A Storm is ComingWhen natural storms come, the wicked prey on the helpless. Scams and price gouging are common themes in every disaster. The chaos gives opportunity for the strong to take advantage of the weak.

The spiritual storm that lays on our horizon, and the chaos it will bring, will give the same opportunity to our enemies. They will fight us tooth and nail to keep the knowledge of God hidden from His children and the world. The agents of deception are all around us.

So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. Revelation 12:9

And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you.” Matthew 24:4

If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless. James 1:26

So let’s take an eyes-open and honest inventory of the deceptors in our lives: Satan, the world, and even our own minds are potential sources of deception. Of course, this is true in every minute of every hour of every day in a Christian’s life. We don’t always notice; for that is the nature of deception – it is… well, deceptive.

The thing about storms is they tend to intensify the opportunity for deception; particularly if the storm we see approaching is a part of the end-of-days tribulations that will usher in the Day of the Lord, and “The Tribulation”. Jesus, Paul and Peter warned of such things.

And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you.  For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved. Matthew 24:4-5, 11-13

Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition… 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. 2Thessalonians 2:3, 9-12

But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction.  And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed.  By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber. 2Peter 2:1-3

Two things of note: First, both Jesus and Peter warn that many will be deceived. It will help your understanding to stop and consider what “many” means. Is it six out of ten? Eight out of ten? Whatever you decide, I bet its more than you thought possible.

Second, don’t be deceived to think that the deception is reserved for those outside of your church fellowship. In fact, careful reading will reveal that the deception spoken of in each of these passages is the deception of church “members”. For example, the falling away in 2Thessalonians is a falling away from the faith (you have to be in something to fall away from it). So, please don’t be naïve about the deceptions that have already come upon the church; and will intensify in the soon coming days.

Now, with all this in mind, it is important to note that storms are not all bad. They are also a great opportunity for God to show Himself strong and faithful. Furthermore, He often uses the storms in our lives to reveal the deceptions that have come against us. However, while this is a good example of God working all things to our good, it is not the optimum situation.

Better to discover and deal with the deception before the storm hits; for then, we are positioned to be a refuge and guide for others – an instrument for their salvation, sanctification and transformation.

God’s Way for Our Protection

Rather than call out the deceptions (there really are too many to list), I want to suggest a way to avoid deception, no matter its source or subtlety. I believe it is God’s way for our protection in the storm.

  1. Ask the LORD to search your heart (Psalm 139:23-24). Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the deception that is hidden; and convict you of the deception you are entertaining out of fleshly desire and convenience. Do this with a humble expectation that He will reveal area(s) of deception in your life.
  2. Confess your sin; with faith that He will deliver you (1John 1:9). In many cases, this may be an iterative process; the process of sanctification.
  3. Recognize your weakness of mind and your conformance to the thoughts and ways of the world (Romans 12:2). Allow the Holy Spirit to transform you by the renewing of your mind. Check out Map 3 – Renewing the Mind for more on this topic.
  4. Let the mind of Christ be in you (Philippians 2:5). “Let” is a small, but significant word here. 1Corinthians 2:16 encourages us that we have the mind of Christ. We must allow His mind to invade our being. There are choices we must make. This is related to numbers 2 and 3.
  5. Receive the love of the truth (2Thessalonians 2:10). This love (unconditional and sacrificial) has been given; we have only to receive it. How do we do that? We receive a love for the truth by spending time with it (the word of God); and with Jesus, the Truth.
  6. Find the fellowship that God has reserved for you (Ephesians 4:11-16). God will use the fellowship of believers to build you up in the knowledge and faith of Jesus Christ, and protect you from “the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting”.
  7. Share the truth with others (2Timothy 2:2). Live it out in community. Encourage the brethren to receive the love of the truth; and share it with others. This is God’s way for making disciples.

Deception is a chief weapon of our enemies; but it is easily overcome. We have been given all that we need for life and godliness. Lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus laid hold of you. Let me know how I can help.

Humbly yours and forever His,