The Source of Self-Deception

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A Nugget from New Life Network

(by Dr. Larry Ollison)

Scripture for the Day – July 5, 2019

Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. (Galatians 6:7-8, ESV)

The worst kind of deception is self-deception. When people have been deceived by someone else and that deception is discovered, most of us deal with it swiftly and decisively. However, self-deception is rarely dealt with because many people feel they are right and will never look inwardly. The Bible describes it like this: “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but he who heeds counsel is wise” (Proverbs 12:15).

All through God’s Word, we are warned about deception. Deception is the tool that the serpent used against Eve (2 Corinthians 11:3). It’s still a tool of the enemy. Self-deception, however, is a result of flesh and ignorance. The term self-deception denotes that the deception comes from within, rather than from without. The enemy is a deceiver. In the same way God wants us to be holy like He is holy, Satan wants us to be like him and he is the father of deception (John 8:44).

Because of pride, Satan rebelled against God. When pride enters into the heart of man, he is a candidate for self-deception. Obadiah 1:3 says, “The pride of your heart has deceived you.” According to the Word, we have been warned against self-deception. The following are eight basic ways we deceive ourselves.

1) By hearing the Word but not doing it: Be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves (James 1:22).
2) By thinking too highly of ourselves: For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself (Galatians 6:3).
3) By not acknowledging sin and repenting: If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us (1 John 1:8-10). For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it killed me (Romans 7:11). Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9,10).
4) By placing faith in the world’s wisdom: Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their own craftiness” (1 Corinthians 3:18,19).
5) By not bridling our tongue: If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless. Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world (James 1:26,27).
6) By not understanding sowing and reaping: Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches. Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life (Galatians 6:6-8).
7) By having worldly associations: Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? (2 Corinthians 6:14). Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits” (1 Corinthians 15:33).
8) By not understanding the source of good and evil: Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning (James 1:16,17). The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly (John 10:10).

The bottom line to avoiding self-deception, or deception by someone else, is this: God’s Word is true. If we walk in the truth of His Word instead of the opinions of worldly people, we will not be deceived.



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