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

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