“Deception has been the primary strategy of Satan from the beginning.”[i]This is a quote from a book I am reading for the Recovery Coach Certification I am pursuing.
The author, Dr. Anderson, describes eight ways that we deceive ourselves and some of them hit too close to home.
- We deceive ourselves when we hear the Word but don’t do it.
- But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. James 1:22
- Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:13
- The warning is this: “To proclaim the Word of God as if it were true in our own lives when it’s not is to live a lie, and we will be deceiving ourselves.[ii]
This reminder makes me aware that I need to be even more transparent to the Victory Call readers and with those that attend conferences, retreats and events that I speak at because in my heart of hearts I don’t want to ever give the false impression that everything that I write about or speak about I already have nailed down in my own life. Nothing could be further from the truth. I still continue to wrestle with the very things I write and speak about. We are all on this journey together.
- We deceive ourselves when we say we have no sin.
- If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 1 John 1:8
- We deceive ourselves when we think we are something we are not.
- For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. Romans 12:3
- For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. Galatians 6:3
- We deceive ourselves when we think we are wise in this age.
- Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness,” 1 Corinthians 3:18-19
- We deceive ourselves when we think we are religious but do not bridle our tongue.
- If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. James 1:26
Ouch. There are so many ways an unbridled tongue leads to sin. Gossip, harshness, unkindness, belittling, lying, exaggeration, half-truths, just telling it like it is, failing to keep silent when things are better left unsaid, having to have the last word, bullying, cursing, coarse joking, mocking, creating strife and disunity, being disrespectful, and the list can go on and on.
For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another! Galatians 5:14-15
- We deceive ourselves when we think we will not reap what we sow.
- Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. Galatians 6:7
- We deceive ourselves when we think the unrighteous will inherit the kingdom of God.
- Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality,nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10
- We deceive ourselves when we think we can continually associate with bad company and not be corrupted.
- Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.” 1 Corinthians 15:33
I must confess, that all but a couple of these have been true of me at some point in my Christian life and some even this week. The thing about deception is that we are rarely aware of it which is the very nature of deception. Taking a prayerful, honest look at this list of 8 ways we deceive ourselves do you see yourself anywhere?
I believe the only appropriate response is confession, repentance and prayer. I’ll start…
[i] Dr. Neil Anderson. The Bondage Breaker. Harvest House Publishers. 1990
[ii] Ibid pg. 167
Written By Diane Hunt: Diane Hunt serves on the board of America’s Keswick and provides ministry support from her home in North Carolina. She is also a biblical counselor and women’s event speaker. For more information about having Diane speak at your next event please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.