Deception in the Life of the Believer

March 2, 2014

There’s a particular Greek word found throughout the new testament called planaō  (plan-ah’-o). This word means “to (properly cause to) roam (from safety, truth, or virtue): – go astray, deceive, err, seduce, wander, be out of the way”.

No one likes the idea of being deceived.  It makes us uncomfortable. As humans we seek something true that we can depend on, and it’s important to realize that being a Christian doesn’t provide immunity from being deceived. Without even knowing or being aware of it, Christians can get sucked into believing a lie. The possibility of being deceived is very real, and understanding where deception comes from and how believers are deceived can help keep them from falling into it.

The Devil Can Deceive Believers

Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
Genesis 3:1

But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
II Corinthians 11:3

And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
II Corinthians 11:14

So God says he can transform himself and masquerade as an angel of light. So consider that in light of the next verse.

But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
Galatians 1:8

He was able to deceive David, a man after God’s own heart.

And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel.
I Chronicles 21:1

He has deceived the whole world.

And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
Revelation 12:9

False Teachers, False Apostles, and Evil Men Can Deceive Believers

And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words.
Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,
Colossians 2:4,8,18

That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
Ephesians 4:14

For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
Matthew 24:24

It doesn’t really matter what level of development the Christian achieves, whether they are children in the Lord, young men, or all the way to old men, they still need to beware of false teachers, who are evil. And II Timothy says it’s just going to get worse for these men.

But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.
II Timothy 3:13

Believers can Deceive Themselves

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
I John 1:8

For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.
Galatians 6:3

Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.
I Corinthians 3:18

I don’t know if it was the Devil, evil men, or just me deceiving myself. But there was a time in my life where I was betrayed. It was one of the most hurtful, demoralizing, and depressing times of my life. People that I trusted turned against me, and shewed their true colors. These people were members of my (then) church. But the lesson I have finally (I hope) learned through it all is, we as believers, can be deceived.

I tend to think of myself as an intelligent man, but God had to show me that I am not nearly as smart as I think I am, and that I was completely and totally deceived. Others that were close to me, that I trusted, whom I thought would never openly refuse to obey the word of God, that would always be at my side, turned against me.

It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.
Psalm 118:8

Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a broken tooth, and a foot out of joint.
Proverbs 25:19

I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.
Isaiah 42:8

So how do Christians escape deception? It is difficult to fight against something we don’t perceive, I mean, if we knew that a given situation was intended to deceive us, we wouldn’t be deceived, right?

And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through.
Luke 12:39

So what’s the answer?

The Answer for Believers to Identify and Overcome Deception

There are two keys to identifying and overcoming deception. They are:

1. Prayer

Asking God in prayer to see the evil and deliver the believer from it.

And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation.
Luke 22:40

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:
Matthew 6:13a

And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested.
I Chronicles 4:10

2. Testing

God commands the believer to put all things to the scriptural test.

Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
I John 4:1

Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
I Thessalonians 5:21

These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.
Acts 17:11

As believers, we must have our eyes open at all times. Believers must not be pulled in to every idea or doctrine that might come their way. Anyone that try to persuade a believer to stray from the teachings of the Bible should be rejected.

So if you have repented and placed your faith in Christ, I encourage to watch and beware. There are false teachers, wolves in sheep’s clothing, and many other deceivers out there waiting to “pull the wool” over your eyes. The only answer is in prayer and testing the people and their teachings against the Bible.

If they don’t pass the Biblical test, reject them! If you are faithful to the Lord in this, he will protect you from falling into false doctrine and practice.

If you have not trusted in Christ only for salvation, then Satan has already deceived you. But you can still overcome this deception. Click here to find out more…

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