Have you seen the great new app that alerts you when someone’s lying to you? Just kidding, of course. We might think we’d like to have such an app, but we surely wouldn’t like having it used to expose our own untruthfulness.
Deception’s got a bad reputation. From a secular perspective, deception’s perceived as bad because we don’t like to be on the receiving end of it, we expect that the deceiver is after his own gain, and we suspect that harm will result. The odd thing is that the most harmful lie usually is the one that we go along with in hopes of receiving some benefit. For those of us who want to spend eternity with Christ, though, we need to be very careful that we are not conceding to a lie that will bring on the wrath of God.
We’re deceived in a more passive way, but still willfully, when we let familiarity morph into complacency. We rest on what we learned about God as a child or young adult without pursuing greater knowledge of him. We buy into cultural Christianity or legalism, believing that we’ll see heaven so long as we do x, y, and z, with the particulars of our partial “truth” varying from one person to another.
Folks who grew up in the church invite this peril when they spend more time sipping on cultural preferences than soaking in their Bibles. In the absence of reliance on God, our deceitful desires can get control over us and cause us to prioritize temporal satisfaction over righteousness.
Early in my marriage, my husband and I had significant communication difficulties. Trying to make our disagreements calm and reasoned, I used my words like torpedoes. I wrongly believed it was up to me to help Paul—actually, to change him. I traded in the truth that only God can change a person’s heart for the lie that God might not do anything in response to my prayers and that fixing things was dependent upon my effort.
Deception never makes good on its promised outcomes. Instead of change for the better, what I brought about was the isolating storm of silence. We emerged no better equipped to grow through our struggle to interact. Moreover, in relying on harsh words as tools to lessen the volatility in our communication, I rejected the clear biblical instruction for wives to respect their husbands.
Many years later, I realized that “with a small heart adjustment, God’s love could flow through me, not just to me.” Our marriage is much healthier as a result of the growth God has brought about in us. Now, God uses our experience to enable us to speak frankly and constructively into the lives of the engaged couples we mentor.
We humans sometimes submit to deception also with regard to what we believe about God. Someone shared with me last year that she thinks it’s okay for people to believe whatever they want to believe, so long as they really believe it. My mind raced to come up with illustrations to show her that she couldn’t be right. So if someone is abusive in her parenting style because she believes it’s necessary, then so long as she really believes that she has no other choice, that’s okay? Or a couple who is having sex outside of marriage and who really believe they have God’s approval (despite Scripture’s clear statements to the contrary), they’ll be fine?
I was taken so off-guard that all I could respond with was, “You don’t mean about God, though, right?” Of course, she agreed that she did not mean to apply her statement to beliefs about God—and quickly changed the subject.
Any beliefs that we hold about God, life, or faith that are inconsistent with his Word are self-imploding lies with eternal consequences. We cause serious harm to ourselves and sometimes others when we exchange the truth about God for a lie. Ravi Zacharias says, “We have a right to believe whatever we want, but not everything we believe is right.” And wrong notions about God lead us to persist in the practice of sin that ultimately will result in our destruction.
Putting any of our eggs in the basket held by the Deceiver offends God. Our willful choice to trust in lies rather than the truth puts a separation between us and God, such that he turns his face from us and does not even hear our prayers. C. S. Lewis says, “[God] will be infinitely merciful to our repeated failures; I know no promise that he will accept a deliberate compromise.”
At some point in our lives, we all have committed sins of twisting God’s truth and turning from his ways. But God offers us freedom from the guilt of sin and power over sin though his salvation and in his strength. As we commit our lives to him, being deceived no more, the sham behind the twists and turns we trusted for deliverance is laid bare.
We can rejoice in the knowledge that the God of the universe offers us perfect truth that never will fail. He loves us so much that he will lead us in the way that is everlasting, so long as we seek him. He offers to turn us
|lies that end in broken promises||repentance that leads to knowledge of truth|
|sin that causes destruction||faith that saves|
|death apart from God||life in Christ|
|eternal defeat||everlasting victory|
Deception has no power—and there’s no regret—in a life lived for Christ. Praise be to God for the precious freedom we have in him!
2 Corinthians 11:3 (NASB)
But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.
Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.
Oh grant us help against the foe, for vain is the salvation of man!
2 Corinthians 7:9-10
As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us. For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.
- Recall a time when you relied on a lie rather than on God. What did you learn from that experience about God? About yourself?
- Is there an area in your life right now where you are relying on a lie to justify persistence in sin? Ask God to open your eyes to see anything that is hindering your walk with him.
- Commit to being attuned to the Holy Spirit’s work in you and to filling yourself up with the Word so you may discern what is pleasing to God.
Father God, please mature my faith and knowledge of you so that I’m no longer tossed by the waves of this world. Give me discernment to know your truth and wisdom and strength to submit to it. Give me a godly grief over anything in me that displeases you so that I may repent. Please turn me from darkness to your spectacular light.
SHAREABLES (copy and paste)
We invite deception when we spend more time sipping on cultural preferences than soaking in our Bibles. https://wordpress.com/post/karen.lindia.com/1429
Deceitful desires can get control over us & cause us to prioritize temporal satisfaction over righteousness. https://wordpress.com/post/karen.lindia.com/1429
Beliefs we hold about God, life, or faith that are inconsistent with his Word have eternal consequences. https://wordpress.com/post/karen.lindia.com/1429
We cause serious harm to ourselves and sometimes others when we exchange the truth about God for a lie. https://wordpress.com/post/karen.lindia.com/1429
Wrong notions about God lead us to persist in the practice of sin that ultimately will result in our destruction. https://wordpress.com/post/karen.lindia.com/1429
Trusting in lies separates us from God, such that he does not hear our prayers. Isaiah 59:2 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah+59%3A2&version=ESV https://wordpress.com/post/karen.lindia.com/1429
As we put our trust in God, the sham behind the twists and turns we once trusted for deliverance is laid bare. https://wordpress.com/post/karen.lindia.com/1429
Give me a godly grief over anything in me that displeases you, my Lord, so that I may repent. https://wordpress.com/post/karen.lindia.com/1429
 1 Peter 3:1-2, Ephesians 5:31-33. Excellent resources on marital love and respect by Dr. Emerson and Sarah Eggerichs that continue to be helpful to us are available here. If you have a subscription though your church with RightNow Media, you can access free videos by the Eggerichs.
 Margaret Feinberg, Skype conversation, January 14, 2016.
 John 5:24, Romans 6:4, 23, 1 Corinthians 1:21, 2 Corinthians 5:17, Ephesians 2:4-5
 Deuteronomy 20:1-4, 1 Corinthians 15:57-58, 1 John 5:4-5
 2 Corinthians 7:9-10. See the blog posts What does it mean to live for Christ? Part 1 of 3 ~ Finding the Way, What does it mean to live for Christ? Part 2 of 3 ~ Getting in Sync with God, and What does it mean to live for Christ? Part 3 of 3 ~ Intentionally Living for God.