As I watch and listen to all that’s happening in our country and in our churches I’ve come to a conclusion – we don’t grasp the truth about deception. Consider the following verses:
“We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.” (1 John 5:19)
“You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44)
I have no expectations of unbelievers to recognize the implications of these verses but those who profess a relationship with Jesus Christ should certainly have that kind of discernment. So why are many in the church operating under the same deception as the world? I believe there are two major reasons.
First, many who claim the name “Christian” are simply practicing religion rather than seeking a vital relationship with Jesus Christ. One hundred-twelve million adults claimed to have a biblical worldview, yet less than a fourth of those have the knowledge and behavior to substantiate the claim (Barna Group). This sheds a great deal of light on why Christians have little relevance in America today.
Second, followers of Christ often fall into the trap of trusting their emotions and emotions cannot discern Satan’s deceptions. Have you ever been deceived by something that appealed to the desire to feel better or to be happy? Now there’s nothing sinful about feeling good or being happy, but until we learn to find our joy, fulfillment, identity and strength in the sufficiency of Christ – we will continue to fall for the antics of the enemy. The Bible tells us why emotions are so unreliable.
“The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can trust it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)
This particular deception has another layer. Satan never hesitates to appeal to our need to feel good spiritually by disguising himself as righteous.
“For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds.” (2 Corinthians 11:13–15)
In praying for His disciples and for us, Jesus recognized the truth about deception and the deceiver.
“I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.” (John 17:14–17)
Our only possible defense against such deception is the Word of God working in collaboration and cooperation with the Spirit of God residing within us. We must deliberately and willfully submit to the authority and operation of both if we are to live in the victory of Jesus.