Self-deception is an Evil Master

by Lee Buford on March 8, 2012

For most of us our biggest opportunity for failure lies within ourselves. Actually not for most of us…for all of us! Even as Christians, our sinful hearts are subject daily to the very depravity in which we were born, and our only hope for being more “Christ-like” is Jesus Christ Himself.

Our efforts to “fix” things will always fall short. Our relationships will always be tattered by sin and pride. And our constant desire to remain “above it all” will always lead to our own self-denial and deception…a blinding reality that ultimately leads to destruction and despair.

Hence, a word of caution…for you and for me. For all of us.

God’s Word tells us that we will know those who are followers of Christ by their fruit. Talk is cheap, and we all know those who talk a good game. But even the Pharisees did that. The question(s), then, is this:

Do your daily actions, your life, your testimony, and your witness align with those of one walks with Christ? Can others see your humble obedience to the Word of God, in all areas of your life, and not just the ones that “fit” your current lifestyle or needs?

In other words, are you walking the talk? Or are you just talking?

Read Luke 8:11-15. Do a simple search for fruit or deception in the Scriptures. Take heed. This is a serious matter not to be neglected. And, whatever you do, “Bear fruit in keeping with repentance” (Matthew 3:8).

It’s a weighty consideration…but a necessary one. If your life is not producing, reflecting, and revealing the fruit of a disciple of Christ, you’ve got some serious searching and self-examination to do. If your rear-view mirror is filled with relational wreckage, sin, and carnage, you’ve got some repenting to do…some forgiveness and reconciliation to seek.

Do NOT neglect to note that God’s grace is sufficient for any and all of our sins. He is faithful to forgive. But that forgiveness comes with some expectations…some things God tells us to go do. Asking Him for forgiveness is only part of the deal. A true understanding of the grace by which we’ve been forgiven should (MUST) produce a desire on our part to obediently forgive and reconcile with others. If not, we must question our genuine understanding of repentance and our acceptance of God’s grace in our own lives. It’s not an “either/or” equation…it’s “both/and”.

Self-deception is an evil master. Fight against it daily by the power of the Holy Spirit. Pray. Spend time in the Word. Beg God to show you your own heart and how He would be pleased to work in and through you to help you in these areas. And, whatever you do, do NOT avoid the genuine love, concern, and even admonishment of fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. The ability to live out God’s grace in the community of other believers is a blessing to be treasured, a gift from God to aide in our journey as disciples.

Don’t fall into the trap of self-deception. God is not “leading” you anywhere that allows or affords you the opportunity to avoid the conflict of dealing with your own sin. He’s not “leading” you to another church, another set of friends, another relationship, or another job so that you can get a “fresh start” without FIRST dealing with your own sin and baggage from your past.

That’s not God “leading” you and it’s not God you’re “hearing”. It’s your own sinful heart and desire to avoid conflict by pretending to be somebody you’re not. It’s not discernment…it’s deception, and it’s not biblical or pleasing to God.

Most importantly, it’s not who God designed you to be.

Seek Him in these matters. Repent and ask for His forgiveness. Ask Him to reveal the sin of your heart. Ask Him to show you how to forgive, to ask others for forgiveness, and how to reconcile relationships in a manner that pleases and glorifies Him. But don’t be deceived. If what you think He’s telling you doesn’t match up with His Word, it’s not Him telling you what you’re hearing. And it’s not His desire for your life.

Through it all, by His grace and mercy, we can put the self-deception behind us and forge ahead as fruit-bearing disciples of Christ. In this we find joy. In this He is glorified.


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