True Friends

Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan!”[1]

A few days ago I returned from a five-day hike in the wilderness. The views were limited by the many trees. However, this did not mean that I suffered the loss of strange sights. But, none of mine may exceed this story.

“Goat Man Frolicking Through the Utah Wilderness Identified as a Hunter”[2]  It appears that a hunter donned a goat suit to better track his targets. The anonymous hunter admitted to wearing a hooded painter’s suit covered with white fleece as camouflage. On July 22nd he was spotted tracking a herd of goats, baffling officials. Phil Douglass of the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources was concerned, “the person doesn’t understand the risks. Who’s to say what could happen?” I can only imagine! Now, we may not need to be mountain hiking or goat hunting to encounter someone in camouflage.

Jesus encountered Satan, and after a few temptations told Satan to “Be gone!” At another time, during a teaching moment by Jesus, he demanded Satan again, “Get behind me, Satan!”[3]  Each time Jesus came across Satan, this evil one offered to save Jesus from depravation in the wilderness and suffering on the cross. In other words, Satan met Jesus camouflaged as a friend. Certainly Satan was not a friend, only hoping to appear as one. How might we identify the camouflaged?

“A friend should bear his friend’s infirmities.”[4]In contrast to Satan’s attempts, a friend steps in to help carry the load. We recognize the camouflaged deceivers when they offer to take away our sorrows, rather than bear them by our side.  Jesus said, “Come to me all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Camouflaged deceivers do tempt; while true friends step in to bear the load.

[1] Matthew 4:10 (ESV)


[3] Matthew 16:23 (ESV)

[4] Shakespeare, Julius Caesar

About Pastor Steve

Pastor Steve Hodges is an ordained minister, pastoring a church in central Virginia.
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