Continuing with the conversation about our mind and how temptations and accusations can overwhelm us at times, this post will look at our mind and the games of deception. This series is taken from Neil Anderson’s book, ”The Bondage Breaker.”
Anderson states that “deception has been the primary strategy of Satan from the beginning … There are three primary avenues through which Satan will attempt to dissuade you from God’s truth and deceive you into believing his lies: self-deception, false prophets/teachers, and deceiving spirits” (pg. 166-7).
Anderson notes that “Satan’s demonic forces are at work attempting to pollute our mind with lies in order to keep you from walking in the truth” (pg. 177). This is done by convincing us that we are less than what God says about us, leading us to live out of the flesh rather than the Spirit. Passages such as 1 Timothy 4:1 and 1 John 2:18, 4:1-6 caution believers to be watchful of the tactics that satan uses against us.
The apostle Peter warns us about false teachers and prophets in 2 Peter 2. He says that teachers who lead people to dismiss moral absolutes, who teach for self-promotion, and who reject biblical accountability are ones that can lead believers into deception. We are urged not to align ourselves with their teachings, but to hold firmly to God’s unwavering Truth. Anderson notes that, “false prophets and teachers flourish simply because Christians accept their ministry without spiritual discernment … Committed Christians in leadership roles need to submit themselves and their ideas to other mature believers who will hold them accountable” (pg. 172, 177).
In regards to biblical messages from prophets and teachers, Anderson makes this note, “A prophetic message should motivate people to righteousness, not placate them in their sin … God is more concerned about church purity than about church growth, because church purity is an essential prerequisite for church growth. Comfort only comes to those who are suffering and persecuted for righteousness’ sake” (pg. 174).
Above all other deceptions, this is the most common one Christians experience, because as stated before, we’re our own worst enemies. As the book explains in detail, we undergo self-deception when:
- we hear or read God’s Word but don’t follow through with it (James 1:22, 1 Peter 1:13)
- we deny that we have sin in our lives (1 John 1:8-9)
- we are prideful and conceited (Romans 12:3, Galatians 6:3)
- we put our wisdom about God above God’s Wisdom (1 Corinthians 3:18-19)
- we speak lies or half-truths (James 1:26, Ephesians 4:29-30)
- we think God will not hold us accountable for anything (Galatians 6:7, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, 15:33)
To leaders and teachers, Anderson cautions: “… [we] must apply the message to ourselves first. We need to get on our knees before God and ask, “Lord, is what I am about to teach true in my life?” (pg. 167)
To all Christians, Anderson advises: “When we become aware of a discrepancy between our identity in Christ and our behavior, we must confess it and deal with it … This is not a works gospel; it is a matter of identifying true disciples by their fruit. You are deceived if you believe that your lifestyle does not need to line up with your profession of faith” (pg. 168, 170).
How is your discernment in regards to deception … accusations … temptations? When the enemy hits, are you prepared to stand? When your life begins to unravel, are you holding onto God for stability or do you grab for other things?
Who reigns in our life: our flesh or the Spirit of God? Obtaining spiritual discernment has nothing to do with our ability to process things, rather our surrender to the voice of the Spirit as He instructs us throughout the day. It is daily living out Romans 12:1-2 – “I appeal to you, therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”