There is No Way I Could Be Deceived
How long have you been a Christian? Has it been long enough where nothing - absolutely nothing - could pull you away from God, Christ, and the church Jesus purchased with His blood? Think again.
Hebrews 3.12-13 sets forth the clear warning which is relevant today: “Take heed, brethren, lest haply there shall be in any one of you an evil heart of unbelief, in falling away from the living God: but exhort one another day by day, so long as it is called Today; lest any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”
Deception usually starts where there is a need within the heart. This is a need which has not been met, a need looking to be fulfilled. At the same time there is a false teacher who has a goal of taking a heart and fulfilling that unmet need. He does not know it is you. It happens to be you. When those two meet, temptations prey upon and control the mind, capture the heart, and direct a person’s actions. At times, the person does not know his or her heart is captivated by something false. All they know is their unmet need has been fulfilled. Usually it is a selfish need looking for resolution, not a true spiritual doubt, emptiness, or brokenness.
Popularity often breeds deception. The more people who speak about or praise what a false teacher or religious group is doing, the more likely that person or group is to become an attraction. It does not matter how much truth is spoken. It could be half truth and still be popular. An idea can take a city by storm and be promoted as “what everyone is doing,” and the following of people takes place. A particular sect of people could believe it and still be deceived. The Jews believed they were of their father Abraham, but would not do the works of Abraham. Although they were descendants of Abraham, their father was Satan (John 8.37-44). A popular way is a familiar sign of deception. Companions are good, but some corrupt good morals (1Corinthians 15.33). Regardless of popularity, we have to remember “there is a way that seemeth right unto man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Proverbs 14.12).
When it is a “life-changer” or “changing my life,” it might be deceptive. What people believe is peace, happiness, and feeling better may just be having their emotions lifted to allow them to ride through the real problem. Even though the peace and happiness is inconsistent with scripture, the “better feeling” has not been experienced at all or in a long time. Therefore, this is a “changing of life,” which must be good. The person experiencing all this must ask him- or herself, “What need is this meeting? What am I experiencing that I haven’t been getting from the Word of God or from the church in fellowship with my brethren? Is the transformation founded in the Bible and is it bringing me closer to God or does this new, modern, internal belief system provide me feelings I am convinced are the changes my life needs?” Romans 12.2 speaks of being transformed and by “the renewing of your mind, that ye prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
We must understand there are people in the world who have a lot of hurt, pain, and wounded hearts. People are starving for healthy relationships. Many are starved for closeness. Many are desperate. People are withdrawn and isolated. With such a tremendous need, people are easily drawn where something promises them what they have been wishing for years to receive. When you live in a generation of people searching for beauty, acceptance, and approval, you long to have it any way you can obtain it - even if it means being deceived and dismissing objective truth.
Wanting an “experience” is often a gauge of deception. If people ever experience what others have or feel, it becomes real to them. That “real” experience can lift a person’s spirits to a point objective truth cannot impact. Experiences that are fun, pleasurable, and relaxing provide excitement one has never had or has not had in a long time. “If it feels good, it must be right.” Most often, such experiences lack the sense of the presence of God and the power of the Spirit because they are “exciting” or “breathtaking.” God, Jesus, and the Spirit are substituted for the wonder of the “experience.” Experience has come to bring more “wow” and “awesome” and “that was great” through a one-time event, stint, or program, rather than the biblical term of “walk” or “life” so often found in scripture (Galatians 2.20; 5.22-23; 1 Corinthians 15.58; 2 Peter 1.5-11). Ask the Ethiopian eunuch what it meant to be baptized, and the results will not be “That was an experience I will never forget.” Instead, it will be “I went on my way (life) with joy” (Acts 8.39) for having been forgiven by God.
“God accepts me just as I am” is deception’s catchphrase. It is a feeling or “experience” or love, grace, and acceptance of God “just as I am.” God will do so, but not apart from Christ, not apart from His righteousness, our faith, and repentance. God wants you to bring your brokenness in sin to Him for redemption, but He does not command you to stay “just as you are in sin” (Romans 6.1-19). “Just as I am” cannot bypass the implications of the cross of Christ to sacrifice, deny, give up, and lose self. “Just as I am” bypasses the gospel, which has the power to set us free from our past shame and guilt. God is holy and desires those who follow Him to live holy lives. Sin-filled lives as they stand are not holy nor are they accepted or approved in those conditions. God’s righteous wrath is against sin, and it is the blood of Jesus and obedience to the plan of salvation which delivers us from that wrath. “Be not deceived, God is not mocked, whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap. For he that soweth unto his own flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth unto the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap eternal life” (Galatians 6.7-8).
Satan is worming his way into our hearts by means of deception, subtly and surely. Do not let him gain access to your heart and take control. Every day he will make an attempt. Every day we must fight the urge. Understand what the will of the Lord is.