How often are we told to not be deceived? Have you ever really considered it?
Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not deceived (Dt 11:16a).
And he [Jesus] said, Take heed that ye be not deceived (Lk 21:8a).
… Be not deceived… (1Co 6:9).
Be not deceived … (1Co 15:33).
Be not deceived … (Gal 6:7).
Notice that these verses are in the imperative. They are commands! Would we be commanded to do something if it was not in our power (with the help of God)?
How can we do this?
1. Ask God for help. We have knees for a reason.
2. Study His word. Reading it through is commendable, and I try to either read through it or listen to it on audio all the way through once a year. However, that is not a substitute for getting out a concordance and looking up verses relevant to a given subject. It’s no substitute for reading commentaries to see how others view a given passage and try to make sense out of it. It’s not as profitable as sitting around with other brethren and discussing various passages (maybe it would be more profitable on the Sabbath than discussing the next potluck).
3. Fast occasionally. You might think I’m a “fan” of fasting. I’m not. I get migraines often when I fast. However, I also find it can give clarity. Fasting tends to give a spiritual strength that I honestly have trouble describing. Best of all, it is a reminder of who I am in the hugeness and vastness of the universe, and it reminds me that God is larger than I can even imagine. And yet, He listens!
4. Ask questions. I realize that elders keep pretty busy, but they are elders for a reason. Maybe instead of tackling them after services, you could drop them an email for a minor question. If nothing else, you should be asking yourself questions when you read the Bible. Why did he or she do this? Why did God reward this behavior over the that of others? Why is this in the Bible? What should we learn from it?
5. Don’t stop asking questions. A lot of people stopped asking questions once they came into WCG and became comfortable there. When you stop asking questions, you stop growing.
6. Don’t be afraid to admit it when you are wrong. No one sees 100% of the picture except God! Worse, continuing in a path that we know is wrong is living a lie, and God hates a lie. Again, if you cannot learn from your mistakes, you stop growing.
When I look at these traits, I cannot help but think of King David. The biggest mark on his record seems to be the one where he violated #6, at least initially. He had to be confronted with his sin in the case of Bathsheba. In spite of that, though, he is called a man after God’s own heart. Could it be because of these traits?