About Self Deception
Some people blame the devil. Some people blame their family. Some people blame their friends. Some people blame their leaders. But at the end of the rope each person has a choice to either accept the deception into sin or reject it. While people love to put the blame about the way, they live their lives all wrong but nothing keeps them more far from living the right way than self deception.
For a while I’d like to turn your attention to the Dictionary definition of Self Deception from Merriam-Webster.com
Self-deception : the act or an instance of deceiving oneself or the state of being deceived by oneself especially concerning one’s true nature, feelings, etc.
There are those who believe so much in themselves that they even defy the truth of the Gospel and become a law unto themselves. They may hear preaching or even read the Bible for themselves but they have willfully kept themselves in deception about their sinful acts or habits because they continue to avoid confessing their sins to the Lord Jesus Christ.
This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not live according to the truth; 7 but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. (1 John 1:5-10)
Do not deceive yourself by any means. Do not think that you will be right in saying in your heart that you can live in sin but still claim to walk with the Lord God. Jesus Christ by his grace has not given anyone the permission to sin.
Do not add sin to sin, presuming that God is going to be merciful for ever. For as great is his mercy, so as great is God’s power to judge. Don’t presume by sending Jesus Christ on earth that God has somehow decided to never judge the people who insult him. Do not mock the Holy Name of God in your thoughts and actions, lest your behavior grieve the Holy Spirit and then the Lord God speaks against you in judgement both in this life and the afterlife.
Do not presume Jesus Christ is your advocate so that you continue to live in ways that are rebellious to the Lord God and expect to be saved at the end. Take away all such false beliefs and presumptions that lead to damnation. Crucify your flesh and get rid of all self deception, so that your life is holy and pleasing to the Lord God!
Verses for reflection:
Many a man proclaims his own loyalty, but a faithful man who can find? Even a child makes himself known by his acts,
whether what he does is pure and right. (Proverbs 20:6,11)
Also on your skirts is found the lifeblood of guiltless poor; you did not find them breaking in. Yet in spite of all these things you say, ‘I am innocent; surely his anger has turned from me.’ Behold, I will bring you to judgment for saying, ‘I have not sinned.’ (Jeremiah 2:34-35)
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings. (Jeremiah 17:9-10)
Therefore bear fruit in keeping with repentance; and do not suppose that you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham for our father’; for I say to you that from these stones God is able to raise up children to Abraham. (Matthew 3:8-9)
Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness,” and again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.” (1 Corinthians 3:18-20)
God gave us material things to bless others
“God gave us material things to bless others. Earthly things have their maximum value only when they are used to bless and help others and not when they are used merely for ourselves and our families.”
― Zac Poonen, The Day of Small Beginnings’
If you keep asking for God’s blessings for yourself but are only interested to use it for yourself and your families then don’t even call yourself a believer of Jesus Christ. Such a behavior is not fitting the attributes of a true Christian.
Some people are so vile or maybe ignorant that they say ‘God bless me with ‘just’ enough for me and my family’. Because somehow they feel that they can then excuse themselves when others are in need saying that they don’t have anything to spare.
Perhaps they have never heard about Jesus speaking about the Good Samaritan who helped the man who was robbed and left for half dead. Or perhaps they they know but don’t feel it applies to them. I have news for you – being generous to others who are in need is not optional for those who claim to profess the Christ faith! And this is confirmed by the Holy Scriptures as given in Matthew 25:31-46 below:
31 “But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left.
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. 36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’
37 “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? 39 When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
40 “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’
41 “Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons. 42 For I was hungry, and you didn’t feed me. I was thirsty, and you didn’t give me a drink. 43 I was a stranger, and you didn’t invite me into your home. I was naked, and you didn’t give me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’
44 “Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?’
45 “And he will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.’
46 “And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life.”
Do not listen to foolish advice
Do not listen to foolish advice,
Lest you end up paying the price.
For many have desired sinful pleasure,
Only to lose their life’s treasure.
Wisdom speaks clearly and loud,
Learn from her and be not proud.
Hearing wise words is a good tact,
When followed with the right act.
God desires to see wisdom in all believers,
In that they be prudent in the age of deceivers.
Pray to the Lord for ears that don’t tingle,
So that with false teachers you don’t mingle.
Avoid being overconfident of your own wisdom
O believer in Jesus Christ, never make your own logic and understanding your refuge because its possible to fall into delusion and deceptions if you do that. Always consider yourself in need of wisdom from God above, so that you prevail against the Kingdom of Darkness each time.
How much so then that the Enemy of your soul desires that you depend so much on your own wisdom? For he knows that only the knowledge and counsel of the Lord God is something that he can never defeat nor banish. It’s very easy for the vile Serpent to misguide people who are overconfident or just don’t bother about the principles and edicts of the Kingdom of Heaven.
Think about the times when people despite having the best of jobs and the best of qualifications, have married the wrong person just because they depended on their raw impulses. Know that the bravest of people have fallen prey to scammers just because they didn’t take a second opinion against fraudulent investments. And even the most pious of men and women due to their pride in their religious knowledge rather than humility in Christ Jesus have fallen into soul damning heresies!
Therefore, be on guard O those who call yourselves as God’s friends that you don’t get deceived like Adam and Eve by the Evil One. Safeguard your heart from eating the manna of Judas and Herod, who lost it all for ungodly gains. Avoid the leaven of the Pharisees which is hypocrisy that you be a true follower of the Lord your God all through your life.
- Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
- Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shall you dwell in the land, and verily you shall be fed. (Psalm 37:3)
- Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts before Him. God is our refuge. Selah (Psalm 62:8)
Do not let riches entice you
Do not ever let riches entice you,
Lest God in heaven go on to despise you.
Do not let money and gold be your shield,
Lest you perish like the grass of the field.
Do not love unrighteous wealth,
Lest it hamper your spiritual health.
Do not desire sweet water stolen,
Lest it cause pride all swollen.
Do not work for mammon in conceit,
Lest you start living in deceit.
Do not strive for vain glory,
Lest you start off to a bad story.
Keep away from preachers who do not actually preach the Gospel
Would you get surgery done for yourself if the person doing it doesn’t actually practice surgery? Would you like to travel in an aircraft driven by a person who cannot even read the route map? Would you invest your money in a bank which is on the verge on collapsing? If you said no to any of these questions, then why would you learn the Gospel from anyone who doesn’t actually preach it?
I find it very laughable and amusing to see people who flock to preachers who don’t actually preach the Gospel. Yes, these people will come up with various excuses to continue to waste their time on them. They often say ‘we are not to judge’. So going by that logic they wouldn’t mind if their government transfers all of their money to the ‘vacation for ministers’ fund, because they are not to judge if they go bankrupt. They wouldn’t judge if they were given poisoned food by the restaurants. Probably not if they regard for their well being! However these people will keep pushing the ‘do not judge’ Bible verses upon you as if that will turn their precious little preacher into a true preacher of the Word of God.
Some preachers will totally avoid the mention of Jesus in their entire sermons. Perhaps they never heard of him or maybe they are not trying to please him! Either way that is a massive give away to either correct the preacher or leave him. Some people might think that is offensive, I don’t agree to them. Suppose if you wanted your children to swim but the swimming instructor doesn’t teach them to swim but only talks about his or her swimming accomplishments , do you or your children truly get your money’s worth for the swimming lessons. You’d most possibly get the children out of that swimming class and join a better one or complain to the management to change the swimming coach. Maybe the management would go half way and instead of removing the coach simply apologize and get the coach to actually teach swimming. If such logic applies to swimming, wouldn’t you and your family’s spiritual life in Christ deserve a bit more better?
There are some people who don’t care if the preacher is preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ or not because of an odd reason. They simply and plainly don’t care to read the Bible either. And if they do, they totally ignore the preachers’ misgivings and in turn open the doors of their heart wide to heresy and ignorance.
Now there are some preachers who do preach parts of Gospel such as forgiveness, healing, and love but avoid anything to do with repentance, holiness and deliverance. These try to make the Gospel palatable to people in order to get the number of people hearing them to increase. However, these do not preach Gospel in its entirety. As a result the person who hears such a preacher is not warned of the traps and temptations and sufferings that they might encounter with their walk with Christ Jesus. So if the person gives in to sin or remains ignorant of how to receive deliverance from evil, do not be surprised at all.
Do not be the one who refuses to love the truth but rather chooses to live in deception, with deceptive preachers and so share in their eternal judgement!
Bible verses to reflect on:
- Then the disciples came and said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?” He answered, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up. Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.” (Matthew 15:12-14)
- “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it is nothing, but if anyone swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath.’ (Matthew 23:16)
- 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. 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. The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thessalonians 2:7-12)
When you heart is overwhelmed do you turn to the Lord?
Those who believe in Christ and are facing situations that overwhelm them should turn to the Lord Jesus Christ. They should never resort to sinful pleasures to get a so called relief from pain of the heart and spirit. Why should one ruin one’s afterlife just to get some immoral pleasure? Obviously the answer is deception; self-deception for some and deception from the Evil One for others. Whichever be the reason, one thing is sure, that those who trust the Lord God must turn to him whenever their hearts are overwhelmed.
Once you call upon the Lord don’t stop at that. Rather listen to God. Hear him out in the Spirit and in the Holy Scriptures. Ask the Lord to guide you by his Spirit as you pay attention to his Word.
“Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food. Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live. (Isaiah 55: 1-3)
When people get into sorrow,
Some act like there’s no tomorrow.
These get it wrong and get into vice,
They act like sin pleasure will suffice.
They are wrong all abundant,
Sin makes one spiritually redundant.
Instead cry out to the Lord and be pure,
The grace of God will help you overcome and endure.
Bible verses to live by:
Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved. (Psalm 55:22)
Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer. From the end of the earth will I cry unto Thee when my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For Thou hast been a shelter for me and a strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in Thy tabernacle for ever; I will trust in the refuge of Thy wings. Selah. For Thou, O God, hast heard my vows; Thou hast given me the heritage of those that fear Thy name. (Psalm 61:1-5)
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!