Believe it or not, some Christians are deceived because they have openings to the occult in their lives. I discussed this at greater length in one of my previous posts, What Well Are You Dipping From? If we have not repented of and renounced past occult dealings, there can be a door ajar in our lives for deception to sneak through. I have known prophetic people who were so eager for revelation that they were not fussy about where it came from, as long as they got it. We must not desire knowledge at any price. Adam and Eve were tempted by the serpent with illicit knowledge, and the result of them caving in to that temptation was deception and death (Genesis 3). Deception always results in some form of death.
Pride is a huge entrance for deception in our lives. Obadiah 1:3 says, “The pride of your heart has deceived you.” The devil’s rebellion against God was brought about by his pride: “I will ascend … I will exalt my throne … I will sit … I will be like the Most High” (see Isaiah 14:12-15). His pride deceived him into thinking he could actually depose God Almighty and usurp His throne. He didn’t stand a chance! – but he was so deceived that he didn’t know it.
We must be humble, teachable, and accountable if we are to stay clean of deception (or get free from it). We must be willing to receive correction.
Feeding on things written or spoken by those who make it their “ministry” to criticize and “expose” other Christians opens us up to deception, because the spirit of the accuser of the brethren is behind these materials. The authors of them follow in the footsteps of the one who “accused them [God’s saints] before our God day and night” (Revelation 12:10).
There is a valid place for apologists who inform us about cults. Unfortunately, there are many who cry “cult” and “heretic” about everyone who does not interpret Scripture from the same viewpoint as theirs. How do we identify those who are accusers and differentiate them from true ministries?
1.) They are consistently critical, not only pointing out error, but trashing the person, rather than exposing a spirit.
2.) They want to talk about negatives, but don’t have positives to offer. Yelling, “It’s dark in there!” doesn’t do anything to dispel the darkness. You have to turn on the light. God wants us to spread light to the lost and live in Christ-likeness, not grouse about how bad other Christians are.
3.) There is no spirit of love, grace, and mercy.
4.) There is an attitude of mocking, scoffing, and sarcasm.
Fearing deception opens us up to it. Fear it and you will find it. The fear of error can so paralyze us that we are unable to walk in God’s truth. God is able to keep us from deception if we trust Him to do so. More on this when we get to the post on antidotes to deception.
Second-guessing words or impressions we receive from the Lord brings confusion and an inability to hear God rightly. He has promised to speak to us and to help us recognize His voice. Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27). Read John 10:1-29 for a fuller understanding of this promise.
Allowing oneself to think and say what does not line up with truth and God’s Word is a surefire way to succumb to deception. Doing this brings destruction in many lives. “God doesn’t love me.” “I can’t do that!” (when God has given you a gift or task). “I am not as good as so-and-so.” “God doesn’t want to heal me.” “God may do things for others, but He won’t do them for me.” Please stop that! If you keep saying it, you will believe it and thereby neutralize your destiny. It is not the truth. It is deception.
Refusal to acknowledge, confess, repent of, and renounce sin in our lives flings the door wide open to deception. “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8).
Unforgiveness, bitterness, and lack of love for others will always lead to deception as well. “He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness even until now. He who loves his brother dwells in the light, and there is no occasion of stumbling in him. But he who hates his brother is in darkness, and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because darkness has blinded his eyes” (1 John 2:9-11).
We need to regularly ask the Holy Spirit to search our hearts for any hidden sin or unforgiveness issues, and to reveal these areas to us so that we can repent and be clean.
Next time we will talk about some antidotes to deception.
Excerpted from Lee Ann’s book, The Intercessor Manual