There's No Deception like SELF-DECEPTION
Deception has been around since the serpent asked Eve in the garden (Genesis 3:1), "Did God really say, 'You must not eat from the tree… You won't die." The deception begins when we "reject" the truth. Once we reject the truth, we're vulnerable to deception.
WHAT is deception? Webster defines it as: to cause to believe an untruth or a lie, misleading.
WHO is the author of deception? Satan has many titles: Father of lies, the tempter, deceiver, prince of the power of the air, he masquerades as an angel of light, etc. There are three primary avenues of deception: self-deception, false teachers, and deceiving spirits.
"It's Not Always Clear When We're Being Deceived. All You Have to
do to Locate Satan in Any Situation is Look For The LIE." Beth Moore
One SIGN Jesus told his disciples to look for before His Second coming was deception (Matthew 24). Paul writes in 1 Timothy 4:1 concerning false teachers and doctrines. "…. They will follow deceptive spirits and teachings that come from demons."
Deception comes in VARIOUS FORMS today: Moral, political, financial, religious, spiritual, etc. How about the SELF-DECEPTION that James warns us about (James 1:16)?
How often have we discovered our habits, addictions, and strongholds BEGIN with Self-Deception? Have you ever said: "This won't hurt anyone." I'll only do it once." "I haven't had any for a week." "I'll be careful." "I can quit whenever I want to." “Everybody is doing it.” “I’m not hurting anyone.” I've certainly been guilty of some foolish statements in my life. How about you?
It's no coincidence that Satan is called the "Father of lies." We live in a post-modern society that is permeated with the familiar - There is no such thing as absolute truth; my opinion is equal to your opinion; if it feels good, do it. Yet, Jesus said, "I am the truth." (John 14:6). Truth has a way of exposing deception. Jesus told us to judge a tree by the fruit it bears, to test the spirits. We do not have to walk in deception.
One of my favorite humorous stories about self-deception is when Joe and Bubba are in a cargo truck that is nine feet tall. They come to a railroad bridge with a height barrier restriction sign that says eight feet. They discuss the challenge of the truck is higher than the bridge. Their decision, "There aren't any cops around, let's go for it.” How many of us resemble Joe or Bubba at some time in our lives?
Man's Capacity For Self-Deception is Unlimited.
1 - If we say we HAVE NO SIN. "If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth." (1 John 1:8)
2 - SOWING and REAPING. "….For whatever a man sows, that he will also reap." (Galatians 6:7) We are free to make our choices, but we can’t choose our consequences.
3 - When we think WE ARE WISE, yet have become FOOLS. "….Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools." (Romans 1: 21-22)
Perhaps the GREATEST spiritual self-deception today is revealed by numerous polls in which the overwhelming majority of Americans believe they're going to heaven upon death. When asked what they base this belief on, many respond by saying they will be okay if they have more good than bad deeds on their life ledger. Yet, Jesus said, "Enter through the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it (Matthew 7: 13-14)."
HOW can we overcome deception? Three suggestions:
One - The antidote is TRUTH. Jesus is God wrapped in flesh. The Bible is God wrapped in print. Become a follower of Christ and a life-long learner of the teachings of Jesus.
Two - Seek the counsel of mature Christians who walk in truth and bear spiritual fruit.
Three - Ask the Holy to Spirit to help you. HE will guide you to truth. (John 15:26)
Jesus said, "And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." John 8:32
In a day of Deception, may we know the truth and walk in truth!