In 1991 a movie titled, “Deceived” was released. It was about a married couple whose wonderful life was interrupted when the husband gets into a fatal car accident. As the movie progresses you discover that there is more to the story then meets the eye. Deception unravels into truth as secrets regarding the life and death of the widow’s husband are revealed.
Another storyline of deception is found in the book, “The Silver Chair“, by C.S Lewis. It is the 4th book in the “Chronicles of Narnia” series. In it there are travelers who try to free a young man who has been captured and taken to Underland. In this part of the world all earthmen live underground and have no knowledge of the surface above. When the travelers try to escape, the evil ruler attempts to deceive and bewitch them hoping that they forget who they are. But the evil spell of deception is broken and they discover the truth, allowing them to escape into freedom.
Deception can lead to imprisonment. Truth leads to freedom.
The question is: How do you know you are being deceived if what you believe to be true is truth to you? Deception is extremely deceiving. One of my life verses is:
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only. Otherwise, you are deceiving yourself.” James 1:22 (ESV)
How dangerous. We can go to church, hear the word and even read it, but if that is all we do we have deceived ourselves. There is more to the Christian life than knowledge. Even the demons know that Jesus is the son of God and shudder. (James 2:19) They have the knowledge of his existence but have refused to surrender to his authority. Instead they choose to draw mankind into the deception of their darkness.
We can deceive ourselves and/or be deceived by others.
Deception sneaks into our minds, into our hearts, into our lives quite slowly. At first it only appears to be like a stream that quietly flows over the rocks and land in its path. The more water that enters into the stream the larger the stream becomes causing the edges of the bank to be cut deeper and the rocks it flows over to become polished. It’s similar to the thoughts that enter into our minds on a daily basis. They ultimately groove permanent pathways into our brains, like that of an old record, creating new thought patterns.
Through the torrent rain of influences the quiet stream becomes a raging river that has the ability to destroy anything in its path. So it is with deception. After a while the thoughts and influences that bombard our minds with deception become our norm. Old thought patterns are erased and replaced with new ones.
Deception obviously does not appear as deception.
Instead it can taste as sweet as the first bite of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil that both Adam and Eve enjoyed. Once they heard the voice of the Lord they were awakened to the truth and they realized that they had been deceived. The cunning snake who was filled with the spirit of darkness questioned the truth, twisting the voice of the Lord. “Did God say?,” the slithering liar asked them.
Satan always lies…he is the father of lies, (John 8:44) but can also appear as an angel of light. (2 Corinthians 11:14) Deception appears like a light of truth that is guiding us into enlightenment. But remember:
“There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.” Proverbs 14:12 (ESV)
I often pray that the Lord will keep me from deception. I know he honors that prayer. When I begin to feel that I am compromising or that something said doesn’t sit right with me, I hear that inner voice or that inner knowing. You know the feeling that you know that you know, but you aren’t sure how?
As the days get closer to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ it seems that deception is growing stronger. Second Peter warns of false prophets and teachers who will bring destructive teachings, swaying others to follow those teachings while they deny the Lord. Sometimes it seems so much easier to follow the crowd. Remember when your parents asked you, “If so and so jumped off a cliff, would you?” Well, would you? Because the deceiver has come to kill, steal and destroy.
So how do we keep ourselves from deception?
I believe it comes through surrendering completely to the Lord, reading the Bible–hiding it in our hearts so that our minds are renewed, staying connected with our Lord through prayer and then hanging out with those that are like-minded.
And if you are unsure test the spirit. How is that done? 1 John 4 states:
“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God.” (ESV)
So in other words: If you are a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ and someone comes to you with a “new” doctrine or new Jesus that is not consistent with God’s Word, it probably is a false doctrine leading you into deception. If someone says, “oh, the Bible says this, but we are changing it up a bit to fit our lifestyle so we can stay politically correct and not be offensive,” it probably is a false doctrine leading you into deception. Remember Jesus offended a lot of people in his day too, while setting others free. He came to fulfill the law of the prophets, not to destroy it.
Paul continues the subject as he speaks to the Thessalonians .
“Don’t put out the Spirit’s fire. Don’t despise what God has revealed. Instead, test everything. Hold on to what is good. Keep away from every kind of evil.”
Thessalonians 5:19-22 (GWT)
I pray that you walk in truth; that I walk in truth. Jesus said to his followers that if they continued in his Word they were truly his disciples. They would know the truth and the truth would set them free. (John 8:32)
The word of the Lord is powerful. That is why so many times it is disputed by theologians, made illegal by dictators and mocked by mainstream lifestyles. But it cannot be completely destroyed because God is its author. What he started he will complete.
May you stay in his Word and stay in his Truth. Amen.