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Don't Deceive Yourself
Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. (1 Cor 3:18)
I would like you to consider something about the first sentence in the above verse. If, according to the Apostle Paul, we are not to deceive ourselves then we must realize that it is possible for us to deceive ourselves. However, if someone were to ask you if you are deceived you would say, "no!". The reason you would say no, even though you may be deceived, is because of the power of deception. Deception is simply holding something as truth when in fact it is not truth. Therefore, we deceive ourselves when we operate on wrong information thinking that it is correct information.
Understanding that, let's ask ourselves what the deception is that the Apostle Paul is referring to. The answer to this question is very simple because he tells us in the remaining portion of the verse, "If you think you are wise become a fool". While the wording in this verse may seem a bit harsh the meaning is very simple and something we fully understand.
Let me use an illustration that each one of us can understand. In the workplace we are hired to do a specific job. The reason that we are hired to do this job is because we possess some skill that enables us to do what this particular employer needs done. However, when we are hired what is the first thing we do when we show up for work? Even though we have the ability to do what needs done we ask the employer, "What do you want me to do?"
We take a position of virtually acting as though we don't know how to do it because we know the employer has a specific way of doing things. In essence, even though we have understanding we become as a fool needing direction. If we apply this back to what the Holy Spirit is speaking through Paul we can understand that even though we may know how to live in this life, we need to become dependent upon the Lord to direct us. In fact, when we think we can handle life we are deceived because only God knows what the future holds.
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It's amazing how when we learn how to do something we allow it to become routine. Even in ministering the Word of God, we can preach the Word long enough that we stop seeking the Lord for direction and start speaking out of our intellect. When we do this we lose the power of the Spirit that is supposed to guide us and bring forth supernatural results. It is a sad thing to say, but many Christians have deceived themselves thinking that what they are doing they do with God, but in reality they are really doing what they want. There is no freedom in our own strength, so we must be diligent to submit ourselves to the Word and the leading of the Spirit of God.
In the following verse we read of Samson's great deception. In this story we see the power of deception. It is amazing how Samson would tell Delilah the power of his strength after she had told him her purpose was to take his strength away. If you read Judges 16:5-17 Samson toyed with her three times telling her ways that his strength could be taken from him. Each time Delilah did exactly what he stated. It was only through deception that he would expose the source of his strength to this woman. The thing that many Christians don't realize is that Satan will use our weakness to get at our strength. The more you and I play around with that which we desire, but is not of God, the closer we will get to our destruction.
However, I would like for you to focus on these two verses found in Judges 16:
20 And she said, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he awoke out of his sleep, and said, I will go out as at other times before, and shake myself. And he wist not that the LORD was departed from him. 21 But the Philistines took him, and put out his eyes, and brought him down to Gaza, and bound him with fetters of brass; and he did grind in the prison house.
I would like you to consider a couple of points from this passage. I have emphasized the areas I want you to see. The first thing we see is that Samson stood up to do as he had always done before. This is one of the key parts of deception. We may continue in what we know without realizing that the Spirit of God has departed, which is the second emphasis. Just because you are doing what you have always done for the Lord does not mean that you are submitted to His leading. Don't deceive yourself, but always judge yourself according to the Word.
The third thing we see is that as Samson operated in this state of doing as he had always done, but not realizing the Spirit was not with him and the enemy came in and put his eyes out. Proverbs 29:18 tells us that without vision the people perish. It was in this state of blindness that Samson becomes bound by his enemy. The purpose of the devil according to John 10:10 is to kill, steal, and destroy. The enemy of your soul wants to steal your freedom and he is very sly about how he goes about getting access into your life. He is looking for that weakness where he can come in and steal your strength. Once he gets access he will get you in a place where you are doing things apart from God, which is your power, operating in the blindness of your own wisdom keeping you in a position of being bound.
Don't deceive yourself! Realize the scriptures were written for our instruction in righteousness. Don't operate above the Word of God, but submit yourself to the Word and the structure that Jesus established in this earth. It is for your protection, freedom, and abundance. God knows what He is doing so become a fool and let Him direct you.