If I were to insult you, you'd feel the sting immediately. If I were to embarrass you, you'd be the first to know. But if I were to deceive you, you might never know it!
As painful as being insulted or embarrassed can be, at least you're aware of what's taking place. But deception can be deadly because you don't realize you are being deceived; or even betrayed, misled, seduced, or ensnared. It's much more than a clever slight of hand.
Deceived people are not aware they are being misled, unless they are confronted with the truth. Tragically, many go for years living a lie and never realizing it.
What is your source for truth? Is it trustworthy? Will it protect you from the schemes and lies of the master deceiver, Satan? The Bible warns, "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death" (Proverbs 14:12). We cannot look around and judge things by our own thinking. It is so easy to be deceived if we depend upon our own thinking, our own eyes, or our own feelings; or upon the word of others.
The prophet Jeremiah gave wise counsel for choosing whom to trust. He said if you put your trust in man you will be cursed like a withered bush in a barren desert. However, if your ultimate trust is in God, Jeremiah said you will flourish like a tree planted by the water (Jeremiah 17:5-8). Still many people today disregard Jeremiah's advice, and in their search for truth, they put their trust in man, instead of God.
Who Will You Trust?
The only way we can be 100% sure is to do what the church of Berea did in New Testament times. They examined the Scriptures to see if what the Apostle Paul taught them was true (Acts 17:11). We must use the same Scriptural standard for the teachings of all religious leaders. Disregarding the truth of God's Word in favor of the subjective teachings of men can be a tragic mistake, and can hold people in bondage. Jesus said, "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32).
Sadly, many professing Christians do not know enough truth to recognize error! A safeguard against being deceived by false teachers is to ask for the book, chapter and verse for everything that is taught. If a teacher cannot produce the Scriptural evidence for his teachings, then we must not accept such as the truth. These false teachers "serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly: and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple" (Rom. 16:18).
We have those Christians who have zeal, but they have been indoctrinated with false teaching, and have difficulty believing the truth. They refuse to make changes in their lives because they won’t let go of unbiblical beliefs. They have chosen to put their faith in the deceiver, and they have shown a lack of faith in His purpose and His plan for their lives.
Many church doctrines being practiced today are believed to be Biblical, but they are not. For instance: the belief that infant baptism and church membership are requirements for salvation; the belief that their church is the only source of salvation - not Jesus; or the belief that one man or all man is filled with deity-potential. These are only a few. As for some wrong practices within the Church today, consider it a warning sign if you are discouraged to question the doctrines of your church or the church leaders; or when obedience is expected without question; or if the leadership encourages its members to have their palms read or to consult with mediums. Also avoid any church that looks the other way at the sin of their membership, such as: the acceptance of homosexuality, same-sex marriage, sex outside of marriage, or abortion, which are all sin. Many churches have been defiled by the deceptive teachings of man, and Satan loves it.
I want to challenge you to examine every aspect of your faith. Have you placed your faith in a deceptive teaching? - In the doctrine of your church? - In the teaching of the intellectual community? - Or in the teaching of a group of people whom you have become friends with?
Stay focused on, and devoted to Christ; and He will show you the truth. If we ask Him to show us where we may be deceived in your beliefs, be certain you are prepared to accept it and have the courage to change what is shown to you.
“I say this in order that no one may delude you with persuasive argument.” Colossians 2:4
~Article was from the Kindred Spirits Journal
Issue #11, May 2005