False prophets, teachers, apostles–there are many in our world. Just as Eve was deceived by the “cunning ways” of a serpent, we can find ourselves hearing a watered down, twisted version of the Gospel message. If we aren’t careful, we might even give in and believe it. We are not immune when we call ourselves children of God. In fact, we are an even more tempting target for the evil one.
As followers of Christ, I sometimes feel like we have a target on our backs. The evil one lurks behind every barrier, around every corner, just waiting for an opportunity to pounce on our doubting heart, our wayward soul seeking answers. Are we ready to know the difference between right and wrong? Will we recognize the lies, or will we be unwittingly sucked into the “un-truth” because it sounds good?
Eve didn’t expect she’d be caught off guard either. We need to be preparing for the certainty that we will be tempted. At some point in our life, we will be shown something that looks a lot like Christianity that could really get us off track. The “other” gospel may sound good and seem believable, but if we are grounded in the Word with a strong connection to God in our lives, we should be able to see and/or sense that something is not quite right.
The Holy Spirit is cool in that regard by giving us discernment. Some might even label it conscience, that voice in our head telling us to be careful, something is wrong. It is God’s wisdom, the Holy Spirit, helping us navigate through life. It is easy for us not to listen to the Holy Spirit or to ignore the Holy Spirit’s prompting, so we do need to be vigilant in keeping alert. We do that by praying, reading God’s Word, and surrounding ourselves with other Christians (harder to do now with the social distancing—and if you’re reading this in the future, you’ll remember the pandemic of 2020).
Here are some questions to wrestle with as you read this text. (1) How are you preparing so that God can shine his light through you at work, at home, in the neighborhood, at church, etc? (2) How do you recognize if someone is trying to manipulate you with the wrong message of salvation? (3) Do you find it hard to focus on the good things Jesus has done and continues to do?
I’m thankful to have David as my spiritual guide, as well as my best friend, lover, business partner, and husband. He has gotten me back on track several times, including recently. There is so much focus on the Law of Attraction in the entrepreneurial space. It’s one of those examples that sounds good. Sounds too good to be true, actually. But it seems to be changing lives. Lives on the outside. What about lives on the inside? That’s the territory I am most concerned with. Jesus is the ruler of my heart, and there is nothing material or physical that can change that, take that away, or prevent me from celebrating who I belong to.
Paul’s words are a reminder that the deceiver is among us. We need to be careful. In Matthew 24:4, “Jesus told them, “Don’t let anyone mislead you.” We can pray for discernment, for clarity, for wisdom to know the truth. Even preachers can be used by the evil one to corrupt the Gospel. They aren’t doing it on purpose. Paul says, “But I am not surprised! Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no wonder that his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness.”
Let’s pray … Lord, protect me from the deceivers in this world. Just knowing they are there is helpful yet at the same time frightening. I don’t want to be caught unaware. I don’t want to trust something that is not of you or designed for me. Help me to have clarity. Connect me to the people you want me to touch and learn from today. In Jesus’ name. Amen.