A fawn strays from its sheltered bed toward the creek. It bows to sip without waiting for parental guidance. A flouncing bit of fur catches its eye. The fawn abandons the water and bounds into the tall grasses to investigate. Deep inside the cool maze of reeds, the game darkens. A delightful tail reveals its other side, brimming with sharp teeth. Unless a wiser deer comes to its rescue, the tempter will devour its prey.

Gullible. We’ve all found ourselves fooled by something, our faces soiled with varying degrees of regret. One ruse might result in laughter, while the next leads to a dark labyrinth with sinister teeth at its center.  Survivors resolve to avoid further deception. How do we protect ourselves against the guile? Against our own folly?

1. Remain sheltered. Straying from the fortress of God’s presence and the influence of Truth opens our vulnerable minds to the enemy lurking outside.

2. Wait for parental guidance. Do not take steps beyond the Father’s leading. When we prance off ahead of God’s will without asking for His guidance, we ask for trouble.

3. Beware of distractions. Beautiful, delicious, promising thoughts lead us astray one day, while negative attitudes draw us off course the next. Any focus taking God’s place devours the soul.

4. Resist temptation. Submit notions to the Holy Spirit. The earlier we surrender an urge, the easier our journey back to true satisfaction. For those deep in the thicket as well as those sniffing at its edges, Living water awaits to quench our desires for joy.

5. Keep wise friends close by. Stay in touch with the Wonderful Counselor, and with those who remain intimate with the Wonderful Counselor. Retain security in your faith by surrounding yourself with seasoned believers who have a personal relationship with the triune Lord – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

 “My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.” — James 5:19-20