I once read about a scientific experiment with butterflies. A male butterfly was introduced to an environment with two options present. Option #1 was a living, healthy female butterfly. Option #2 was a huge, cardboard cutout butterfly painted with the same colors as a real female. Enter the male. In repeated tests, the males tended to ignore the real female and try everything in their power to attract the attention of the most obvious, but the most unreal, mate.
I read this and thought, “How easily deceived those insects are. Run after a cardboard butterfly? They must really lack discernment; can’t they tell it’s a fake?!”
And then I thought about myself…What things have I pursued thinking they would bring me fulfillment? What have been the “fakes” in my life? What do I focus upon that draws my attention away from Christ? What’s my cardboard butterfly?
We find the same problem in Israel’s past. When Israel turned from the one, true God to pursue idol worship, God said, “My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewn themselves cisterns–broken cisterns that can hold no water” (Jeremiah 2:13).
Israel left the one source of sustenance to run after what seemed better in their eyes and minds. The idols would not satisfy because they could not compare to the “living waters” of God. In fact, the idols couldn’t even “hold water.” Israel came up dry.
There are times when we abandon God’s plan for our own. Our way seems better. “Better” usually means “more comfortable.” But he doesn’t call us to comfort, but to combat (Ephesians 6:10-17). The life that Christ commands us to live is difficult (Matthew 7:14). He calls us to the follow the best way, and usually, it isn’t the most obvious way. It’s seldom the flashiest, the showiest, or even the quickest. But it is real, and it is the only way that we will ever find true fulfillment. God wants us to see past the fakes that pose as a means to peace, joy and fulfillment and set our minds “on the things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:2).
What’s your cardboard butterfly?
We will place nothing before God. – Exodus 20:3 “You shall have no other gods before me.”
We will cling to God’s steadfast love and forsake all idols. – Jonah 2:8 Those who pay regard to vain idols forsake their hope of steadfast love.
We would be quick to dethrone any idols within our hearts. – Ezekiel 14:3 “Son of man, these men have taken their idols into their hearts, and set the stumbling block of their iniquity before their faces.”