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Our Defense Against Deception

Vanessa Luu

Contributing Writer
Updated Jun 23, 2023
Our Defense Against Deception

God could not be more explicit in His Word about what He loves and hates. He's clear about what is good and what is sin. 

The world is being deceived. Unless we cast out lies, believe, and live in Christ's light, many will perish and suffer for all eternity. Those who deceive themselves and affirm deception choose to do so, assuming they are acting in love towards themselves and others. But deception is extremely destructive and devoid of love.

Deception in the Bible

Biblically, in Genesis 3:13, Eve blamed the serpent when she ate the apple, claiming he had deceived her. As a result, God cursed the serpent, the woman, and the man. And that curse stuck! (Genesis 3:13-19.) The book of Deuteronomy warns us to be careful:

 "Don't let your heart be deceived so that you turn away from the LORD and serve and worship other gods." (Deut. 11:16)

God promised His anger would burn against those who disobediently chose to serve and worship other gods, proclaiming He would shut up the sky and stop the rain from watering the ground. The crops would die, and "Then you will quickly die in that good land the LORD is giving you," Deuteronomy 11:17 reads. These words from God in the Old Testament seem cruel but are actually rooted in God’s sincere heart. He knows what is best for us. Even if we think His way is wrong or unattractive, it's still the best way. Though we have been granted free will, the Creator's will is ultimately the best way to live. His promises stand firm. Without a doubt, the wisest thing we can do is obey Him!

The New Testament also warns to test every thought and teaching, holding it up to God’s Word’s truth to ensure it aligns. Deception is a genuine threat to humankind. Paul feared the church in Corinth would be deceived. He said, 

"But I fear that somehow your pure and undivided devotion to Christ will be corrupted, just as Eve was deceived by the cunning ways of the serpent." -2 Corinthians 11:3

Shapes of Deception

Deception threatens our daily lives, too, attempting to bypass all our convictions. But we can determine to stand against it. The God of angel armies is on our side and desires us to love and obey Him first! Our love and obedience to Him far outweigh everything the world could offer. When we resist the drift of deception, we exude the very love of Christ Jesus to the world which so desperately needs Him. Affirming the sin of another is destructive. As children of God, we must do our best to guide others to His unchanging truth lovingly. Professing Christians who preach and quote verses on love, affirming homosexuality and the LGBTG+ community, have accepted the lie which denies sexual immorality is a sin. In conversations with close friends, I have often asked why declaring sexual immorality a sin must equal hate when in my mind, I’m doing my best to love others by speaking the truth.

Declaring the truth of God's Word should be motivated by the very love of Christ Jesus, who came to save everyone from sin. People who declare God's truth are not motivated by hate for homosexual, transgender people. We feel convicted by the truth, which is the work of the Holy Spirit, and motivated to move by the love of God. Followers of Jesus are called to stand firm in the truth of His teachings. Knowing the truth and standing for God's truth does not equal hate. Rather it’s an expression of love. I have never treated someone in the LGBTQ+ community with anything but kindness and love, but I cannot affirm their choices are okay with God. This conflict is a perfect example of how deception is dangerous. Another common lie that's trending right now is that pride is good. God always speaks against pride and calls us to humility. So to believe we can celebrate pride for a month and have it take over our government and churches is foolish. Proverbs 11:2 says, 

"When pride comes, then comes dishonor, But with the humble is wisdom."

God could not be more explicit in His Word about what He loves and hates. He's clear about what is good and what is sin. I don't affirm the behavior of someone who lies, but I'm not unkind to them. I don't congratulate someone who steals or clap for someone who cheats on their spouse. I don't encourage those who abuse substances to keep abusing them. I don't root for a man who beats a woman and tell him that's totally fine; you can't help it. How small would God be if He couldn't deliver us from all these sins? 

Redeeming Love

The issue is not that God isn't capable of redeeming sin; the issue is that people don't want to surrender their sins to Him. We are deceived when we believe our feelings and desires change the Gospel of Christ. We are deceived when we believe that the Gospel isn't offensive. What Jesus preached was offensive to many, even though He did all things in love. Any offense we feel towards the Gospel is meant to prompt us to repentance, which is good for us, not oppressive. We are all sinners, but if we say we love God, we must commit to living in the truth. Deceiving ourselves with lies that make us feel more comfortable in our sin is the devil's work. He is the father of lies. (John 8:44). We are called to resist the devil and draw near to God. Not masquerade our wickedness and believe God will accept it. 

"So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world." -James 4:7, NLT.

False teachers preach God's acceptance over our sins, leaving repentance out of their teaching. God does accept us in spite of our sins. However, without repentance, we can't be made right with Him. Repentance is a process we participate in for the duration of our lives. It goes hand in hand with the humility Christ calls us to (James 4). We must humble ourselves before the Lord and resist the devil so he will flee. To repent means to turn away from. When temptation comes, we can turn toward Jesus. When we decide that our desires are more important than God's law, we choose not to love Him. We deceive ourselves when we believe God wants us to do what makes us happy, even if it goes against His will.

Lie Detector

Deception is just a fancy word for a lie. So, when we believe lies over God's truth, we end in destruction. I don't want that for anyone, nor does God, but God is just. His word will always be true, and He must follow through on His promise of wrath for those who reject Him. How do we ensure that we won't be deceived? We must study God's Word and pray without ceasing. God's will is given to us in the Bible. When we try to figure God out with our own "wisdom," we don't stand a chance; we will be deceived. But if we seek Him in His Word, we will live victoriously!

"The LORD, the God of their fathers, sent word to them again and again by His messengers, because He had compassion on His people and on His dwelling place; but they continually mocked the messengers of God, despised His words and scoffed at His prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against His people until there was no remedy." When we ignore the truth, we are living in dangerous territory. -2 Chronicles 36:15-16, NASB

The Bible is filled with scripture that echoes the same message. Destruction will come to those who ignore God's way. God promises wrath to those who ignore, mock, or deliberately disobey Him. Look at these scriptures from Nehemiah and Isaiah.

  • "Yet they acted arrogantly and did not listen to Your commandments but sinned against Your ordinances, By which if a man observes them he shall live. And they turned a stubborn shoulder and stiffened their neck and would not listen. "However, You bore with them for many years, And admonished them by Your Spirit through Your prophets, Yet they would not give ear. Therefore You gave them into the hand of the peoples of the lands." -Nehemiah 9:29b-30, NASB.
  • "For we have made falsehood our refuge, and we have concealed ourselves with deception. Therefore thus says the Lord GOD, "Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone, A costly cornerstone for the foundation, firmly placed. He who believes in it will not be disturbed." -Isaiah 28:15c-16, NASB.

The book of Proverbs is full of examples of wisdom and foolishness. One of the recurring themes is that those who are wise in their own eyes are foolish. We have been deceived when the church looks to serve the world instead of God. Intentions may be good, but not everyone is living in the truth. But there is still hope! If God's people humble themselves and pray to understand God's will, the Holy Spirit will help them. (2 Chronicles 7:14). God works outside the scope of our mental capacity, yet, the instructions He gives us are logical. He loves us. He has the best plan for us, and while we might fear surrendering to Him, we don't have to question His ways because they are pure and highly sensible.

Photo Credit: © Getty Images/elijah_sad

Vanessa Luu is a wife, mother, and faith-based writer. She speaks and writes to believers to encourage them to live authentically with God.