In my last article, I named the primary weapon of Satan: deception. The devil’s motive is to destroy, and his method is to deceive. He uses trickery, lies, and all manner of deceptive tactics to try to lure us into his traps.
How can we be armed against the enemy’s deception? Below are what I believe are two of the most important keys for overcoming deception.
1. Cultivating a love of the truth
2 Thessalonians 2:9-10 gives us this warning about an anti-Christ figure:
“The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.”
The picture is of a man walking in great supernatural power, with signs and wonders. But he is not empowered by the Holy Spirit; he is empowered by the demonic. The passage goes on to say that many will be deceived “because they did not receive the love of the truth.”
Some people read passages like this and think that the answer is to avoid the supernatural altogether. After all, if we avoid the supernatural, won’t we escape being deceived by lying wonders? This type of thinking is founded too heavily on a fear of deception. Fear of deception does not protect us from deception; love of the truth does. We must not throw out the supernatural altogether; we need to see the true power of God and gifts of the Holy Spirit at work to swallow up the false!
To overcome deception, we must cultivate a love for the truth. We must be grounded in the truth of Scripture, and we must not be willing to compromise truth out of convenience or cultural pressures. We must abide in Christ, who is the Truth and be led by the Holy Spirit who is called the Spirit of Truth. As we learn to know and love the truth, we will be able to recognize deception for what it is.
2. Developing godly discernment
The second key for overcoming deception is to develop in the area of discernment. We must be able to judge between what is from the Lord and what is not. We must be able to discern when there is a mixture of truth and lies. We need to be able to recognize when the enemy is trying at work in subtle ways.
One of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is called “discerning of spirits” and this gift is critical to the body of Christ at this time (see 1 Corinthians 12:10). This gift helps to expose the work of evil spirits, and gives us insight into the spiritual realm. The Bible also talks about developing discernment over time:
“But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”
We must learn to cultivate this kind of discernment. As we do, the deceptions of the enemy will not be able to pull us away. As we stay close to our Shepherd, cultivate the love of the truth, and develop a godly discernment, the enemy’s deceptions will have no place in our lives!