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It is altogether possible to practice deceit upon our own souls and go deceived into judgment.”  A. W. Tozer

I recently read an essay written by a person who suggests that “a higher litmus for truth is no longer the written scripture, but our own internal resonance and calibration.”  He asserts that “scripture is only valid if it passes the heart and reason test.”  His own reasoning being that God now lives within man and speaks to his heart, therefore there is no longer any need for man to consult God’s word.  He concedes that much of the Bible does align with his personal “knowing,” but that many places no longer do, and he feels no fear in “rejecting them.”  In response to an issue in which he does not agree with the word of God, he says, ‘”I just simply and confidently say, “the Bible is wrong on this.”‘ This  is my response to that reasoning:  Following the resonance (voice) and calibration (determination) of our own heart, while rejecting the word of God, leaves us open to being led by the deceitfulness of our own heart.  The reasoning of man will never make void the word of God.  There will never be an issue where we can, “simply and confidently say, the Bible is wrong on this,” because my inner voice and reasoning tells me so.  If we believe otherwise, we deceive ourselves.

No one likes to be deceived by another person, but being deceived by someone else is not nearly as harmful as deceiving ourselves.  II Timothy 3:13 warns, “But evil men and impostors will grow worse, deceiving and being deceived.”  People who are themselves deceived inevitably attempt to deceive others.   Ephesians 5:6 cautions us of this, warning, “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.”  In his book “Man: God’s Dwelling Place,” A. W. Tozer observed that of all forms of deception, “self-deception is the most harmful because the self-deceived are the least likely to discover the fraud.”  Tozer points out that the self-deceived is his own enemy because he is working a fraud upon himself.  Because he wants to believe the lie, he does not resist the deceit, but collaborates with it against himself.

Proverbs 14:12 cautions, “There is a way that seems right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”  In his book “Good or God,” John Bevere explains, “There are concepts, assumptions, opinion, qualities, ways of reasoning, and thought patterns that seem good and right yet aren’t.”  That is why basing our ways upon what seems good and right in our own eyes, rather than the counsel of God’s word, could result in our going deceived into judgment.   Bevere observed that Adam and Eve chose to evaluate what was good and acceptable apart from God’s counsel.  He cautions, “They made an assessment from a different set of standards: their own.”  God’s word alone sets the standard of what is good and what is right, not the culture of our day or the reasoning of man.  If our assessment of what is good and right does not line up with God’s assessment of what is good or right, then our assessment is flawed and in error.   St. Augustine of Hippo wisely observed, “If you believe in the Gospel what you like and reject what you don’t like, it is not the Gospel you believe in, but yourself.”

A. W. Tozer accurately voiced what lies at the heart of all self-deceit.  He writes, “Man judges the Word instead of letting the Word judge him; he determines what the Word should teach instead of permitting it to determine what he should believe; he edits, amends, strikes out, adds at his pleasure, but always he sits above the Word and makes it amenable to him, instead of kneeling before God and becoming amenable to the Word.”   In Psalm 119:11, the psalmist, in wisdom, cried out, “Your Word have I hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against you.”   In Isaiah 5:18,21,  the Lord gives harsh warning “to those who draw sin along with cords of deceit” and are “wise in their own eyes and prudent in their own sight.”  At the heart of the moral, social and theological corruption denounced in this prophecy, is “being wise in one’s own eyes,” an  arrogant egotism that exalts the intellect of man above the Word of God.  Eve said of the serpent, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” (Genesis 3:13). It remains the same today.  He still deceives into believing that the fruit is good.  He still suggests that perhaps we have misunderstood God’s word warning us not to eat of it, and he still wears as his disguise, truth that has been compromised.  The matter is wisely concluded in this quote from Tim Bagwell, (The Prophetic Generation, Fearless and Uncompromising). “Some things are not debatable; there is no other side to them.  There is only God’s side.”  If only Adam and Eve (and the person who wrote that essay) had observed this truth as well.

How strong the power of deceit
Death it brings to all it meets
What a subtle foe is he
who chooses this his weapon be
What a clever enemy
He who comes but to deceive
What a fool who lets him in
and opens up the door to sin
In the form of compromise
he wraps up sin in pretty lies
“A little taste, a little try”
You most surely will not die”
Hear him say, “The fruit is good”
Perhaps you have misunderstood”
Flesh enticed now to believe
unaware you’ve been deceived
Triumphantly he takes delight
as you take that fatal bite
and now the consequence must come
the damage of deceit begun
Now its deadly poison spreads
leaving you with only dread
Now you know but this too late
the consequence of sin your fate
Hear the words of sister Eve
and give unto her warning heed
Deception wears as his disguise
truth that has been compromised
Forbidden fruit he will offer you
Taste it not for if you do
Of this one thing you can be sure
The consequence of sin is yours

(1John 3:7 – Little children, let no one deceive you.  He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous.)




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