If I were the enemy and my goal was to deceive, I would do it slowly, gradually, consistently, and…
If I were the enemy and my goal was to deceive, I would do it slowly, gradually, consistently, and…
Tricking. Dumbing down. Numbing. Brainwashing. Seducing. Manipulating. Deceiving.
A few of the words I think of when I see most advertising, entertainment, and media of any kind.
If I were the enemy and my goal was to deceive, I’d trick your eyes into not seeing what is obvious; scramble and repeat sounds until you felt like you’d thought and said them yourself; use your own ideas and desires as bait to hook you (James 1:14-15); offer alternatives to what is most beneficial (2 Thes 2.9-11); and I’d repeat daily until the days added up to years, the years up to a lifetime.
If I were the enemy and my goal was to deceive, I would do it slowly, gradually, consistently, and by socially accepted methods. I would present the bad in wrapping called “good”. “Needed”. “Productive”. “Healthy”. “Natural”. “Practical”. “Progress”. “Perfect”. “Love”.
I would paint it in a smile. A laugh. In money. With beauty.
I would deliver it through the popular. Wealthy. Sexy. Likeable. Talented. Powerful. Through your own desires.
The only influence satan has over mankind is deception.
When we are saved/rescued/delivered by Jesus, we receive a whole, complete, restored, and healed spirit. But our souls—our mind, will, and emotions—must be changed, transformed, renewed, in order to properly hear, understand, and adapt to our born anew inner persons.
If I were the enemy, I would carry out a strategic attack against your soul by attempting to make you doubt your new spiritual experience, relationship, and biblical truths, with alternatives and previously-held beliefs that would feed your doubts and unregenerate mind. Then I’d call my rationale truth…logic. I’d give you small, individual, domestic, and corporate doses of twisted reasoning until my deceit was a drug you so craved, I could leave you to inject it yourself.
Part of deception is about the slow, manipulative way the enemy seduces people, including Christians, into normalizing what isn’t normal. Just because it’s legal, or familiar, easily accessible, free, popular, bathed in passion, or supported by the majority, doesn’t necessarily make it normal in God’s eyes. If you’re old enough to see the pattern: common doesn’t usually equal holy.
So I challenge myself and you to mute, turn off, and cast down sounds, conversations, visuals, temptations, things and thoughts that take on and adapt to the world’s standards (2 Cor 10:5).
After all, the world’s standards have lowered greatly over time—so slowly that it’s often not noticed: supposedly, one of the definitions of destruction is to decay slowly over time. Slow decay over time leads to death. Within that slow decay, there is built-in deception—deception because one has to be deceived to not see the decay, and somehow call death “life”. We see life until it’s dead, and then we’re surprised by the results.
Most of us think we’ll know if we’re deceived but deception isn’t deception if it’s noticed.
If I were the enemy—the god of thievery, death, and destruction—I would over-feed your lusts and desires, hopes and dreams, with a tinge of “world”. After you adapt and call it good, I, who hate you, would have already convinced you that I’m
god, and demand your praise for killing you.
Then, I’d laugh while you blamed God for your hell.
The enemy is such an expert craftsman of slowly decaying situations that we end up
celebrating the dying process and thanking him for it. So…
1. KNOW GOD & HIS WAYS
Purpose to know God (Ps 63:1-8), study His Word, and grow in discernment. Discernment is by the Holy Spirit. There are natural things we can perceive and knowledge we can and should obtain, but The Holy Spirit is always right. He is The Spirit of Truth—our Helper, Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor, Counselor, Strengthener, and Standby (John 14:16-17, 15:26, 16:13, 1 John 4:6). And the Word of God is alive, active, piercing, exposing, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart (Heb 4:12). Natural and spiritual deceivers are so skilled at deception that we need God’s help to show us things to come, to warn us, to reveal good from evil, lies from truth, and then to give us understanding and wisdom on what to do once we’re shown what is happening.
2. LEARN THE ENEMY’S METHODOLOGIES
The enemy is called the god of this world, but we are not of his or this world (1 John 4:4). His main goal is to blind the minds of unbelievers [that they should not discern the truth], preventing them from seeing the illuminating light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ (2 Cor 4:4); and to distract and tempt believers (1 Cor 7:35, Mk 4:19, Luke 8:7, 1 Cor 10:13). We are instructed not to be ignorant of his schemes (2 Cor 2:11).
Remember, the enemy only comes to do the following three things. All evil is under at least one of these three umbrellas. Don’t get so numb (to his tactics) that you become dumb (to his tactics); learn to recognize his purpose, process, and fruit (Eph 6:11, John 10:10):
Even though we’re spiritual beings, we tend to forget that our struggle is not against flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of the [present] darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) places. (Eph 6:12 AMP)
There is no level of evil that you can imagine that he hasn’t and isn’t doing, so please do not underestimate the depths of his wickedness or how he would attempt to entrap you.
Despite his power, all authority in heaven and earth is The Lords (Mat 28:18). As sons/daughters/ambassadors/representatives/disciples, the enemy is under our feet by the authority of The Lord and His Name (Mk 3:15, Luke10:19, James 4:7, Eph 6:11, Mk 16:17…). How amazing is that?!
3. CHANGE YOUR MIND
Another way to discern is made plain here: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing [by examination and proving] you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Rom 12:2 ESV)
If our spirits are rescued but our minds remain the same, how will we escape behaving like the world—like our own enemy? How will our minds interpret what The Holy Spirit is saying to our spirits?
I’m convinced that one of the reasons there are so many Christians in sin or bound to go back to it is because there isn’t consistent effort being applied to renewing our ways of thinking, choosing, and feeling with and by the Word of God (2 Cor 4:4).
We have to gain understanding by spirit and by knowledge. The more we know The Lord and The Word, the greater our discernment.
It’s also imperative to know God and His Word—good from evil—so that we can destroy and refute arguments, theories, reasonings, and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and lead every thought and purpose away captive to the obedience of Christ. (2 Cor 10:5 AMPC) We can’t destroy those things if we don’t know those things.
We have got to train ourselves to not live according to the flesh or set our minds on the things of the flesh [our sensuous nature/cravings], but to live according to the spirit by setting our minds on the things of the Spirit (Rom 8:4-14); because this life is temporary, but the things of the spirit, are eternal (2 Cor 4:18).
4. BE VIGILANT
Don’t lose your focus and reason for being here, in this temporary body, in this temporary place. You were born for this time. Exercise your flesh and mind to stay alert and self-controlled: be sober [well balanced and self-disciplined], be alert and cautious at all times. That enemy of yours, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion [fiercely hungry], seeking someone to devour. (1 Pet 5:8 AMP)
The main point here is yes, know your enemy, but most and best of all, know Jesus.
…that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which He has called you, what are the riches of His glorious inheritance in you, and what is the immeasurable greatness of His power toward you who believe, according to the working of His great might that He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. (Eph 1:17-23). I do not ask that You take them out of the world, but that You keep them and protect them from the evil one. (John 17:15).
Note: please always study these topics and scriptures for yourself and in context.
I pray that you would be filled with wisdom and spiritual understanding (spiritual and mental intelligence combined) and increase in the correct knowledge of God. / Col 1:9-10
The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. / 1 Cor 2:14-15 ESV
In Him all the treasures of [divine] wisdom (comprehensive insight into the ways and purposes of God) and [all the riches of spiritual] knowledge and enlightenment are stored up and lie hidden. I say this in order that no one may mislead and delude you by plausible and persuasive and attractive arguments and beguiling speech. / Col 2:3-4 AMPC
But the [Holy] Spirit distinctly and expressly declares that in latter times some will turn away from the faith, giving attention to deluding and seducing spirits and doctrines that demons teach… / 1 Tim 3:1 AMPC
What harmony can there be between Christ and Belial [the devil]? Or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? What agreement [can there be between] a temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God; even as God said, I will dwell in and with and among them and will walk in and with and among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. So, come out from among [unbelievers], and separate (sever) yourselves from them, says the Lord, and touch not [any] unclean thing; then I will receive you kindly and treat you with favor… / 2 Cor 6:15-17
…the god of this world has blinded [blunted their mental discernment – darkened unbelievers’ minds, their mental perception, thoughts] – because he fears the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, Who is the image of God, will shine on and be known by them… / 2 Cor 4:4
Jesus answered them, Be careful that no one misleads you [deceiving you and leading you into error]. / Mat 24.4
For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, / 2 Tim 4:3 ESV
For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming. The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. / 2 Thes 2:7-12 ESV
…wicked men and imposters will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and leading astray others and being deceived and led astray themselves. But as for you, continue to hold to the things that you have learned and of which you are convinced… / 2 Tim 3:13-14
…beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. / 2 Pet 3:17
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world. You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them. We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error. / 1 John 4:6
If you forgive anyone anything, I too forgive that one; and what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sakes in the presence [and with the approval] of Christ (the Messiah), To keep Satan from getting the advantage over us; for we are not ignorant of his wiles and intentions. / 2 Cor 2:10-11 AMPC