"Recognizing the Danger"
If Satan, through one of his unbelieving human agencies, tells us there is no God, the Bible is not true, and Jesus Christ is not the Savior, even the most nominal believer will quickly identify the deception as devilish in origin. We will remember and affirm, "There is one God," and "the fool hath said in his heart, there is no God" (I Timothy 2:5; Psalm 14:1).
Conversely, if the same Satan, through a false preacher or even a faithful one in error, presents to us an erroneous notion accompanied by Scripture and the name of the Lord Jesus, we may be far more likely to identify the deception as truth. Thus, the Apostle Paul prayed "that we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive" (Ephesians 4:14).
Which devilish ploy is more dangerous? The latter means of attack bears far more danger because it presents itself as light rather than darkness. The pulpit may sometimes better serve the devil's devices than any unbelieving agency that blatantly - and obviously - denies God's truth. We must therefore "try (test) the spirits, whether they be of God" (I John 4:1). This presents a great challenge because believers rightly expect preachers, teachers, and writers who profess Christ to be genuine and trustworthy. Moreover, most Christians have not read, pondered, and studied the Bible as much as those who occupy pulpits, Sunday School lecterns, and electronic media, or whose written words find their way into books, articles (or suspicious email devotionals!). How then does the earnest believer stand against deception in a generation wherein countless voices beckon - truthfully and erroneously - "This is the way; walk ye in it"? (Isaiah 30:21).
No easy answers present themselves to answer this vital question. Obviously, we pray for protection against deception. We consistently read and ponder the Scriptures in order to discern truth from error. We also fellowship with like-hearted believers who share the desire to walk in God's light. However, we can practice all of these protective measures and still be deceived. Herein lies another vital aspect of avoiding deception, namely, recognizing the fact that we have a cunning foe, and we can all fall victim to his subtle devices. Indeed, if we do not recognize the danger, we are already deceived and open to far greater possibilities of error. We do well, therefore, to trust our Lord for His keeping, read His Word for illumination, and associate ourselves with fellow believers who help to confirm Truth and diagnose error. The challenge is great. Our enemy is subtle. But God is greater, and His knowledge, understanding, and wisdom will preserve our walk in faith and faithfulness so long as we realize the dire necessity of His ongoing administration of light, grace, and truth to our hearts and minds.
"But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ."
(II Corinthians 11:3)
"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour."
(I Peter 5:8)
Weekly Memory Verse
For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.