Do an online search for “beautiful but deadly flowers” and see what you get. There are many sites that talk about the top flowers in this category. Each of the flowers is indeed beautiful, but each of them also has the potential to be extremely deadly. Number one on some lists is the autumn crocus. It contains colchicine, a toxin comparable to arsenic. Interestingly, there are some beneficial uses of it. However, misuse or overuse can apparently lead to serious illness and even death.
The way that Satan presents sin to us is very much like a beautiful but deadly flower. He rarely portrays sin for what it really is. Typically he makes it very appealing. When Eve looked at the fruit hanging from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, she was enticed by the fact that it was “pleasant to the eyes.” (Genesis 3:6). We all know the result of both Eve and Adam partaking of the fruit. When King David saw Bathsheba bathing, he saw a woman who “was very beautiful to look upon.” (II Samuel 11:2). He and Bathsheba engaged in adultery, David had a hand in the killing of Bathsheba’s husband and, as a consequence, his family became dysfunctional and even murderous (II Samuel 12:10).
The fruit on the tree was not inherently evil. God had made all things good (Genesis 1:31), including that fruit. It looked harmless. Satan did not have to dress it up. What Satan DID dress up was the result of eating the fruit. “Ye shall not surely die” if you eat it, he said (Genesis 3:4). Bathsheba’s bathing was not inherently evil. David allowed Satan to convince him that he should have her and that there would be no consequences for his actions.
If someone were to look at an autumn crocus he would be impressed with its loveliness. He might even want to smell it and pick it. I’m not sure why anyone would want to eat it, but who knows that this person might not give that a try as well? The reason for so doing would be because he was only considering the outward appearance and the immediate satisfaction. He would not be thinking about any danger behind it. It could be ignorance that would lead him to do something with the plant that he would later regret. It could be that he knew about the danger and rebelliously decided to do what he wanted to do.
We don’t need to go around thinking that everything we see or everyone we meet has the potential to cause us spiritual harm. What we need is to know the consequences of getting involved with or using things in ungodly ways. We need to ask ourselves, “How will this affect my soul?” We need to ask this question regarding relationships, jobs, possessions and anything else that has the potential to take our focus off of heaven. It’s not always easy because we can be so taken in by the beauty of something that we become blinded to any of its consequences. Close friends can warn us of the danger, but far too many times, once we are trapped by what we consider the beauty of something (or even someone), we close our ears to anyone who suggests that there is danger ahead for us.
The bottom line is that our love for the beauty of heaven must always rise above our love for anything beautiful on earth. Just because something looks great here does not mean it is great for us. Just because something looks great here does not mean that Satan will not try to use it to destroy us. Let’s not allow the worldly standards of pleasure and beauty to become the factor in determining our actions. May our decisions always be firmly based on that which is right and beautiful in the eyes of God. “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” (I Corinthians 10:31).