Perception of Deception
Have you ever asked yourself this question – “How could I have been so stupid?” I have. In fact, I think I’ve asked that of myself at least twice in the last week. Usually it is related to something stupid that I’ve said – I have a knack for that, I think. I’m sure you can relate in some way. We all have had times when we did something we regretted, and some of us have a few more of those than others. Why do we do this? Don’t we learn from our mistakes? Or the mistakes of others?
I’m starting a new Bible study today called Twisting the Truth, by Andy Stanley. The premise of the study is that we are surrounded by lies that, when we fall for them, affect every area of our lives. For example, when a man falls for the lie that he will be happier with a woman other than his wife, if he acts on that lie (and sometimes, even if he only fancies the thought of it) he starts a chain reaction of damage that takes away most everything he holds dear. The knowledge of the danger of falling for these kinds of lies is not a secret – we all know that falling for these lies is stupid, yet almost all of us still fall for them now and then. Why do we do that?
Stanley teaches that, from a Biblical perspective, there is an entire world of activity going on unseen around us which affects our visible world. There’s a spiritual realm that exists, and inside that realm there are forces which act on us in ways that influences us, both for our good and to our demise. The evil forces which act on us do so through deception, and they are really, really good at it.
Jesus believed in the existence of the devil, and He identified the devil as a liar. In John 8:44, He told the religious leaders
“You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer 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.”
Stanley added “…Jesus believed in the personal existence of the devil, whose ultimate agenda was the destruction of human life and whose tool is deception — distorting and twisting the truth. He can persuade human beings that what’s right is wrong and what’s wrong is right. It devastates our hearts and minds, and sometimes even our bodies. It wrecks relationships, marriages, families, and anything that’s truly valuable to the human race.”
If you’re like me, you’ve fallen for Satan’s lies a few too many times. You’ve been there; you’ve done that; you got the t-shirt (as you can see, mine is red…). And if you’re like me, you’d like to know how to protect yourself from falling for more of his lies. If, like the psychologist says, identifying the problem is the first step, then I think we’re on the right track. We know that we are being deceived. That’s our problem. Now we just need to know how to spot the devil’s lies, how to see through them, and how to counter them. I’m hoping that this study will be a great guide for doing just that.
What about you? How susceptible to deception do you consider yourself to be?