What is our part in being deceived?
8 And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived…
~ Lk 21:8
“Be not deceived” is a thread that runs throughout the Bible. I count five instances where it is outright stated in the imperative, but many take it as anything but a command!
Even in the Garden of Eden, Eve was deceived, and Paul uses that as an example and warning to the Church:
3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
~ 2Co 11:3
But, just how was Eve deceived?
15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
The above initially might seem like a “which came first, the chick or the egg” sort of problem, but a little thought goes a long way. “The world”, that is this present evil age and the human societies that dominate it, did not start until Adam and Eve were kicked out of the garden. Yet, it has continued in the same old pattern down through time. Quite simply, it began with the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life.
6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food [lust of the flesh], and that it was pleasant to the eyes [lust of the eyes], and a tree to be desired to make one wise [pride of life, aka vanity], she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
~ Ge 3:6
So, has anything changed? Satan appealed to the woman’s sense of ego. He highly implied God was holding out on them. She was enticed to take another look, since “Ye shall not surely die.” However, the clincher was “Ye shall be as gods”. Satan knew what was promised, but he offered a shortcut, just as he offered Jesus a supposed shortcut when he promised Jesus the kingdoms of the world.
Satan appealed to vanity in both cases, although he laid it on pretty heavily with Jesus. “If thou be the Son of God …”. He attempts to appeal to vanity, whether it be wisdom, power, money or whatever, to this day.
2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.
3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
Whether it is lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes or lust to satisfy ego, people these days don’t want to listen to reality (aka, the truth). They will turn to Oprah, ideological zealots, conspiracy theories, etc., instead of facing the truth. Whether it titillates their intellectual curiosity, feeds their paranoia or just plan gives them an excuse to behave badly, the result is still deception.
And yet, the one tickling the ears is just giving them what they want. It is the listeners who have “itching ears”!
Unfortunately and counterintuitively, the truth is not the antidote! It sounds weird, but over and over people are confronted with the truth, but it changed nothing. HWA was fond of quoting the old saying, “He who is convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.”
10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
~ 2Th 2:10
It is the love of the truth that is the antidote! It starts with the heart.
Usually, we think of truth and reality as being head issues, dwelling in the place of rationality and reason. However, this world emphasizes just the opposite! “Let your heart be your guide,” is what the world claims.
This easily extends into all forms of bad behavior and even false worship. Life Hope & Truth recently ran “Vain Worship“, which stresses we can worship God using “our own ideas“. it also rightly stresses we must worship Him “how He wants to be worshipped”.
God is the Creator. God is the author of reality. By definition, God is the author of truth. We must look to Him for the truth!
11 Teach me thy way, O Lord; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name.
~ Ps 86:11
What do we call ourselves? Do we or do we not call ourselves “Christian”? That is supposed to mean follower of Christ. That means a lot more than the traditional line of “letting Christ into your heart”! Disciples literally “followed” Jesus around in His day, eating, drinking and traveling with Him. The entire notion of a disciple was to imitate the Master.
What is Jesus, anyhow?
6 Jesus saith unto him, I am … the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
~ Jn 14:6