The art of deception is this…to make someone believe things are other than they are, so a person will do something he or she would never otherwise do. I read this sentence from an incredible book entitled, “The Enemy Within” by Kurt Lungaard. The chapter discussed how our sin nature can deceive us sometimes by making us believe things that are not true. When I read the above definition the words jumped off the page and hit me square between the eyes.
If we look at this definition from the viewpoint of deception it makes sense. But now reread the words above with the viewpoint of faith. The two could share the same definition.
The enemy rarely tempts us with the exact opposite of God’s Word. No. He brings us similarities…with a twist. Those similarities can deceive us into thinking things are other than they are so we do things we would never otherwise do.
Faith is the same. There are all kinds of examples in the Bible I could insert here, but let me tell you about a few of my friends. Shana was diagnosed with one of the top five worst cases of meningitis the doctor had ever seen. I know this because I was standing in the room when he told me and her husband, Larry. I saw this husband fall to the floor on his knees immediately and pray healing like I’ve never heard before. Larry knew at that moment things were other than they were and was doing something he would never otherwise do. I can guarantee you Larry didn’t know he had that amount of faith in him until faced with this life or death situation. He was not deceived into thinking she was defeated and sickness had won. He KNEW Jesus stripes had already taken care of his wife’s healing so he was activating a faith he didn’t know existed. He was able to do that because he had cultivated that faith long before the negative circumstance came. Within two weeks Shana was home; healed and healthy.
We could also talk about my friend YvRose who was a successful teacher in North Carolina. That is until God called her to go back to her homeland of Haiti. So she and her husband, with nothing but a call from God, quit her job and moved back to Haiti. She knew there was purpose in this decision. I’m sure leaving the confines of a good salary, an honorable job, and an easy country, to go to a place many are too frightened to even visit, did not make sense to her family and friends. But she knew the voice of faith over deception. She believed things were other than they were and the faith in that knowing made her do something she would never otherwise do. Today she and her husband Pierre run a home with 28 of the most beautiful kids you have ever seen. She also runs a school with more than 200 children who come every day for a Christian education they would have never received had Pierre and YvRose believed deception over faith. (insert big cheesy smile here!)
How about my friend Tracy, (name used with permission) who had an abortion more than two decades ago. Through the years she allowed the abortion regret and pain to make her believe things were other than they were. After living with this deception she found herself in her 40’s with a shell of a marriage, battling depression, having suicidal thoughts, and many problems in her family. She contacted SaveOne and came clean about the past. She wanted to voice her regret and seek a better future. She worked through the SaveOne study and began to see the reality of what happened to her when she opened the door of death in her life through abortion. She had been greatly deceived, but now realized the truth of the past. She began to believe things were other than they were. She began to believe God could salvage her marriage. She began to believe God could heal the relationships with her family. She began to believe she could be brave enough to tell others about her past so they would never make the same mistake. And after years of believing nothing but rejection would come her way if she ever told of her abortion, she began to believe things were other than they were, and it made her do something she would never otherwise do. Not only has God restored her marriage to better-than-it-has-ever-been status, but she told her family of the abortion and the truth healed the relationships. To top it off, I sat in a living room the other night and watched her tell her entire abortion story to a room packed with her closest friends.
You see, faith brings about much greater outcomes than deception. Where we come in, is the moment when we have to decide if we have deception or faith talking to us, and in which we are going to listen and put our trust.
That’s what David had to do long ago. He had to face the giant believing the situation was something other than it was, and by doing this he performed an act he would never otherwise do. There was no way he should have won that battle. But his faith told him something entirely different. Because of his great faith in the Lord he experienced great victory…and because of your great faith in the Lord you can experience great victory.
Faith for some reason is controversial. People want to make it something it’s not. I’ve been criticized for believing this way by people who want to shout that I’m preaching a prosperity gospel, or that I’m believing in some kind of humanistic, new age religion. But there are many, many scriptures, as well as examples from Jesus which teach us that what we believe we will receive. If we believe deception then we will receive the death and destruction that comes along with that type of deception. If we believe in faith that God has our back, has our life under control, will guide us in all things, will make every problem work for our good, and has already taken care of our healing, then our problems have purpose, and we will receive the victory in every circumstance. If you don’t believe me then read these; Mark 11:24, Matthew 8:13, Romans 8:28, 1 Samuel 17, Hebrews 11:1, actually, read the entire chapter of Hebrews 11 because it shows a list of brave men and women who believed something was other than it was and completed incredible feats they would have never otherwise completed.
Take some time today to do a self-check. Are you cultivating your faith? Are you ready for when, not if, destruction hits your life? Are you equipping yourself and your family to stand in the face of deception and act in faith? Be honest with yourself and then take the necessary steps to start on the path of cultivating that faith today. This process is imperative to being able to distinguish between the two.
Don’t get caught in a battle you are not equipped to fight!