DON'T BE DECEIVED ABOUT YOUR LIFE
1 John 1:8 says: If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
No one is sinless. Even the most confident person may fall. When we say,"I would never . . ." -- WATCH OUT!, or "That will never happen to me. . ." WATCH OUT!! None of us are so strong that we cannot be tempted and fall out of favor with God.
Self-deception is cheating oneself. When we cheat ourselves, we are willing to believe a lie. Many times we believe a lie because the truth hurts, and no one likes to be hurt. Have you ever heard advice, or even a sermon preached, and say to yourself, "Well, that is an interesting bit of advice, but of course it doesn't apply to me." or "I'm glad "so-n-so" got to hear that lesson, they needed it." Having this kind of attitude causes us to turn from the word of God. Why? (Heb. 4:12). Many times the Word makes us uncomfortable, so we want to dismiss it. We forget it is a "sword" that cuts and makes us examine our lives. Whether we rationalize, dismissing it, or whether we delude ourselves into believing a lie, we have deceived ourselves. Doing God's word is not optional!
Just because we deceive ourselves and dismiss it doesn't mean we don't need it. Gal. 6:3 For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.
We can rationalize the things we do to the point that we become ignorant of God's will. Arrogantly ignoring God's will causes us to deceive ourselves into easing our conscience and continuing in our self-deception .
When we are getting ready to go somewhere, we usually look in a mirror. The face we see there is our natural, or physical face. But, the face we see in God's mirror is our spiritual appearance (James 1: 23 - 24) -- not necessarily how we appear to others, but how we appear to God. Looking in this mirror is not always pleasant. Looking into this mirror makes us realize we must make changes in the things we do and the lives we lead. Until we see ourselves as God sees us, we'll not be what we ought to be. HOW DOES GOD SEE US?? HAVE WE DECEIVED OURSELVES?
DON'T DECEIVE YOURSELF BY HEARING ONLY
We are not only to hear, but to DO -- James 1:22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. If we don't do more than hear we cannot enter heaven (Matt. 7: 22 - 27).
We sing to our children in Bible class about the "wise man" and "foolish man" -- do we take heed to ourselves? Are we trying to build ourselves on the "rock" Jesus Christ -- or are we like the foolish man in this parable? Do we let worldly attitudes and pursuits get in the way as we build our spiritual house?
All of us HEAR sermons every Sunday. What is our attitude toward the Word preached? Is it a, "I can take it or leave it" attitude? Do we think, "Well, the preacher has to preach on that -- it is his job" -- but then we never make the personal application in our lives? Are we "HEARERS" only and not doers?
Do we leave the worship services willing to apply the Word of God to our lives and become more faithful to God, or do we, when we hear something we don't like, deceive ourselves into thinking that what was taught was "optional" or "only the preacher's or elder's opinion"? Israel had a problem of hearing only (Jer. 6:13 - 16). Israel heard God's word -- they knew God's word from the priest on down, yet they ignored God's word and didn't walk in it -- they said "we will not walk in it". Let's not be hearers only, but let us be doers. ARE WE DECEIVING OURSELVES??
DON'T BE DECEIVED BY THINKING WE CAN MOCK GOD
Some think they can sow one thing and reap another (Gal. 6:7 - 8). From the very beginning of time, man has had to learn about the harvest he reaped from what he sowed. He was told not to eat the fruit in the midst of the garden (Gen. 3:3,23,24).
Many times men deceive themselves into thinking that because they can mock or hide from men that they can mock and hide from God as well. Do we deceive ourselves into thinking that because we've "crossed all the T's and dotted all the I's" we will be saved? "Well -- I attend all the services of the church." -- "I give of my money." -- "I help others when they need help."-- But, do we have BAD ATTITUDES towards our brethren? What does Jesus say about our worship when we do? Matt. 5: 23 - 24 tells us that we'd better straighten up any problems we have with others if we want our worship to be acceptable to God.
Do we live a WORLDLY, SINFUL LIFE AWAY FROM THE SERVICES of the church? Do we engage in immodest dress, use vulgar, off-color language, social drinking, playing the lottery, dancing? Have we deceived ourselves into thinking we can "mock God"? Are we a "religious" but not a "righteous" people? Have we deceived ourselves?? The Jews did and Jesus told them they had (Matt. 23:25 - 26). God is not mocked. There are a lot of folks who look like Christians on Sunday, but do not act so during the week. ARE WE DECEIVING OURSELVES?
DON'T BE DECEIVED BY SIN
Satan makes SIN look pretty and appealing. Sin is enjoyable or there would not be so many sinners, would there? Sometimes I think we forget to teach our children this. If sin did not look appealing, would we want to do it? Even Moses realized there was pleasure in sin for a little while (Heb. 11:24 - 26).
We tend to want to clean up sin and make it respectable -- "Well, it's not so bad." -- But what does God think?
All of us need to remember that Sin brings death: Rom_6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. We can deceive ourselves into thinking that Sin will bring us happiness -- but it only brings sorrow and death. How many of us have seen the following things??
- A married person who commits adultery, thinking it will bring them happiness. But, it only brings the sorrow of distrust, a broken home, lying, poverty, etc.
- A young person who gets involved in drinking or drugs. But their sin leads to addiction, loss of health, wealth, reputation, other sins such as fornication, sorrowful parents, prison, and sometimes death.
- Wrong attitudes are sinful -- they lead to bad feeling between ourselves and others. They can cause lost reputations and the ruin of good names.
- We can deceive ourselves into thinking, "my sin only affects me" -- but sin affects everyone -- one's family, the church, the Lord.
ARE WE DECEIVING OURSELVES??
DON'T BE DECEIVED BY RICHES
Materialism has probably hurt the Lord's church in the last 30 years more than anything else. Riches, and the gain of them.
We live in a rich society. All of us have more than most people living in other parts of the world. Riches have given us the ability to have more material things. The ability to travel more. Do we let our riches and the pursuit of them make us weaker spiritually?? Do our riches tempt us to lavish things upon ourselves, when perhaps we have brothers and sisters in Christ who need our help?
Do we use our riches for extended trips and vacations to have a good time, with nary a thought of how our extended time away hurts the local church, or do we deceive ourselves into thinking the Lord's church can get along without me, my time and talents? I Cor. 12:14 - 27 tells us that Members of the Lord's church need one another. When we are so busy "having a good time" and lavishing our riches on ourselves, many times the Lord's work suffers, and it is discouraging to the Lord's work. We live in a day and age when having a good time is important to many people. However, that is not what we are put here on earth for.
Riches can deceive us into thinking we don't need God. (I Tim. 6:17; I Tim. 6:9). Our hope is to be set on God. Riches can be lost. In eternity it will not matter if our bank account was full or our 401K loaded, it will not matter if we got to travel and see an assortment of places in this world, BUT it will matter whether we served God AND put His Kingdom FIRST. Riches can cause us to lose our soul if we are not careful, and we don't have to have a lot of riches to be deceived by them.
ARE WE DECEIVING OURSELVES??
DON'T BE DECEIVED BY FALSE DOCTRINE
I heard Sister Sandra Waldron say one time that there is hardly a page of the New Testament that does not deal with some kind of false doctrine. I believe she was right!
We can be deceived by false doctrine when we are not grounded in the truth. When we are grounded in Truth, things that are false, or things that lead in the wrong direction, will have an "uncertain sound". We will recognize false doctrine if we're grounded.
How do we become grounded in Truth? By good old-fashioned study: 2 Tim. 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
Do we deceive ourselves into thinking we don't need to study? Do we say, "My husband knows all that. . .", -- but you can't get to heaven on your husband's coat tails! Do we say, "I can ask my preacher that. . .", or " The elders are watching out for that. . . "
What does the Lord say? 1Pet. 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
We'll all give an answer for what we know or don't know. When we don't know God's word we are "ripe picking" for those who would teach false doctrine. When we know God's word we will recognize that "uncertain sound" or false doctrine.
Knowing whether you've heard false doctrine or not can be the difference in being carried away by it or being able to refute it.
HAVE WE DECEIVED OURSELVES???