James 1:16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers.
Deceived: mistaken impression, fail to admit to oneself that something is true.
A friend a few months back sent me a link to a David Wilkerson teaching on Deception and Hearing the Voice of God. To be totally honest, I saw it and thought, “Yeah, I’m busy. I don’t really need to listen to that.” I’m not saying we have to listen to certain teachers, but I am saying God uses them.
Interestingly, I was praying for others to have their eyes opened from deception. I was grieving (as was my husband) over a friend who seems to be losing their way. They are choosing money and title over the Holy Spirit. They’ve walked away from their first love. When a person stops listening to the Spirit, after a while they get used to their sin.
Compromise eventually leads to death.
James 1:15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.
A once loving, godly person was becoming full of apathy. I still pray for them daily, as eternity is nothing to play with. Once our love walk fades, we’re in trouble. We are no longer emulating God. We’re emulating ourselves instead.
But there was a problem.
I spent so much time praying for others and thanking God for where I was at that I fell into deception myself.
The danger of deception is you don’t know you’re in it.
There was a level of spiritual pride that I stumbled into. When we spend too much time focusing on what’s wrong with other people, we do something scary.
We exalt ourselves as God over their lives. We become judge.
We pray what we think they need deliverance from. We have a list of issues we ask them (or God) to fix. Healthy boundaries are good of course, but control is not. We love on our terms. It’s control, and only the Holy Spirit should ever ever have that position in someone’s life. Prayers must be in line with scripture and God’s will.
There are basic things we can pray and always know are in God’s perfect will: love, peace, unity, forgiveness and that we emulate Him. But we must leave God to be God-in other’s lives and our own.
I eventually listened to that David Wilkerson teaching. Something he pointed out stuck with me, and I’m reminding myself of it often.
No one is immune to deception. The greatest men and women of the Bible fell into it, excusing the worst of sins.
We can be terribly mistreating someone or practically spitting in God’s face and not see it. I’ve learned it’s too easy to wrongly judge. Things are not always as they appear. As Jim Staley has said, “Assume you’re missing information.” If you’re going to assume, assume that. Just recently something was bothering me and appearing bad. When I told my husband, he reminded me that I don’t know all of the details. Maybe I should just let it go. So I did. It worked out, and there was something that happened that I didn’t know about. I was so glad I decided to stay quiet and wait.
Today, I want to encourage you to pray daily that God will reveal any hidden sins or deception in your life. Be humble and willing to obey whatever God tells you to repent of. I’ve been doing it recently and it’s uncomfortable. But, at the same time, my spirit has never felt better.
James 1:12-25 ESV Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.
Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.