Deception (Part I)
The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways, but the folly of fools is deception - Proverbs 14:8 (NIV).
What is deception, we may ask. Deception has to do with the deliberate peddling of falsehood. It comes from the word deceive which means to trick someone into believing what is false or bad. This means that anything that is not true, anything that is dishonest, anything that is false but which we tell others with the intention of tricking them into thinking that it is true is deception.
Deception occurs when one person attempts to convince another to accept as correct what the prevaricator believes is incorrect.
Our insecurities about ourselves may lead us to try to preserve a certain image of ourselves, and we may experience a need for approval from others. However, when we exaggerate or do not represent ourselves honestly, we are left feeling like a fraud, which further hurts our self-esteem . Sometimes we may lie to compensate for guilt. Parents http://www.psychologytoday.com/basics/self-esteem often do this with their children only to add up disappointing them. It is hard to hide a broken promise, a missed meeting or a poor performance. Exaggerating makes you untrustworthy. Your words start to mean a lot less when the reality doesn't match up. When this happens, it would be difficult to behave that people like you or choose your friendship for who you really are. http://www.psychologytoday.com/basics/parenting
Too often, people are coached by an inner critic to not express directly what they want or feel toward other people. We may have a guard up that tells us not to be too vulnerable. We may downplay our emotions or act like we don't really care, because we don't want to feel or look like fools. But defending ourselves with deceptions or false portrayals of who we are will drive us further from our goals http://www.psychologytoday.com/basics/motivation and will likely prevent us from getting what we want in life.
Gossip http://www.psychologytoday.com/basics/social-networking or Covert Communication
Gossip is an epidemic. It is in every household and in every office. Alas, gossip is being a booming industry that is, taking over our media. The biggest problem with talking about someone behind their back is that we may flat out deny the comments or observations when we come face-to-face with that person. We can see how this can be harmful to our relationships. A true friend or loved one should be someone you can talk openly with, someone to whom you can offer feedback and welcome the same in return.
Another problem is that gossip breeds cynicism http://www.psychologytoday.com/basics/pessimism and destroys compassion. It is a nasty way of indirectly dealing with real observations or competitive feelings. When we favour direct communication over gossip, we become more genuine and more compassionate, not to mention more appealing and a person people like to be with.
Some people believe we need lies to survive in a relationship. This is so untrue. Misleading a person distorts our reality and makes us feel crazy, which is one of the most unethical things we can do to another person.
The Truth of God
If we do not want to be deceived then we should know Jesus Christ who is the Truth, and be filled with the Holy Spirit who will lead us into all truth . The Holy Spirit teaches the truth, and helps us to live in the truth. Jesus Himself has warned us to be careful about being deceived as we read Matthew 7:15-20 . Jesus is telling us to be wary of prophets, pastors, preachers, evangelists, Bible teachers and others who may look innocent, use religious language, sound spiritual and so on but who are liars because they themselves do not live righteous and holy lives. They do not even bother to try to live in obedience to God. Such are the people who will even seek to have an affair with other peoples' wives - vulnerable and gullible women who believe everything that they are told - 2 Tim.3:6 . Jesus is saying that those who truly belong to Him live in obedience to Him. It is not that such people are perfect. No, it means that the driving passion of true children of God is to live in obedience to God's Word. Such people know their own weaknesses and so they rely on the power of the Holy Spirit for help. They are honest and truthful in what they preach and how they live. Jesus again warns us to be careful about false prophets and teachers in the last days. He says that many people will claim to be Him but we should not be deceived - Matt. 24:5.
What Causes Deception?
Let us look at some of the reasons why we get deceived.
(i) Satan : It is important for us to know that Satan is the arch deceiver. He is still doing what he started in the Garden of Eden, - his main intention is to draw us away from God. The good news however is that Christ Jesus has destroyed his works - 1 John 3:8 . He is still busy though and so there are some things that we do that help him in his attempts to deceive us.
(ii) The Self : Sometimes too, we ourselves allow ourselves to be deceived because we do not want to live up to the demands of our Father. We do not want the truth to work in our lives and so we give room for the enemy to deceive us. Sometimes we know something we are doing is bad but since we like it, we seek out the counsel of friends or even ask for prayers. Alas, we have some pastors who will justify our wrongdoings. They will tell us that human beings are too weak to live the way God wants.
(iii) The Flesh : Satan appeals to our flesh - he encourages us to prefer feelings to faith; he would deceive us to hold on to tradition rather than to the truth of God. The enemy encourages us to exalt reason - our intellect - logic - above God's truth. Otherwise how can people even say that God did not create the world and that planet earth came about through a big bang and that human beings evolved from apes? How can anybody want to worship created things rather than the Creator of all things? How can anybody say that men sleeping with other men and women sleeping with other women is good or natural? But alas, that is how it is. The Bible teaches us that we can be deceived or we can deceive ourselves.
Let us look at some of the things that can lead us to deception or even self-deception. Pride
Pride here means having too high an opinion about our own importance and superiority. Pride exalts self above God and above all others. Pride means that we oppose the Sovereignty of God. It is only deception that can make anyone think that he or she is better than others and even better than God. The Bible says that God opposes the proud - 1 Peter 5:5-6 - Young men (women), in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, 'God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.' (NIV) We need to be humble so that we will not be deceived by pride into thinking we are better than we really are.
Self - Dependence
When we think we can depend on ourselves instead of on God, we are deceiving ourselves. Jesus clearly teaches in John 15:5 that apart from Him we can do nothing. We have no wisdom of our own, and no strength of our own. It is God who gives us all these things and so we must find ourselves in God and depend on Him for all things. Any teaching that says that we can develop ourselves to be God is false. It is deception to think that we can live apart from God or that what we know, what we do, what we achieve is by or own intellect, our own power, and our own wisdom.
Trusting in Worthless Things
The world measures success and wealth in riches and material possession but believers must not do that. We should hold loosely to material things. Material things and riches are not evil in themselves but they should not master us. It is total deception to think that the measure of our success or acceptance in God's sight is by the possessions we have. Jesus says in Luke 12:15 that our lives do not consist in the abundance of our possessions . We also read in Job 15:31 that it is useless to trust in material things . We should rather focus on the kingdom of God - that is what we should trust in to avoid being deceived.
To be continued!
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