Avoiding Great Deception
Pilate once asked Jesus, "What is Truth?" Truth had become unrecognizable in Rome. Evil was being marketed as good and good was being marketed as evil. There was confusion and chaos as people sought to figure out truth for themselves. The foundations of democracy had crumbled the day that the last rebar of Truth disappeared.
We are in similar days. Days where people are lovers of pleasure, more than lovers of God. "Amen, sister! All THOSE sinners out there." We are so quick to point the finger, refusing to acknowledge that there are four pointing right back at us. What is Truth? This world is asking the Church. What is Truth? Christians are asking their leaders. What is Truth? The lost are asking the Christian.
The Word of God is the answer. Truth is what's in the Word. But it's not a verse we pull out to prove our point or a chapter we use to negate someone else's. Rather the Word is always and only useful if it is viewed in its entirety. The character of God cannot be seen in a couple of verses...rather it takes the whole Book and all of creation for us to really get a grasp on who God is. The Word of God is the key to avoiding deception. "You will know the Truth and the Truth will make you free."
But is it enough to read...to memorize...to fill up with God's Word? I know many, many people who live very contrarily to the Word of God, even while quoting it to others. It's not enough. We need the Holy Spirit within us to help us to understand the Word and to guide us into Truth and action. This world is full of very sick and twisted people who do evil things in the Name of God. They claim to have the support of Truth. They study the Scriptures day and night but are never changed by them. The Word easily rolls off of their tongue, yet they believe none of what they are saying. God's Word without the indwelling of His Spirit is more dangerous than no Word at all.
But can we avoid all deception by reading God's Word while being filled with His Spirit? Is it enough? I'm reading in Galatians right now. The Galatians had the Truth and they were filled with the Spirit, yet they were being led astray. Paul is warning them when he writes this:
"Those people are zealous to win you over, but for no good. What they want is to alienate you from us, so that you may have zeal for them." Gal 4:17
The danger of deception for the Galatians wasn't in those that hated them, but in those that were pretending to love them for their own selfish purposes. When a person becomes a Christian, the only play that the devil has is deception. It is easier to deceive someone who is isolated...someone who is embittered...someone who is longing for identity. We are easy prey for the enemy when we begin to put our hope in people outside of Christ. We are easy prey for the enemy when we start to believe that anyone outside of Christ can fix our problems. We are easy prey for the enemy when we leave the safety of the fellowship with believers to forge our own path to God.
Deception will not get better. It will get worse. We were promised this. The enemy's time is short and he isn't playing. He is killing and stealing and destroying. He is coming for you, Christian, because you are a threat to his plans. He is working overtime to squash our Kingdom effectiveness. We have to be on alert, consistently searching our OWN hearts.
If we are going to avoid deception...if our children are going to avoid deception...we need to cling to these things:
God's Word. The Holy Spirit. A pack of strong believers who are also clinging to God's Word and the Holy Spirit.
Right now, I've felt the insistence of the Holy Spirit that I should start filtering the people in my pack. We have that choice, saints. We choose who is allowed to influence us. I am working with the Holy Spirit to determine who is in my pack...who I need to stick close to...who I need to overlook...who I need to listen to...who I need to ignore. If we are to avoid the thick deception that is creeping even into the Church, we will need the exhortation and encouragement of solid believers in our life. Not one or two who look alike, talk alike, and believe exactly like we do, but a variety of strong believers with differing backgrounds and perspectives, united on the firm belief that Jesus is the Answer.
The devil's message is one of condemnation. He is constantly twisting the Scriptures to lure people away from the love of God. He is always whispering in ears that they aren't good enough...that there is no use in trying...that being a Christian is too hard. He is continually devising ways to pit us against each other, to harden our hearts toward each other, to make us believe that we are the only one worthy and others need to get with the program. The devil is zealous for you. He's enthusiastic. He wants you on his side, and his lies about Jesus are smooth as honey and easy to swallow. He markets himself as an angel of light, but he'll lead you into deep darkness. He wants to isolate you from the pack so he can pick you off.
But you have every power and every right to resist him in the faith. Read and study God's instruction manual. Find relationship with the Holy Spirit and ask Him to lead and guide you into all Truth. Pray about your pack of believers and stay with them. Put all of your hope in God. May He finish and complete every work that is starts in your life.