Perhaps it may turn out a sang,
Perhaps turn out a sermon.

-- R. Burns Epistle to a Young Friend

Wednesday, September 3, 2014


But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. -- 2 Corinthians 11:3

Deception, especially, many times, self-deception, is what keeps us in bondage and denies us the love of God and the peace, joy and righteousness that is the fruit of the Spirit.  I don’t understand why I want to deceive myself.  All of us, at some level, want to know the truth, but the truth transforms us, often to the extent that we feel we are losing control of our lives.  It is almost like dying. 

How is our deception maintained and reinforced in the face of truth?  For one, a deceived person seeks out the like-minded.  We find those who are saying much the same thing we have been saying to ourselves.  We develop cliques and cults.  Of course, there’s nothing wrong with the Cult of the Raccoon, but not all are so truth-seeking and beneficial.  To be freed from deception, we have to have questions and doubts as well as faith and answers.  Deceivers are apt to offer us assurances when we need challenges.  False teachers and false prophets, regardless of the realm, will demand that we put our skepticism and cynicism aside.  Truth has no fear of the skeptic. 

Jesus did not condemn those who struggled with acceptance of Him.  He offered them the truth and challenged them, and us, to do the will of God:

So Jesus answered them, “My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me.  If anyone's will is to do God's  will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority.  The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory, but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood (John 7:16-18). 

The will of God is not entirely a mystery.  It has been made plain in the Law.  If we are striving to live right, as those who stood around Jesus that day claimed to be, and serve God rather than exalt ourselves, the doctrine of Christ will resonate with us. 

It is as though the world, the flesh, and the devil have imprisoned us behind a wall, fenced us in.  The Law leads us to the gate but the keys remained in the devil’s hands.  Our obedience was like a pass that we presented to the gatekeeper thereby obtaining a temporary exit and a degree of freedom.  After a while the failures and sins in our lives would once again imprison us. 

Christ offers more than temporary freedom.  The Cross took the keys out of the hands of our enemy and put them into the hands of our gracious Lord who loves us and seeks always that which is best for us.  Having paid the full price of our freedom, there is never any reason for us to allow ourselves to be locked up again.  All the Lord asks of us is truth in our inner being.  If we will own and acknowledge our faults and failures, He will forgive us and enable us to let them go.  It is only when we insist clinging to our sin that we find ourselves locked down – for our own good. 

This is the danger that Paul warns against.  If we find ourselves back in bondage, the deceiver will tell us that we must pay him to get back out.  Since he is no longer the gatekeeper, not only do we owe him nothing, he couldn’t let us out if he wanted to.  As a result, we serve the devil for nothing and remain in bondage, ever more confused and frustrated by our failure to obtain liberty. 

The answer is to go to the right One and tell Him your troubles.  What He tells you, you will know is the truth:   I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture (John 10:9).      


USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"All of us, at some level, want to know the truth, but the truth transforms us, often to the extent that we feel we are losing control of our lives. It is almost like dying. "

Aye. Our sinful nature or old man must die because it can't coexist with the light of truth.
It really is a piece of us dying to be be replaced by the nature of Christ and our true potential self realized, and this is a key part of our destiny.

It's an ongoing struggle because like you said, it's easy to deceive our self's or listen to only what we wanna hear.
Especially when it feels good, but it never feels right because we know the truth is better and it will set us free if we accept it, just as Christ will set us free if we are sincere in our desire for true freedom.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"Truth has no fear of the skeptic."

Right on! That's the fastest way to spot a false prophet or a deceiver, because they don't want their beliefs to be questioned.

God encourages us to ask the tough questions and to be skeptical.

mushroom said...

Our sinful nature or old man must die because it can't coexist with the light of truth.

That's the truth, Ben. The shadow self has to go.