The Bible tells us we have an enemy who seeks to devour. We know he seeks to steal our peace and joy, but he also seeks to rob us of truth. The apostle Paul told us to not be ignorant of the devil’s devices. Ignorance is the opposite of knowledge. If we lack knowledge, or discernment, or the ability to rightly divide the Word of God, we may very well give the enemy the ability to take advantage of us. Whether we know it or not, we are in a spiritual war! One of the biggest battles we find ourselves in today is the war against truth. Jesus is TRUTH. He told His disciples that one of the functions of the Holy Spirit is to bring us into all truth (John 14:26).
Many today have an intense desire and hunger for what is real and true, but it takes a real gift of discernment to distinquish between what is real and what is counterfeit. The enemy attempts to counterfeit everything that is of God. We want to believe the best of everyone, but we must also remember that there are “tares” among the wheat – tares that have been planted by the enemy himself. Deception often springs up from within, rather than from without. There are two spiritual realms in operation, often side by side. God’s power is greater, but if believers are not discerning properly, the enemy can deceive them.
Jesus said in Matthew 24:24, “For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, the elect.”
2 Thessalonians 2:9-13 tells us:
“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. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness…God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth.”
In the verse above, Paul is saying because they did not love the truth, they were easily deceived, and God Himself sent the delusion. If it were not possible to be deceived, Paul would not have mentioned it! The words, “Do not be deceived” are written for our admonishment all throughout the New Testament.
In order to survive the age of apostasy that has befallen the church, we must be like the Bereans and test all things. We must love and pursue the truth with all our hearts!
We all want to know the truth, but can we handle the truth…especially if it doesn’t line up with what we already believe? Much of the so-called truth out there today in the Christian church is actually a dangerous mixture. Even cults have some truth—whether 50%, 70%, or perhaps 90%. That is how the enemy is able to deceive—because error often comes in on a “vehicle of truth.” If what we hear was all lies anyone could easily recognize it for what it really is.
First John 4:6 talks about the spirit of error versus the Spirit of Truth. The Spirit of Truth is obviously the Holy Spirit. But what is a spirit of error? It is a demonic influence that is purposely designed to deceive, or take us in the wrong direction, away from the truth of God. Many sincere individuals with good, noble intentions have been misled, and in turn, have misled others. It is often a counterfeit that looks and sounds like the real thing, until one digs a little deeper. Most often believers fall for the error because they are not familiar with or well-grounded in the truth in God’s Word. History is replete with examples of error trying to creep into the church.
A spirit of error might tell us an outright lie, or it might be a lie with some truth mixed in. It might be a distortion (or twisting) of the truth, or it might be a half-truth (a withholding of that which would bring complete understanding). Any or all of those can take a person in the wrong direction. But if we desire pure truth, we will not so readily fall for error. It is the truth that makes us strong! It is the truth that keeps us from all forms of deception! It is the truth that sets us free! The first thing we are told to do in putting on our armor (in Ephesians 6:14) is to gird our waist with truth! Even our faith falls apart if we are not hanging our hat on solid truth.
Did you know that when the serpent told Eve a lie ( in the garden of Eden), there was some truth mixed in? Picture this: In an absolutely perfect environment, in a world where there was no sin and no curse, Eve (an absolutely flawless, glorified person) was seduced by the arch enemy of God—by a lie which came in on a vehicle of truth! That means deception could happen to any of us if we are not on guard all the time. It was very subtle, yet quite effective. We all know the rest of the story and the world is still suffering the devastating consequences of that one lie.
2 Thessalonians declares, “Let no one deceive you by any means.” There are those who are (whether intentional or not) deceived and deceiving others. 2 Timothy 4:3-4 makes it clear what is happening today: “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth.” The Message Bible puts it like this: “You’re going to find that there will be times when people will have no stomach for solid teaching, but will fill up on spiritual junk food—catchy opinions that tickle their fancy. They’ll turn their backs on truth and chase mirages.” A mirage is defined as “something that falsely appears to be real.”
Today, more than any previous time, it is important for us to know the truth and to use the discernment given to us by the Holy Spirit. Our very spiritual life may depend on it. If we lack truth, we should read the Bible and ask the Holy Spirit to guide us and teach us all truth. We should also be willing to lay aside anything and everything that we may have been taught that does not line up with the whole truth.
Our personal life, or our ministry, can be shipwrecked if we lack discernment, or fail to act on what that still small voice is telling us. He may give us a check in our spirit, but if we ignore Him and move forward anyway, we may very well pay the consequences. Ask the Spirit of Truth to bring you into all truth—that truth which will remove the obstacle of error, the stupor of delusion, and the veil of deception. Allow God to bring all things, all events, all circumstances and situations into His clear perspective. We are in a place in history where we have never been before and those things going on in our world today must be viewed through God’s lenses in order to be rightly perceived!