In these last days, the devil is doing his best to deceive us. How can we avoid his deceptions? Here are 3 ways you can stay in the light.
In these last days, the devil is doing his best to deceive us. How can we avoid his deceptions? Here are 3 ways you can stay in the light:
- Love the truth
- Know how to properly test the spirits
- Be humble
1. Love the truth
Jesus said something profound:
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me (John 14:6).
We see here that the truth is not only what is true or in accordance with fact or reality, but an actual person. If we say we love Jesus, then we love all truth and in loving truth, we love Jesus because he is the truth. A person who shies away from the whole truth of a matter because it makes him or her feel bad is a person that will be deceived.
There are only lies and truth. If you move away from one you get the other. Take Satan for example: a person who rejected God to the point that he became the exact opposite of God. He in turn was named the “father of lies.”
Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it (John 8:44).
So again, if we stay connected to Jesus Christ we can avoid deception. The more you hang around truth, the more you can detect lies pretty easily.
In second Thessalonians chapter 2 verses 8-10, God has a strict warning or prophecy for those who don’t love the truth:
8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: 9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, 10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thes 2:8-10)
We see here that souls can be saved, but because they don’t love the truth, God will give them over to a strong delusion. God has a problem with people who don’t love truth and while he extends grace and mercy, there will be a time where there will be no more grace and room for repentance. So, to avoid deception and a strong delusion brought on by God himself, we must always love the truth, no matter if it hurts.
Truth and Trust
We need to understand that just because the truth is often very ugly and hurtful, Jesus has a solution for every situation. Therefore, trust in Jesus Christ is essential when relating to him because without trust we wouldn’t be able to handle the relationship.
Knowing that Jesus has a remedy for the darkest revelations in this life keeps us calm and secure.
We must tell the truth
If Satan is a liar, do you think we can avoid deception by telling lies ourselves? The answer is: No. The bible says that all liars will have their part in the lake of fire (Rev 21:8). A liar ends up destroyed because he/she didn’t believe God requires honesty. We mustn’t tell lies. We must always seek to be honest for the goal in this life is to be conformed to the image of Christ Jesus who we know is always honest.
2. Know how to properly test the spirits
Everything that seems to be true is not. Everything that feels good may not be from God. How we think God should behave may not be the reality.
The bible says that in these last days, knowledge would increase (Daniel 12:4). New things are being revealed every day. Some are from God and some are not. There are doctrines Christians held for centuries that they’re now abandoning for contemporary worldviews.
There are “manifestations” that claim to be from the Holy Spirit but are not. There are people who teach a lot of truth, but also mix in some lies. In order to avoid deception, we need to know how to test the spirits. What are “the spirits?” These spirits are the people, the visions, the dreams, the doctrines and the voices that we hear. These spirits are delivering messages and we need to know how to decipher between what is true and what is not.
The wrong way to test the spirits
We get the command to test the spirits in 1 John 4:1-6. For some groups, they have used this scripture as a formula to test all spirits. Let’s read the scripture and see what it says:
Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. 2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: 3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. 4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. 5 They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. 6 We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error (1 John 4:1-6).
We see here that if a spirit confesses that Jesus Christ came in the flesh, it is of God, but if it doesn’t, then it is not of God. I’ve heard people ask teachers whether or not Jesus came in the flesh to determine if they were true or false.
It has been also taught that if you think you’re hearing the voice of God, you should test it by asking it if Jesus came in the flesh. If the voice confesses that Jesus came in the flesh, then that spirit is a good spirit—one from God.
A problematic formula
The problem with this test is an evil spirit can lie. I’m sure that some evil spirits won’t confess that Jesus came in the flesh, but others will. I believe this formula which, based off scripture, was inspired by the devil himself.
You see, the evil spirit can trick a person into believing that the formula is working by confessing that Jesus didn’t come in the flesh, and at that point, the person would dismiss the evil spirit. But at other times it would confess that Jesus did come in the flesh and the person would believe the evil spirit and potentially be led astray.
The reason why I can say this is because the bible never says that their is some creed that prohibits demons from lying about Jesus or anything else for that matter.
A test for the gnostics
If you understand 1 John chapter 4 in the context of the time, you know that the writer was combating gnosticism. Gnostics were people who were teaching that Jesus didn’t come in the flesh; and they were adamant about it. So the best way to know if they were dealing such people was to ask them this question.
However, what about people who do believe Jesus came in the flesh but teach other heresies? This formula will not work on them, nor the demons they’re inspired by. This is the weakest formula for error detection that I ever heard of in my entire life; and for a short time I used to actually believe it.
So if you use this formula, don’t abandon it, just don’t rely on it solely. It only works on gnostic spirits and the similar.
The right way to test the spirits
The best way, along with 1 John 4, is to see if what is being communicated by a particular spirit aligns with the bible. Search the scriptures, is it in there? I searched the scriptures to find uncontrollable laughter, gold dust falling from the church ceiling, and mysterious gems appearing from nowhere all in the name of God to be absent from scripture. With that said, I don’t accept these phenomenons as godly manifestations but rather something sinister.
I’ve done the same thing for teachings such as: “men have no sin nature”, or, “men can’t lose their salvation,” or “keeping the laws of Moses will save you.” When a person honestly searches the scriptures and aligns what is being taught with them, the truth will be revealed. It’s just that simple.
Using the gift of discernment of spirits
Another way to test the spirits is to operate in the gift of discernment of spirits. This is a gift from the Holy Spirit and it just gives you an understanding of what you’re dealing with. If you don’t have it, talk to someone who does. When you have it, you’ll just know when you’re dealing with something from God or not. However, I wouldn’t rely solely on an unction if you can help it, but the scriptures as well. The gift, the bible and confirmations from God all work together to help you determine whether you’re dealing with truth or error.
Pride will prevent a man or woman from admitting when they’re wrong and accepting the truth—we all know this. Pride makes you believe that you can’t be wrong about certain things in life. Gods don’t make mistakes and this is the essence of pride—a godlike thinking about one’s self. Therefore pride keeps a person in deception.
We must guard against pride. We must understand that we are only human and we are deceived on occasion. Somethings we just didn’t know and we were lied to early on. Once something that is contrary to our worldview is presented to us, it’s our job to judge it according to the gift of the discernment of spirits, and the bible with confirmations from the Holy Spirit.
There is no excuse for any man to walk in darkness when one of the Holy Spirit’s work is to guide men into all truth (John 16:13). God doesn’t want anyone deceived and so if they are, it’s because they’re not ready to handle truth, or they’re too proud or God has given them over to a strong delusion.
We can never be people unwilling to be corrected just because something is contrary to our views. If we want to avoid deception we must always be open to the truth, no matter if it hurts, and trust that Jesus has a remedy for the situation. We cannot think we know it all or that we could never be wrong in an area—when we do, we’re open to deception.
At the end of the day it comes back to loving the truth more than our circumstances, biases and personal feelings. Then and only then can we avoid deception and walk in the light.