Deception, by its very nature, operates undetected until it has done so much damage that it is difficult to break free from. By the time deception is uncovered, it has changed a life to become so dependent on the lie that the spirit of pride will hold the person solidly bound to the deception.
It creeps in like a tiny water leak in a home. A small bit of water constantly dripping or pooling can cause catastrophic damage that is not noticeable until the damage is done and massive repairs are required.
If you had the thought bubble up inside of you just now, "Thank goodness I'm not deceived." or the thought that, "This article on deception is for someone else, not me." then you are exactly who I am writing this article for.
There is only one way to ward off deception, and that is a constant push toward humility - daily - even hourly. Then, having the courage to admit when you’ve been wrong.
Having the strength and courage to admit when you are wrong is a character strength at the top of the maturity spectrum. Closing yourself off to learning because it might reveal that you were wrong in an area is one of the most dangerous things a person can do.
If deception is so hard to reveal, how does one self evaluate? And let me clarify here, I believe a person can be fully in love with the Lord and still have pockets of deception in their lives and belief systems. If you believe something and later realize that it was a wrong idea or thought, you were deceived into believing for a time that it was right. These few ideas may help you to self evaluate.
Criticism is a key indicator that a person is suffering from deception. If you experience a hot button or a trigger that sends you into rabid critic mode internally or externally, there may be deception there. Ask yourself, why does a particular topic set me off? Why does it anger me so?
I’m not saying we should never be angry. But, we should be angry less than we are. Get angry over injustices done to others. Get angry over hurting and helpless people. Get angry over a lack of love. Get angry over outright evil.
Don’t get angry over someone believing something different than you. Don’t get angry over a simple irritation someone has caused you. Don’t get angry over an idiotic action someone does.
God himself has given us all a free will. It is so sacred to him that even he won’t violate it. Yet we feel we have the right to govern what others think, feel, do, and say.
Anger which sparks criticism, solves nothing. It has sparked wars, hurt, and pain to others. But a clear head with an honest conversation can build bridges. We might even learn something from it.
Ask yourself why do you get so angry when someone posts a comment or says something different from what you believe? Can you not reason that maybe they just do not know the truth and give them some grace and compassion? Can you not reach out to them in an effort to begin a calm conversation that may build a bridge where you can eventually share why you believe the way you do?
If you have a trigger when a certain topic is raised, my guess is that there is a lack of security there regarding what you believe, and you do not have a calm confidence about it.
Why does it make you so angry that a person does not believe the way you do? Jesus loved us all while we were so wrong and so deceived. Yet we cannot stay calm and do the same.
If you build a calm bridge where the person with the different beliefs feels safe to have a dialog, you have cultivated soil where seeds of faith can be subtly planted. And you might learn something if you can open your mind and ask the Lord to teach you as well.
Fear of different ideas is another one. If you are confident in what you believe, then there is no harm in hearing an opposing side or a new idea. If that idea is wrong, the Lord will confirm that in you. But, if you honestly want to learn, he may show you that some of this new information is, in fact, true. Keep an open mind in Christ.
If we close off our minds and hearts to learning about other thoughts, and ideas, then we may just have closed ourselves off to information that will make us more full in our understanding of kingdom things.
For decades I have consumed so much information regarding the bible, the kingdom of God, spiritual and natural things that I think sometimes my head will pop. I am a compulsive knowledge gatherer.
Often in my life I have reached spiritual plateaus and after a while I felt discontent. Always, I seek the Lord to show me more, teach me more. He has never failed to do that after my persistent asking. However, the avenue was not always what I expected.
A book or writing will cross my path from someone I’ve never heard of or is completely out of the realm of doctrinal belief I adhered to. If I felt intrigued, I would pursue it by asking the Lord to show me and teach me. What, if anything, do I keep, and what to I discard?
God's wealth of knowledge is not strictly contained in one denomination or doctrinal belief. There are gems and treasures sometimes amid the thorns. Have an open mind and trust the Lord to help you gather the good while discarding the rest.
We cannot do this though if we are fearful of any thought outside of those that have been selectively spoon-fed to us daily.
I supposed you could dump me in the category of being a Charismatic or non-denominational. But, I don’t like that and I don’t really identify with that. We should not label ourselves with denominational tags. And yes, non-denominational is a tag. We are are called to all be in the unified body of Christ if we call Jesus Lord.
Because I have had such a heart to learn more from God, I’ve discovered teachers and writers in some denominations that I would have never considered viable. Yet, when listening to them or reading from their texts, the Lord would show me something new that the narrow world I had been in had excluded.
Being stuck. We’ve all been stuck in our lives. Sometimes we are stuck because deception, or believing a lie, has painted us into a corner. Our prideful refusal to admit we believed a lie keeps us stuck.
This can happen in all areas of our lives, not just in things of the kingdom of God. It can happen in our families, our jobs, our emotions, and actually every area of our lives.
This being stuck in a spiritual sense reeks of unanswered prayers, irritability with other Christians, discontent with church, lack of desire to read the bible, just to name a few.
If you are feeling stuck spiritually and have experienced even one of these symptoms, ask God sincerely to show you the lie you believed or the deception that has crept up on you. Then courageously take steps to learn the truth.
You should ask God to show you. Ask him to send people into your life who know the truth in that area. Ask him to bring books, videos, podcasts, and essays across your path and for him to show you the gems midst the thorns.
Don’t fear they will further deceive you. The Holy Spirit is our teacher. You can trust him if you are determined to listen closely to him.
I don’t know it all and suspect I never will. I hope and pray I never get to the place where I feel I know it all. My beliefs, thoughts, and ideas are always being tweaked by the Lord because I have given him permission to do that for me. I would rather admit that something I believed was wrong or even not completely right, rather than not know the truth.
Much of the changes in what I know to be true are not popular with many of the people I know. Even so, I don’t feel compelled to force them to believe the way I do. I am confident in where the Lord has corrected me. But it is not my job to correct anyone else.
Yes, I write at the instruction of the Lord. Others have the option of reading or not. If I am asked a question, I will gladly share what I believe. But I know there are still areas where I need more changing. I pray I am never too proud to admit that.
God has given me a gift to write and has instructed me to do so. I’ve written blogs and articles for years. When I look back on some of the earlier writings which I wrote 15 or more years ago, I often cringe. I am thankful that I am always learning and growing.
Humble yourself before God and ask with a sincere heart for him to show you areas of belief that may not be exactly correct. This is not a one and done thing. Continue to humble yourself and seek him earnestly and he will answer. It must be a heartfelt desire to know the truth no matter what.
Keep an open mind. Your fear of letting wrong theology in may be the very thing that is causing you to hold on to the bad theology you currently have. God can fully help you weed through something new to find the gems. Trust him and open your heart and mind to the possibility that you do not know it all and that some of what you believe you know may be wrong.
I want to encourage you to leave me any comments below. They are so encouraging and motivating to me.
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