The (real) antidote to deception

I’ve said many times now, one of the reasons we need to train our souls for rest is because if we don’t, we end up running on the hamster wheel of trying to attain things we’ve already been given as a free gift. We empower the lies we still believe that keep us from knowing who we really are. We end up only imitating the life of Christ instead of actually living from it.

We end up seeking God’s works instead of knowing His ways. This is a very burdensome way to live. And it comes from eating from the wrong Tree, as Paul points out to the Corinthians:

But now I’m afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s clever lies, your thoughts may be corrupted and you may lose your single-hearted devotion and pure love for Christ. (2 Cor.11:3 TPT)

Paul makes an interesting connection here between what’s going on with the church at Corinth and Eve’s deception. Eve believed the lie that she had to attain something God had already given her. Here’s what the Serpent said:

“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Gen.3:4 NIV*)

The sad irony is, Eve’s eyes became blinded to God and who she really was when she ate the fruit. She and Adam hid from God because they had painted His face with the Serpent’s brush. They could not see that they were already like God (Gen.1:26-28). They chose to strive to imitate God apart from His love.

This is the same problem the Corinthians had. They were eating from the same Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Their vision became myopic and their judgment became judgmental because it came from within them instead of from Christ.

And, just as sad, this may be true for many blood-bought believers today. Their “thoughts may be corrupted and you may lose your single-hearted devotion and pure love for Christ.”

This is the problem when we prioritize other things, making them more important than remaining in God’s love. We’re still trying to imitate the life of Christ apart from Him, thus we end up eating from the wrong Tree.

But all of our doing must proceed from our being, not the other way around.

As I said in “Training Your Soul to Live from Heaven to Earth,” when we “set the Lord continually” before us, we will begin to see everything through His eyes and think and act like Him. We become fruitful because He is training us and providing for whatever He is calling us to do.

It’s a place of rest instead of striving.

We’re not trying to be like Christ, we’re incarnating His life from within.

Many Christians today seem to fear being deceived by false teachers. But remaining in God’s love is the only real antidote to deception, not by trying to figure out who all the heretics are. Most self-appointed watchdogs I’ve seen are simply demonizing doctrinal distinctions they don’t agree with. Some have prodigious educational stature and popularity so we just take their word for it instead of finding out for ourselves if these things are true.

But all of this is just another tiresome hamster wheel that distracts us from keeping the main thing the main thing.

The biggest deception ever conceived is trying to live for Christ without remaining in His love. Remember, these are Jesus’ words:

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. (John 15:5, 9, 10 NIV*)

It’s His perfecting love that casts out all our religious fear (see 1 John 4:17-18), and when we’re perfected in His love, we won’t be deceived because anything being offered to us is a weak counterfeit to what we already have. But we will never know this apart from “participating in the divine nature” (2 Pet.1:4).

Deception has power when we don’t know who we are in Christ. We don’t know who we are in Christ when we have no experiential knowledge of Him. Without this knowledge, lies have power over us because truth is relational, not intellectual. All revelation knowledge comes through the heart before the head. It’s with the heart that one believes and is justified (Rom.10:10).

Just like you couldn’t deceive me about my wife’s character and heart after living with her and loving her for 40 years, the accuser cannot bring God’s character and love into question when you have such relational knowledge. We know the truth by knowing Christ (not just knowing about Him)—knowing His heart and His character through communion with Him in His love.

When we know the truth through this relationship, there’s nothing the accuser can offer us because we already have the Kingdom (Luke 12:31-32).

* All emphasis added.

About Mel Wild

God's favorite (and so are you), a son and a father, happily married to the same beautiful woman for 41 years. We have three incredible adult children. My passion is pursuing the Father's heart in Christ and giving it away to others. My favorite pastime is being iconoclastic and trailblazing the depths of God's grace. I'm also senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in Wisconsin.
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4 Responses to The (real) antidote to deception

  1. Well done, Mel. There is a lot of fear of false teachers these days, especially in the blogging world. “Discernment ministries,” abound. Ai yi yi.

    There’s a bunch of us who grew up reading CS Lewis, especially his Narnia tales, who developed this kind of instinctual knowing of who God is partially through those stories. Rather than “What Would Jesus Do,” we’re always asking, “is that my Aslan?” Or, “That’s Not My Aslan!” It was really fun to go on the internet and discover all these other people not worried about being deceived at all because we have a good feel for His character, His essence, one born partially from an imaginary tale, but one that taught us a few things about how to get to know the character of God. We’ll never know Him fully, but much like husbands and wives know one another as you’ve said, there’s enough familiarity there to recognize what is from Jesus and what is likely not.

    Nobody likes to hear this so I try not to say it to any genuine victims, but we actually cannot be deceived without our permission and consent, at least not for long.

    • Mel Wild says:

      Good points on fear and deception. It is about knowing His nature and character from personal intimate knowledge. Deception only comes when we’re not engaged in the relationship. This is why “remaining in His love” is critically important and the very core of our life in Christ.

      Another problem with fearing so much is that it actually leads to deception! Fear keeps your higher brain function from working properly. You’re always in the most primitive fight-or-flight mode. You won’t become vulnerable enough to open your heart fully with God. Trust and growing in the knowledge of God go together. Without trust, you’re not going to let God in past the walls you’ve erected, so you’re not going to learn about His nature and character firsthand. And this makes us susceptible to deception because we have no firsthand knowledge. So, to quote Job, the very thing I feared has come upon me!

  2. Great points and great exchange between you and insanitybytes22. Continual upgrades in our foundational core beliefs. 👍👍

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