I have a tendency as a Christian, and that tendency is shared by most every other Christian, too. I have a habit of viewing unbelievers as being deceived. The problem is that I, too, might be subject to deception.
Deception – A Universal Problem
Years ago I started listening to a Christian brother named John Bevere, and he made one of the most powerful statements I’ve ever heard.
“There’s only one problem with deception; it’s deceiving.”
That statement is one of the most elemental truths available to the serious Christian. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most unappreciated and unknown. It has taken me decades to unpack the scope of that one sentence, and understanding its significance has helped me enormously.
Satan has used deception successfully for millennia to accomplish his goals, and he continues to do so today. He uses the same methods over and over, simply because they work so well! These methods work on believers and unbelievers alike because they appeal to the same thing – the flesh.
The good news is that, as Christians, we have an advantage over unbelievers!
We have the Word of God available to us.
We have the new nature God has given to us.
We have the Holy Spirit dwelling within us.
The Nature of Deception
There are a few basic aspects we need to become familiar with. In fact, it’s crucial that we know how deception works because failing to do so can have disastrous results. Understanding the nature of deception will make us aware of its effects, keeping us on guard against it.
Deception is a problem of the heart, and none of us are immune to it. If you think you are, then you don’t understand the basics of what you’re dealing with.
Here are some things we need to know if we want to stay deception-free;
- Unbelievers are deceived because they don’t know God.
- It does not come from God.
- It appeals to the flesh, not the Spirit.
These are basic facts and I, indeed every one of us (believer and unbeliever alike), will deal with them sooner or later.
Understanding the Basics
The first point is that unbelievers are deceived simply because they have not heard (in the spiritual sense) the Word of God. They have not heard the call of the Spirit. Since they have no factual concept of God they are forced to resort to religion.
Problems arise because religion is the human way to approach God and is deceptive! It relies on human thinking and reasoning instead of God’s revelation, and that is why God hates it so much. It helps me to remember that all of us were deceived at one point. As soon as I allow a ‘holier-than-thou’ attitude I lose sight of the effectiveness of deception.
The second point is that many people (unbelievers and believers alike) have the mindset that God Himself will deceive people. That kind of thinking is contrary to His Word, but since they don’t know His Word they are subject to faulty reasoning.
That brings us to the third point. Deception appeals to the flesh and not the Spirit. Unbelievers fall into deception because they don’t know any better, but the same thing can happen to believers! Believers fall into deception because they are unfamiliar with the Word of God or the Spirit of God.
This is Part Two of a multi-part series. Keep watch for the next installment!