Let's Talk About Deception

This week's Seek The Lord Sunday topic is "Satan". Fun one, eh? I think it's important for us to learn about him though, since the Bible tells us that he is our enemy, and that he "prowls around looking for someone to devour"! I don't know about you, but if someone is out to get me, I want to be able to see him coming. I can't see him coming if I hide under the covers and pretend he's not real!

So this week, I'm hoping we can all shine some light on this roaring lion in our lives. Let's get him out in the open so the mystery is gone, and we can DO something to fight against him.

Satan has many names including Devil, Accuser, Beelzebub, Prince of Demons, Prince of this World, Deceiver, and Father of Lies. A name in Biblical times was not simply a random label placed on someone, or chosen because mom and dad liked how it sounded. A name held real meaning. It spoke to one's character. So clearly, there is lots we could talk about when it comes to Satan!

What I'd like to focus on today is spiritual deception. Namely, what is it, what does it look like, and how does Satan use it?

First, what is deception? The Miriam-Webster Dictionary says that "Deceive" means "To cause to accept as true or valid that which is false or invalid". So spiritual deception means to cause someone to accept something spiritual that is false.

Take a look at 2 Corinthians 11:13-15: "For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve."

Satan masquerades as an angel of light...he makes himself appear to be of God and from God in order to trick us...to deceive us. Why would Satan spend his time trying to deceive us? Why does he care if we believe the truth or not? Because we're not talking about any old truth...we're talking about THE Truth, with a capital "T". God's Truth. God's Gospel, to be more specific. The Gospel is our ticket to salvation, to forgiveness...ultimately to Heaven for all of eternity, should we accept it. Satan wants to steal, kill, and destroy...he does not want us to have abundant or eternal life with God.

Deception is one of the tools that Satan uses to keep us from God's Truth. So, what does deception look like?

Well, the short answer is...it looks really appealing. Deception makes the bad look great. It makes lies look like truth. It's sneaky.

Let's look at an overly-simplistic example of deception. If you were going to deceive someone into eating...say...poison, how would you do it? Would you:

A. Give them a bottle marked with the word "poison", and tell them to drink up?
B. Mix the poison into a slimy, gooey, smelly drink, and tell them it's a health drink?
C. Pick some sweet, ripe strawberries, coat ONE in the poison, add a bunch of sugar, and place the bowl in front of them?

Assuming you really wanted to be successful...like it's your mission in life...you would give something like (C) a try. You'd be sneaky about it. Satan is sneaky too.

Let's look at this from a spiritual deception standpoint. Do you belong to a church? How do you know that your church is telling you the Truth? How do you know that what you're being fed every week is good for you, and not actually spiritual poison? Here are some things I've heard people say in defense of their church:

"I know my church is true because God has blessed it with great wealth."
"I know my church is of God because we are growing faster than any other church."
"I know that my church is a good one because we do so many great and wonderful things in our communities."
"I know my church is Godly because it teaches good, strong family and lifestyle values."
"I know my church is teaching me the right stuff because our leaders are so dedicated, and such good men/women."
"I know my church is right for me because I feel so good when I'm there."
"I know I'm on the right path because I had a vision that this is where I should be."
"I know I'm being taught the truth because one of our church leaders had a vision of God, and I trust my church leader."
"I am where I belong because this is working really well for me and my life right now."

Now, I'm not saying that any of these statements automatically mean that a church is wrong...but they certainly do not guarantee that a church is right, or healthy, either. If these are the types of reasons that you believe your church is trustworthy, please look closely. You might be in a trap of deception.

Why would Satan encourage brotherly love, community service, upright living? Because the best way to attract people to lies is to put it in a pretty package. Satan is good at what he does. And he has his eye on the "end game"...eternity. Satan knows that if we are focused on doing lots of good things in this life instead of on the True Gospel of Jesus' death for our salvation....then Satan is happy! He knows that without The Gospel we're lost. He knows that without God's saving grace, all the good we do in this lifetime will be lost...it's temporary without the Gospel's saving power. He knows we'll be his in the end without it.

Alright. The question, then, that is begging to be asked is: How can I KNOW that I'm not being deceived? It's hard to know because, well, deception being what it is, you probably believe that you are NOT being deceived!

In Acts 17:11, the author tells us of a people who "examined the Scriptures" to see if what they were being told by Paul was true. I encourage you to do the same...examine and study the Scriptures.

We must be able to study the Scriptures objectively, though. We have to read the Bible, the very Word of God. Not your church's interpretation or translation of the Bible. Not our friends' interpretation. Not a study guide's notes. The Bible. (And please read it as books, not as verses. Verses alone are easily misunderstood without the context of the surrounding text.)

Now, if I had read this post at the very beginning of my walk with the Lord, I would have felt totally overwhelmed by the idea of just picking up the Bible and reading. With that in mind, I've been putting some thought into some of the most important teachings of the Bible (in my humble opinion). These are just the most basic building blocks, but a great place to start none the less.

First, the Gospel: Jesus is God in a human body. He came to earth to die for our sins. He was crucified, died, and was buried. He physically rose from death and ascended into Heaven. His death on the cross was 100% sufficient in paying the penalty for our sins. It something that he did for us out of his great love and mercy and grace. It is a gift. All we must do to become a Christian is to acknowledge our sinfulness, and acknowledge Jesus' death on our behalf. Ask God for forgiveness, and ask him to come into your life. It is truly that simple!

And second, my "Red Flag" list. This is a list of things that should raise a red flag for you if it's going on in your church. This list is certainly not exhaustive, but a good place to start. Here goes:

1. Teaching that there is more than one God.
2. Teaching that "salvation comes from within" yourself.
3. Teaching that sin is not real.
4. Teaching that no one is going to Hell, or that Hell is not real.
5. Teaching that Heaven is not real.
6. Teaching that Jesus is not God.
7. Encouragement to pray to anyone other than God, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit.
8. Teaching that there are certain requirements that you must fulfill in order to get to Heaven (all you must do is believe in Jesus' sacrifice for you and accept it).
9. Teaching that Jesus was only a prophet or a good example for us to follow.
10. Teaching that Jesus was anything other than physically alive, then dead, and then physically alive again.
11. Teaching that God the Father has a body of flesh and bones. ( God is "invisible". Jesus is the only physical form of God.)
12. Encouragement to worship anyone/thing other than God, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit.
13. Teaching that there is "scripture" outside of the Holy Bible.
14. Teaching that God changes or has changed. (God is eternal, and has been the same for all of time)

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By now, you can probably tell that this is something I'm passionate about! It's true. I'm a "Jesus Freak" :) I love him. I love what he did for me. I love what he does in me every single day. I'm amazed by him and his amazing love for little ol' me. And I find such joy and peace and freedom in being his child.

So yeah, I'm passionate about this issue of deception because I want Jesus...the real Jesus...for everyone!

I hope that this post helped you or encouraged you or educated you in some way. This has been an awesome topic for me this week. I've spent so much time studying and learning!

Now link up, and tell me about what you've learned this week :)





Seek The Lord Sunday Participants
1. Home with Amy
2. Abrianna
3. Peggy@...aMazingGrace
4. Abrianna-Part II
5. Sheila @ The Faithful Follower

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Amy  – (8/09/2008 10:17:00 PM)  

oooh this is a good subject, I'm doing mine now :-)

Peggy  – (8/10/2008 06:15:00 PM)  

Daiquiri...you certainly picked a topic with a wide amount of variation! I am aMazed at ALL you put together! IT IS EXCELLENT!

I believe that by you covering that aspect of SPIRITUAL DECEPTION
you really conquered with TRUTH!

Your example of making it appealing...was SUPERB illustration!

Your Red Flag list is so GREAT! I need this when all the cults come around...and other false teachers.

I certainly can tell that you are passionate about NOT being deceived and you have helped me to be better equipped! I'm educated!!

I could not get mine to space but not bad for a Sunday's scramble to get one posted...I felt bad that I missed last week's and just had to add it (a bit)...do you post ahead what the nextweek's topic is??? on your sidebar to the left or where??

I heard many don't do posts on Sun. with success and I had posted BE STILL SUNDAY to rest and not do anything but I could not resist!

Bless you and thanks! Peggy

Emily  – (8/10/2008 08:43:00 PM)  

Thanks for such a thought-provoking post. I ditto the part where you write, "I love him. I love what he did for me. I love what he does in me every single day. I'm amazed by him and his amazing love for little ol' me. And I find such joy and peace and freedom in being his child." :)

Dee  – (8/11/2008 12:43:00 PM)  

Great topic and I enjoyed reading it. Me too; I want Jesus, the Truth, Way and Life for everyone and especially for my husband.

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