Monday, February 5, 2018

Deceiving Yourself

The online dictionary defines self-deception as “the action or practice of allowing oneself to believe that a false or unvalidated feeling, idea, or situation is true”.

In this study, we would like to acknowledge three ways of deception. We are deceived by Satan (Genesis 3:1-4; Revelation 12:9); We are being deceived by people ( 2 Timothy 3:13; 2 John 1:7), and our own feelings and ideas can lead us astray (1 Corinthians 3:18; Obadiah 1:3-4).

Self-deceit is undoubtedly connected to pride and our ego. The reality is, many of us fall into deception when we receive instructions for life from other sources other than the Bible (James 1:13-17, 22-26). In deceiving ourselves, we often base our beliefs on some Unbiblical way of life; this is largely due to two things: ignorance and outright disobedience to God’s instructions (Hosea 4:6; Galatians 6:3-4, 7-9). We have heard many people saying that because God is a God of love, He will not send anybody to hell. The truth is that people make their own choices and they will reap the consequences of these choices.

How to Discern Self-deception

We cannot help but overemphasize what the Lord said; that the fruit of every believer stems from Christ (John 15:5). This is the most basic self-evaluation. In the Bible, we read that it is the pride of our hearts that deceives us for the Scripture says: “You who live in the clefts of the rocks and make your home on the heights, you who say to yourself, ‘Who can bring me down to the ground?’ Though you soar like the eagle and make your nest among the stars, from there I will bring you down, declares the Lord” (Obadiah 1:3-4 NIV). Pride is one of the things that God hates (Proverbs 8:13; Amos 6:8).

Also, I once listened to a young evangelist preaching. He delivered a powerful message which I heartily accepted. During his preaching, he expressed a great deal of himself including what he has and who he's met. This is a conceited attitude; we are called to be humble and give glory to God. We are not serving the Lord for self-elevation, but we are called to serve one another in humility (2 Corinthians 4:5).

Furthermore, we fall into the trap of self-deception when we are always right and consider ourselves above rebuke (Proverbs 3:11; Hebrews 12:5). King David, when referring to Godly correction, said: “Let the righteous one strike me—it is an act of faithful love; let him rebuke me—it is oil for my head; let me not refuse it. Even now my prayer is against the evil acts of the wicked” (Psalm 141:5 HCSB). This humility by King David to the Lord’s rebuke is also evidenced from the Prophet Nathan’s rebuke of him (2 Samuel 12:1-14). King David submitted himself to the word of God that came through the mouth of the prophet, and he repented.

However, when King Jehoiakim was warned and rebuked by the Lord through the prophet Jeremiah, he despised God’s correction and for his intransigence and disobedience, the Lord God Almighty issued a judgement against him (Jeremiah 36:27-32). In addition, King Zedekiah met an awful end because of his fear of man (his officials), lack of faith, and unwillingness to submit to God’s warnings (Jeremiah 39:1-7).

Kindly allow me to relate an incident involving a very dear member of our ministry. Like I have said in the past, we share our experiences with you as a warning, and not to emphasize the mistakes of the person the Lord used to convey the message. During the last year, a member of our ministry was repeatedly warned by concerned brethren about the wicked behaviour of one of her grandchildren. In her arrogance, she would just ignore the warnings, including some messages from the Lord (through Charis). This led her to confess that only the Lord is allowed to rebuke her and not us, even after we told her that Scripturally we are to correct one another (Luke 17:3; Leviticus 19:17). We also received a vision from the Lord encouraging us to rebuke one another because it saves us from Hell (refer to the vision given to Charis on July 4, 2013, titled "Warning: Do Not Use The Lord’s Name in Vain!" ).

In His rebuke of this member of our ministry, the Lord told her that she was deceiving herself and that she was being used by Satan. The Lord gave her a humiliating rebuke for her arrogant attitude, which had us all standing in awe of the Lord. She humbled herself acknowledging her mistakes before the assembly of the brethren and God; The Lord forgave her for her humility and turned His punishment away from her.

Vision of Christian Gone Astray Through Self-deception

Here’s once more testimony that I would like to share. There was a man who became saved as a result of our witnessing and he asked to join our fellowship. At first he showed great love for God and love for souls. However, after a few weeks he lost his spiritual lustre. He thought he could serve God by still lying and acting worldly. Against the advice of Scripture (2 Corinthians 6:14), he followed the wicked ways of some of his worldly friends. We guided him Scripturally but he continued doing wrong things secretly, until the Lord exposed his ways in a vision to Charis.

I will not relate the entire message of this vision, but in the vision, the Lord showed that he was standing on one side of a wired, spiky, corroded fence and he was unable to climb over it. Where he was standing the grass, trees and soil were dry and withered. He was himself poorly dressed. On the other side of the fence were green trees and beautiful flowers that gave a fragrance all around, with a man and two God-fearing children sitting on chairs under a thick blossoming tree with Bibles in their hands. They looked to the man on the other side and waved to him to come over and join them. Only then could he climb over.

In interpretation of this vision the Lord said that the man on the dry side of the fence was trapped by self-deception, thinking he was serving the Lord right, and when trying to get out of his situation (note his inability to climb over the fence to get to the other side) he could not. When he acknowledged his need for help and by being invited, only then could he climb over or receive deliverance. The beautiful green trees and grass with fragrant flowers represented Heaven. The moment he joined strength returned to him. He submitted his life to the Bible message.

Finally, brethren, if we are following our own counsel and ignoring basing our lives on the Word of God (Matthew 7:24-27; Jeremiah 17:5-7), we are on the wrong side and living in self-deception. We might hope that our going to church, tithing and doing good is enough to get us to Heaven. It might be noble to practice this. These, however, are the fruits which man looks at, but Godly fruit issues from a joyful heart and submissive obedience to the Word of God (1 Chronicles 28:9). Therefore, trim your attitude, submit to God and allow the fruit of the Spirit to grow from you. Shun worldly friends and their counsel, and study your Bible; therein is wisdom, knowledge and Godly counsel.

If you have not made a decision to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, or if you desire to renew your relationship with Him, simply pray this Prayer of Sincere Repentance to get you started in a new life and mean it in your heart. For any questions or comments on this article or our ministry, please contact us.

Gracious peace and love to you,

Brother Glenn.