deceptive devices are effective because they appear genuine and because we hunger for the real thing. That is the case with false revival. When the heretic makes exciting claims of great blessing, professing Christians do not hesitate to leap at the opportunity. But when they leap before they look discerningly, like the cat they end up with nothing of substance. They ran well, but were hindered from obeying the truth (Galatians 5:7).
Living bread only comes from God. People offering us their version or insisting that it can be obtained a different way and from a different source are deceivers. Solomon wrote about the results of that deception,
“Bread gained by deceit is sweet to a man, but afterwards his mouth shall be filled with gravel.” (Proverbs 20:17)
There is no revival without full surrender, and there is no living bread except in God’s presence. Deception is a road to emptiness. Looking to the mystics and other heretical invaders for fresh spirituality is like sloshing in a muddy field searching for a diamond. What we hunger for and truly need is not on the right or the left, and it is certainly not in the New Christianity and its mystical and even diabolical facsimiles of God’s truth. It is in the path that points straight to the throne of God. We have to discern our way through the maze of falseness and heed the Holy Spirit’s guidance, lest we leap at something better left alone.