Beauty is Deceiving

Published March 19, 2013

I do a great deal of driving across our beautiful deserts of the southwest and it is always such a joy to observe the desert landscape change with the different seasons. Spring has arrived in the desert and many of the wild desert plants are coming into full bloom. They are absolutely stunning in their beauty with their many different colors and shapes!

Unfortunately their beauty can be quite deceptive and great caution should be taken before one attempts to touch or smell them. When the plants are young and not fully grown they are at their most deceptive stage. The flowers are what first draw your attention. Their colors are as varied as the colors of the rainbow! Also the leaves, with their many beautiful and varied shades of green, draw you in.

But, upon closer examination you find the leaves of some plants are often a very strange and odd shape and they often look more like the leaf of a weed than a flower. And if you attempt to touch the plants you will very quickly discover the depth of their deception. The deception is, the beauty of the flower makes you fail to notice the leaves and stems of most desert plants have very small thistles, burrs or thorns as part of their structure. When touched or brushed up against, these penetrate your skin and the reaction can be very irritating and painful. Thankfully, many of the desert plants after full maturity reveal their ugly and dangerous thorns, thistles, and burrs.

Caution should also be used if you are tempted to smell the flower. Though they beg to be smelled, you will discover they tend to have a bitter-sweet, or offensive, pungent odor to them. You can be left with a burning nose, filled with an acrid smell and irritated and watery eyes. It normally turns out to be a very disappointing experience!

The deceptive nature of the desert plants is a great analogy for the deception of sin. Often times we see the beauty of something and our desire to touch, feel, and experience that beauty causes us to make decisions that lead to sin. We often overlook or ignore the warning signs that would keep us from committing sin and the tragic consequences that follow after sin.

A great example of this is the history of King David, (2 Samuel chapter 11 and 12:1-20). When he saw the beauty of Bathsheba he succumbed to the temptation of lust and ownership of her.

But, lest we be too hard on King David, how many have fallen victim to the sin of lust and ownership for something of beauty we have desired? If we are honest before God, and to ourselves, we would all have to plead guilty.

Please, do not take this as condemnation, but as a reminder of how beauty can be such a powerful tool of the enemy! He is the great deceiver, do not be deceived by the many false beauties he displays!

14 ……, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.2 Corinthians 11:14 (NIV)


I pray not only for you, but for myself as well, that we will always recognize the danger of deception in our lives!

To Him, who is able to keep and protect from us from deception; all praise, glory and honor! Amen.


Rev. David Larsen

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