A Lesson in Deception

FROM THE ARCHIVES:
"But wicked men and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and
leading astray others and being deceived and led astray themselves.
2 Timothy 3:13 
We are warned over and over again in the Word of God to guard against deception, especially in the last days. Deception is the tool Satan will use to trap many believers.
 
Deception plays an important role in the breakup of every marriage. One or both partners become convinced that "the love is gone and the marriage will never work." Deception often gets to the point where one or both partners believe that they are divorcing for the good of the other person.
 
By its very nature, deception is difficult to understand. We cannot recognize deception as long as we are deceived. When we have a spouse who has entered into deception, we often cannot understand their actions. We try to reason with them, but usually that has no effect.
 
It is important that we understand the enemy's tool of deception so that we will not be overcome by evil or be destroyed by a lack of knowledge ourselves.
"Be not overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."
Romans 12:21

"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because you have rejected knowledge, 
I will also reject you..."
Hosea 4:6 
Webster's Dictionary defines deception as... "the act of being misled by a false appearance or statement." Some synonyms are "fooled, duped, snared, trapped, taken, hoaxed."

To deceive is to cause to believe an untruth; it implies the imposing of a false idea or belief that causes bewilderment or helplessness or furthers the agent's purpose.

THE SUBTLETY OF DECEPTION

Basic to the condition of being deceived is not realizing that you are, in fact, deceived. In other words, deceived people do not know that they are deceived, fooled, trapped, or ensnared. When a person is deceived, not only their actions are affected, but also their perceptions of others' actions and motives.  
Their perception is based on deception.

Deception is both gradual and subtle. By its very nature, deception is difficult, if not impossible, to recognize in yourself. The story of Samson (Judges 16:4-20) illustrates this. Because Samson hardened his heart toward God with regard to ungodly relationships, he entered into deception. As the story unfolds, the subtle nature of deceptions is revealed. Samson did not realize that he was deceived. Deception blinded him to the character of his sin. While he resisted Delilah's many attempts to cause him to compromise, the deception progressed until he became so weary that he told her the true nature of his strength.

Deception gradually robbed Samson of his walk with God to the extent that he was not even aware of the presence or absence of God in his life. In verse 20 we read, "But he did not know the Lord had left him." As a result of deception Samson lost his God-given strength and Israel lost an effective leader against its enemies.

Persons who are deceived grow unable to understand the true nature of things in the area in which they are deceived. They lose the ability and discernment to recognize what is and is not of God.

THE PROGRESSION OF DECEPTION

Just as with an infection, deception must have an opening for it to gain entrance and begin its progressive growth. Satan seeks an entrance through our human weaknesses; he probes for a doorway through temptation. Our enemy tempts us today in the same way he tempted Eve (Genesis 3:6) by trying to create doubt in God's Word. Evil imaginations also provide an opening for deception (Job 3:25). The devil will try to create worry and anxiety over negative situations; he attempts to make us think about what COULD happen. When we judge others, seek revenge, fail to forgive, hold on to bitterness, and refuse correction, we give opportunity to Satan to begin the process of deception.

THE EFFECTS OF DECEPTION

Deception and disobedience cannot be separated. Where you find one, you will find the other. Where disobedience takes root, insensitivity to the Holy Spirit grows.
HEBREWS 3: 7-12 (The Passion Translation)
This is why the Holy Spirit says,
“If only you would listen to his voice this day!
Don’t make him angry by hardening your hearts,
    like your ancestors did during the days of their rebellion,
    when they were tested in the wilderness.
There your fathers tested me and tried my patience
    even though they saw my miracles for forty years
    they still doubted me!
This ignited my anger with that generation
    and I said about them, ‘They wander in their hearts
    just like they do with their feet,
    and they refuse to learn my ways.’
My heart grieved over them so I decreed:
    ‘They will never enter into the calming rest of my Spirit!’ ”
So search your hearts every day, my brothers and sisters, and make sure that none of you has evil or unbelief hiding within you. For it will lead you astray, and make you unresponsive to the living God.
Another result of entering into deception is the inability to keep commitments and tell the truth. When a spouse who claims to be a Christian acts in violation of Word of God, it is unimaginable. They are blinded and do not recognize the error.

"Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart." (Ephesians 4:18)

When we deal with someone who blows up or gets angry, remember that anger and hatred are fruits of deception. 

"Whose hatred is covered by deceit, his wickedness shall be showed before the whole congregation." (Proverbs 26:26)

GOD'S STANDARD

No matter what appearances or the situation looks like, we can believe God's Word. Isaiah 60:2 says, "For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee." Darkness may get stronger and stronger, but God's light grows brighter and brighter! Hallelujah! It may seem that deception is like the flood in Isaiah 59:19; however, we serve a God who can raise up a standard and put the enemy to flight if we will not just stand, but also couple God's Word with corresponding actions. "No weapon formed against you will prosper." Isaiah 54:17

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