Prayers leading to Christmas – 23
O Lord Jesus, help me to keep waiting for your return with expectation and purity. The prophets and saints of old, waited for your first coming and were not disappointed, for they are comforted in your presence in heaven. Give me hope and joy, as I ponder on your second coming. Keep the faith in me ever glowing, for glory of God our Father. By your Holy Spirit counsel me that I remember your Gospel each and everyday of my life. Give me the grace to be unblemished by the cares, pleasures and allure of this world, so that I’m truly ready to receive you. I ask this in your Holy Name. Amen.
Beware of Spiritual Delusions
There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death (Proverbs 14:12)
Of the many delusions a person faces in life, spiritual delusions are the worst. As these delusions whether they cause physical harm or not, they always lead towards spiritual darkness and damnation. Let me make is clear that spiritual delusions and mental delusions or hallucinations are completely different things. The latter needs professional medical and psychiatric treatment.
The Greeks and Russians have another term for spiritual delusions or spiritual deceptions known as Prelest. ( I made a mention of them as they have a belief that only they teach about dangers of Prelest while people from other nations especially the West avoid this. I take that with a pinch of salt). Various churches and preachers in a good number of countries do speak about the dangers of spiritual delusions though they don’t use the word ‘Prelest’. Here basically Prelest pertains to unawareness of one’s own sinfulness and/or also corruption through falsehood which apparently seems sweet and legit to begin with.
Let me give you a simple example to be aware of what it means to be spiritually deluded. A man who is married, goes regularly to church with his wife. Due to various reasons, they are not happy with their marriage. Then one fine day, he meets another woman to whom he takes fancy to over a period of time. Now up to this point, this would sound like nothing religious, just one man being unfaithful to his wife and obviously heading for divorce. Here’s where the difference, the man ‘prays’ about his marriage and feels he got a ‘revelation’ to divorce his current wife. Because he ‘feels’ led by the ‘Lord’ to marry this new ‘devout’ woman who will help him to be happy. He makes a mention of this to his preacher but somehow the preacher cannot convince him to relent of this stupidity. Then he goes on to commit adultery, gets caught and the marriage is over. Besides, the local church and the preacher where he used to go, are now stuck in a web of shame and controversy over what happened. So in short, he felt something spiritual that seemed nice till hell boiled over.
In the above case, that man didn’t bother about what the wisdom of God says marriage, reconciliation and divorce. All he bothered for was himself and not God’s will. He didn’t bother about purity for himself nor anyone else. So a spirit of deception came to him pretending to be a godly experience of ‘peace’ during his prayers. There’s a Bible verse that comes to mind; And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.(2 Corinthians 11:14-15)
Now it would be unwise to think that spiritual delusions happen only in cases of relationships while other areas are quite delusion free. In fact spiritual delusions can happen potentially anywhere and to anyone. It’s possible that spiritual delusions affect more than one person at the same time.
Lets also consider the following verses about a large scale spiritual delusion in which people will make mockery of the Second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ:
1 This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, 2 that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles, 3 knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing,following their own sinful desires. 4 They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” 5 For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, 6 and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. 7 But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly. (2 Peter 3:1-7)
Another situation where a person could be under spiritual deception is about prosperity. Nothing wrong in getting rich by righteous means. However, one must also choose to have the right attitude towards God when working to be prosperous. The Parable of the Rich Fool mentioned below makes it clear to us:
And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:16-20)
A person who in soul revels in vain desires is one most prone to spiritual delusions. Desires usually considered a bait for deception are usually those of greed and pride.
For the wicked boasts of the desires of his soul, and the one greedy for gain curses and renounces the Lord. In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him; all his thoughts are, “There is no God.” (Psalms 10:3-4)
Another thing that leads to spiritual delusion, is taking pleasure in unrighteousness. Yes, despite various admonishments and clear examples of the downfall of the wicked due to their sins, there are lots of people who still take pleasure in sin. So of these sins include vulgar songs and jokes, racism, financial crimes, sexual perversions, murder etc. Though time and again people have seen the evil consequences of witchcraft, they will still take delight in its so called benefits. In short, there are people who still don’t want to believe the truth of the Gospel. This brings to mind the following verses:
7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming. 9 The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders,10 and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, 12 in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thessalonians 2: 7-12)
So now to summarize you can avoid spiritual delusions by all the following methods:
- Never ignore the counsel of the wisdom of God.
- If it goes against the Bible, you might as well avoid it.
- Pray with the right intentions.
- Do not mistake good feelings for divine approval.
- Do not be greedy for anything.
- Do not have pride in your heart.
- Believe in the truth, believe in the Gospel.
- Never take pleasure in unrighteousness.
One more thing before I can conclude this is that you must always depend on the Holy Spirit to keep your heart and mind in the will of God.
Christ be with you!
Christ will return – hope for the righteous
The return of Christ will be a terror to those who hate him as mentioned in my earlier post:
Christ will return – Warning to all (click here to know more)
However, for those who are righteous in Jesus there is much hope and comfort in his coming back. Because Jesus will glorify those who are faithful to him. There are a lot of verses in the Bible that point this out very clearly.
Mark 13:26-27 At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens.
John 14:1-4 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”
Philippians 3:20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.
Colossians 3:4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
The Bible encourages us to be holy and faithful to the Lord Jesus in the hope of his return. It also tells us to honor and remember his second coming. We are to honor him in the partaking of the Lords supper. We are to be pure and away from the ungodliness of this age.
1 Peter 1:3-5 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade – kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.
1 Corinthians 11:26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
1 Peter 5:4 And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.
1 John 3:2 Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is.
Philippians 1:10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ – to the glory and praise of God.
Titus 2:12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope – the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.
It is God’s will to reward all those who trust in Christ when he returns. Jesus himself attests to this in the book of Revelation.
Revelation 22:12 “Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End”
Revelation 3:11 “I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will he leave it”
Therefore, those who trust in the Lord Jesus must continue in the faith. This is the most important thing that you could be doing on earth. Never lose your identity in the Lord Jesus and exchange for the things of the world.
1 John 2:28 And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming.
Jude 1:21 Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.