Friday, January 20, 2012

Open Your Eyes to the Deception

Satan's promise to Eve was tantalizing:  "Your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil" (Genesis 3:5).  Who could resist such an extraordinary offer?

The forbidden fruit was "good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom" (v.6).  If it hadn't seemed so attractive, do you think Eve would have fallen for the offer?  If that fruit had been rotten and crawling with worms, would she have considered disobeying God?  Of course not.  What makes Satan's offer so alluring and so deceptive is that they look so right.

The problem is that Eve didn't stop to evaluate what was really happening.  She didn't take time to discern truth from error.  She didn't stop to consider the cost and the consequences of what she was about to do.  If Eve could have imagined the ugly, painful, deadly consequences of her choice -- in her own life, in her relationship with God, in her marriage, in her children, in her children's children, and (through the sin of her husband, who followed her) in every human being that would ever live on the planet --do you think she would have listened to Satan's lie and disobeyed God?  I doubt it.

I have discovered that very few Christians seriously consider the consequences of their choices.  We simply live our lives, responding to the people, circumstances, and influences around us.  We have fallen for a lie.

Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free  by Nancy Leigh DeMoss

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Strategy of Deception

Deception was -- and still is -- crucial to Satan's strategy.  According to Jesus, it is the devil's very nature to deceive:

[The devil] was a murder from the beginning, 
not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him.
When he lies, he speaks his native language,
for he is a liar and the father of lies.

John 8:44

For reasons we cannot fully understand, Satan chose to target the woman for his strategy of deception.  Twice in the New Testament the apostle Paul points out that it was the woman who was deceived:  "The serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty" (2 Corinthians 11:3); "Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived" (1 Timothy 2:14).

Remember that Satan did not first approach the man; he deliberately approached and deceived the woman.  It was the woman who led her husband into sin, and together they led the whole human race into sin (though Adam, as head, is held ultimately responsible).  This is part of his strategy.  He knows that if we as women buy into his deception, we will influence the men around us to sin, and our sinful choices will set a pattern for subsequent generations to follow.

In the fifth chapter of Ephesians, Paul warns, "Let no one deceive you with empty words" (v.6).  Repeatedly, he challenges God's people to speak Truth to one another.  When we are not honest with each other, we actually do Satan's work for him, acting as his agents, deceiving and destroying each other.

According to the Scripture, we can even be deceived by spiritual leaders --those who have been entrusted with the responsibility of shepherding God's flock and communicating Truth to His people.  Sadly, many leaders abuse their calling and their followers by failing to speak the Truth.  Through the prophet Ezekiel, God addresses those leaders who deceive people:  

With lies ye have made the heart of the righteous sad... 
and strengthened the hands of the wicked, 
that he should not return from his wicked way, 
by promising him life.  

Ezekiel 13:22  KJV

In many cases, they "strengthen the hands of the wicked" by suggesting they do not need to repent.  They promise God's blessing and grace to people who do not qualify because of their willful disobedience and unrepentant hearts.   Their teachings help people justify...
  • anger ("healthy expression of your true feelings");
  • selfishness ("You've got to place boundaries between you and demanding people");
  • irresponsibility ("You are dysfunctional because you have been deeply wounded by others"); and 
  • infidelity ("You are free to divorce your mate and marry someone else; God is the God of the second chance").
At the same time, they make "the righteous" feel "sad" or guilty...
  • for taking personal responsibility ("You're codependent");
  • for demonstrating a servant's heart ("You shouldn't let others take advantage of you"); and 
  • for being faithful to their vows ("God does not expect you to stay in that marriage"). 
Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free  by Nancy Leigh DeMoss

Friday, January 6, 2012

You Have Been Lied To. We Have Been Deceived.

I invite you to take a walk with me back to where all our problems began:  the Garden of Eden, the first home of Adam and Eve --a perfect, ideal environment.   I want you to see how a lie was the starting place for all the trouble in the history of the universe.   Eve had listened to that , believed that lie, and acted on that lie.  Every problem, every war, every wound, every broken relationship, every heartache --it all goes back to one simple lie.

As lies have a way of doing, that first lie grew and spun off more lies.  Eve believed the lie, and we, the daughters of Eve, have followed in her steps --listening to, believing, and acting on one lie after another.

I want to rip the mask off the one who tells us those lies.  Satan poses as an "angel of light" (2 Corinthians 11:14).  He promises happiness and pretends to have our best interests at heart.  But he is a deceiver and a destroyer; he is determined to dethrone God by getting us to side with him against God.  I want you to see how Satan may have used some of the subtlest lies (or half-truths) to deceive and destroy you and those you love.

Pray to the Lord, "God what lies have I been believing?"  He will show you the lies you are believing.

Satan promises the best, but pays with the worst; he promises honor, and pays with disgrace; he promises pleasure, and pays with pain; he promises profit, and pays with loss; he promises life, and pays with death.

Satan deceived Eve by causing her to make her decision based on what she could see and on what her emotions and her reason told her to be right, even when it was contrary to what God had already told the couple.

From that moment to this, Satan has used deception to win our affections, influence our choices, and destroy our lives.

Why do we fall for his deception?  Why do we go for the lure?  One reason is that Satan doesn't usually appear in the form of a serpent --instead, he comes disguised as a New York Times best-seller, a popular magazine, or a movie, or a TV show, or a Top Ten hit song.  He may also pose as a relative or friend giving sincere counsel, a therapist, or even a Christian writer, preacher, or counselor.

Regardless of the immediate source, anytime we receive input that is not consistent with the Word of God we can be sure Satan is trying to deceive and destroy us.  What we read or hear may sound right, may feel right, may seem right -- but if it is contrary to the Word of God, it isn't right. 

 Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free  by Nancy Leigh DeMoss