The less we know about God, the greater our risks of being deceived increase. Our Enemy’s techniques are far more superior than our own ability to discern.
I received an email from a superior just the other day and I usually don’t hear from him unless it is very important and needs my attention. Seeing his name in my inbox led me to quickly open it to see what he needed from me.
But, here’s the problem:
This email didn’t sound like him, it didn’t have the same style, vernacular, or even the same structure he uses.
Something just wasn’t right. On top of that, his request was awkward and just plain weird.
Turns out, someone had hacked into our (very secure) email system and was pretending to be the Senior Pastor of the church. Having attempted this before, he planned to use this platform to gain other identities within the church and do untold things with that information.
But with my knowledge of hackers’ tactics, computers, and discernment, I was able to safely avoid a catastrophic result that would have caused damage to myself and others.
When it comes to the roaring lion who is seeking to devour us, what can we do to equip ourselves from being deceived thinking that something is from God; when actually, it is from Satan?
BE A BIBLE READER
Knowing God; His character, His attributes, His qualities, is what helps us to have the ability to discern truth from lies. I know my senior pastor. Since I know him personally, I know, generally speaking, how he thinks and operates.
Knowing more of the Bible helps me know More of God and more about Satan.
When I discipline myself to prayerfully read the Scriptures each morning before the day begins, I am filling my mind and heart with the truth about God, about man, and about the world. I read things like:
- God is not a liar, only Satan and humans are (Numbers 23:19; John 18:44)
- The goal of Satan is to steal, kill, and destroy what God has made and is doing. (John 10:10)
- Man’s heart is naturally evil, wicked, and deceitful; so man cannot be trusted in the place of God’s Word. (Jeremiah 17:9)
- God’s will is ultimately our sanctification [being made more like Jesus] (1 Thessalonians 4:3)
Reading the Bible helps you understand God’s truth about the powers at work against Him. This enlightens us and informs us about what comes against us.
BE A DISCERNER OF TRUTH
As Tim Challies has previously said in his book “The discipline of Spiritual Discernment” , discernment is simply taking the truth of God’s Word and applying it to every situation to separate truth from error. We need this discipline in order to be successful in avoiding deception.
So what does this look like in the practical world?
- When an opportunity presents itself; good or bad, you must seek to filter it through what God says about that circumstance:
- Is going to cause me to sin?
- Is calling me to more dependence on Christ, or in myself?
- Is going to increase my desire to kill sin or foster it?
- Is drawing me to deeper affection toward God or for the world?
- When someone makes a claim about God that you’re unsure about, ask:
- Does the Bible really say this?
- Is that in context with what the Author was saying, or was that twisted?
- Is this consistent with what God reveals about Himself?
- Is my heart troubled by that statement? (this can be subjective, but a good indicator that more investigation needs to take place.)
- When you are lonely, in despair, in anxiety:
- Is this caused by my propensity to worry? Is this over material things: provision of food, shelter…etc? (Mathew 6:34)
- Is the pain I’m experiencing want me to justify myself and seek vengeance? (Matthew 6:13-15)
- Is this a decision that’s been made about me or that affects me that I don’t like and can’t control? (Matthew 10:19; Philippians 4:11-14; 2 Corinthians 12)
You must examine all scenarios you encounter through the lens of God’s Word. It’s the best and only way to gain clarity and avoid pitfalls of Satan’s schemes and man’s exploits.
BE DISCIPLINED IN PRAYER
Prayer is not a cliché; last ditch effort in our good and bad circumstances. Prayer is the means that God has supplied to help us hear from Him and speak to Him. He desires that we have wisdom (Proverbs 2-4). He wants us to walk in the assurance of salvation, freedom, and uprightness given to us by Christ.
Be alert in prayer, not slothful, meaningless and neglectful. (Ephesians 6:18; 1 Peter 5:8-9)
Prayer is how the very Son of God Himself defended Himself from Satan’s attacks (Matthew 4:1-11). All the apostles of the New Testament wrote about the importance of prayer for yourself, but also for others to not be consumed by the attacks of the evil-one. (James 4:1; Ephesians 6; 1 Peter 5:8-9)
So, if you’re looking for Satan to be a red-horned man waiting to jump-scare you; you’ve assumed wrong. However, he will use men, women, children, politics, systems, businesses, groups…you name it, to propogate lies and deception. It’s up to you to read, discern, and pray!
Do you have anything to add? Leave a comment below!