There is a reason there are so many scriptures in the Bible about being deceived. It’s because we can be deceived, and we need to be on guard. People try and deceive us all the time. Look at the people who are deceived every day, by internet scams of promises of wealth, or a new body in 30 days. Or phone scams, like the IRS is looking for the money you owe. There are more people out there trying to deceive us than we know of.
I don’t know about you, but I have been deceived a time or two, by things that sounded so good when your read about them, but turned out to be not so good. Being deceived in these natural areas can be a hard lesson, but its being deceived spiritually that we should be more concerned about.
We would all like to think we could never be deceived. But, according to the Bible; we can be deceived . Not only can we be deceived by others, but we can also deceive ourselves. We do it all the time. It usually doesn’t start out with a huge deception that we buy into all at once. Its a little by little thing. We say, oh it doesn’t matter, its just a little white lie. Or, nobody is going to find out. Or, the company has a whole box of this or that, it won’t matter if I take some home. Or, it doesn’t matter if I watch that show, or look at those questionable sites online. After all, its not real, it won’t affect me. And so it begins.
The Bible has a lot to say about being deceived, and deceiving yourself. 1 Corinthians 3:18 talks about deceiving yourself. “ Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise”. And “Galatians 6:3 “If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves”. Or, here’s a good one, if you are telling yourself what you are doing isn’t wrong, even when you know, down deep that it is. 1 John 1:8 “ If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us”.
Deception is not new. It has been going on since Eve was deceived by the serpent in the Garden of Eden. The worst part of that story, to me, is not that they were deceived into eating the fruit, and being disobedient, though that was bad enough. It was that they allowed Satan to deceive them into thinking that God had lied to them. God. Their Father and Creator who had given them everything they needed. The God who loved them, created them, and shared fellowship with them. In one moment of deception they allowed themselves to be deceived into believing that God was withholding things from them. That He was not a good father.
Doesn’t the enemy use the same deception today? How often do you hear God getting the blame for the bad things that happen in our lives? Even though the Bible clearly tells us in 1 Peter 5:8 that its our enemy who walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
We see in James 1:16:17 “Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” God does not cause the bad things that happen in our lives. Yet somehow He still gets gets the blame sometimes.
We are told in the scriptures that in the last days many will try and deceive us. Such as in Luke 21:8 “And He said: “Take heed that you not be deceived. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and, ‘The time has drawn near.’ Therefore do not go after them”. Or, Matthew 24:24 “ For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect”.
So if we know that we can deceive ourselves, and we can be deceived by others, what can we do to make sure that it doesn’t happen?
First, we have to make sure that we stay close to God. We have to have a personal relationship with Him and with Jesus. When we do, we have Holy Spirit living inside us to be our helper. We have to spend time in God’s Word, and know what it says. Then if we hear something contrary to the Word, we can recognize it for the lie that it is. No matter how good something sounds, if it doesn’t agree with the Word, its deception. God’s Word is always true. We should also be open to correction. We can ask Holy Spirit to show us any areas where we might be being deceived. Then, we need to be willing to repent, and turn from the deception.
It is possible to not be deceived. Otherwise it wouldn’t say so many times in the Word to “take heed you not be deceived” or “see that you are not deceived”. Our part is to be ever watchful and not believe everything we hear or see.