"Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves."
Whether we look at the plant world, animals or spiritual matters, predators often seek to disguise themselves as harmless to their victims. This is an effective strategy, often leaving victims unaware of danger until they are consumed by it.
Ants shepherd and protect some species of aphids that produce a tasty nectar. Shepherd ants are selected from the ant colony to herd the colony's tiny milk cows to good feeding areas. The slow-moving aphids are easy to herd. Any insect that approaches too close to the herd is warned away. Since aphids are considered a good meal by many insects, the shepherd ants are especially aggressive in protecting them against recognized predators.
The larvae of the green lacewing especially enjoy a good meal of aphids. The larvae actually disguise themselves to infiltrate aphid herds. They cover themselves with the same wax fibers that are produced by the aphids. Once the larvae look like aphids they sneak into the herd unnoticed and are able to feed without gaining the attention of the shepherd ants.
While plant and animal predators can only kill their victims, spiritual predators can destroy our eternity. This is why the Lord warned us that false teachers often take the appearance of good spiritual people. He also told us how to identify them. While false teachers can take on a harmless or even good appearance, they can only pretend to be good. Ultimately, the way they conduct their lives and treat others will reveal what they truly are inside.
Notes: Natalie Angier. 1984. "Thomas Eisner: The Bug Man of Ithaca." Discover, Feb, pp. 49-58.
Photo used by permission of dhobern. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.
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