The Power in Our Souls to Be Deceived

the_temptation_of_christ_by_armusik-d4x15hc

“The Temptation of Christ” by Armusik

But evil men and seducers shall grow worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. (2Tim 3:13, KJ2000)

What is our real motive for following after the Lord? Is it what Jesus demanded in the Gospels, that if we would be His disciples, we must take up our own flesh-killing crosses and follow Him for the glory of His Father alone? Or do we claim to be His followers, but all the while seek to find our own successful lives and keep them fully under our own control?

There are so many fleshly ways to “serve the Lord” that are really nothing more than a human seeking after pleasure, profit, and notoriety, to further our own grip on the usurping Adamic life in us. This life takes pleasure in control and in ruling over others instead of being a true humble servant IN Christ. One of the most common ways Christians look for illicit power is our pursuit of knowledge and spiritual gifts. The soul loves to be “spiritual” in an outward show of spirituality. This covers our inward sin of rebellion against God. Just like Adam and Eve sewed together fig leaves to cover their nakedness, these so-called “gifts,”scholastic degrees and hierarchic titles can be used to “hide” our spiritual nakedness from others, though God sees right through to our hearts. It is amazing how many high profile people in Christianity have perfected this act and use it to deceive others and themselves. The more people they deceive and garner as followers, the more they deceive themselves into believing what they are doing it “all for the glory of God.” Susanne Schuberth wrote this in her recent blog:

The counterfeit problem arises because we as human beings are usually not that patient by nature. Instead, the old self wants to have ALL of God’s blessings, immediately at that! Normally, we do not want to wait on God. Therefore, Satan who knows about this, sneaks in and offers everything which the old (and seemingly spiritual) self wants to have. He offers spiritual experiences like dreams and visions that are pleasing to the eye and keeps us focused on our imaginary magnificence and our imaginary spiritual virtues. Yes, the devil is a people pleaser. He whispers some pleasant things into our ears until we believe him. It is only later that he begins to discourage and destroy the soul. Yet in the beginning Satan disguises himself as an angel of light and tells us that he is God who loves us. He even appears as “Jesus” at times and leads astray whomever he can by doing so. In fact, Satan also offers a kind of spirit baptism and “bestows” several powerful “spiritual gifts’ on such deceived believers. Actually, as soon as someone has fallen in love with possessing such gifts, it is very difficult to convince them that God was not their author.

One might wonder here about how to discern the difference between true and false spirituality and I admit it is not always easy to recognize it right at the outset. However, we can say if someone is not used to dying daily like the apostle Paul told us he was doing (see 1 Cor 15:31), but (mis)uses his ‘gifts’ in his old and unchanged self, he cannot grow in loving God and his neighbors, either. We do more damage to God’s case and the kingdom of God when we follow our soul’s desires to become someone. If our focus is more on our (old) self and on what God (or not God?) is doing through us instead of enduring those necessary and painful changes in our hearts that always direct us away from our self toward God, we might have been deluded by Satan. Since it is not a rare thing to be deceived by the devil, I thought I needed to point that out, once again. (1)

She went on to quote Paul where he warned:

The coming of the lawless one by the activity of Satan will be with all power and with pretended signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are to perish, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends upon them a strong delusion, to make them believe what is false, so that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2Thess 2:9-12, RSV)

Most Christians are waiting for Antichrist, the “lawless one,” the “man of sin” to build himself a temple in Jerusalem and sit on a throne there and deceive the whole world. The sooner we discover the antichrist that abides in us already,For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work” (verse 7), that is, in our flesh, the sooner we will start giving God the authority to destroy that ugly thing we have been in league with all our lives. The meaning of that Greek word antichristos is not only “against Christ” but more importantly “instead of Christ.” It is that usurper inside of us, “Who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped; so that he as God sits in the temple of God [our hearts], showing himself that he is God.” (2Thess 2:4, KJ2000)

That thing in us wants to be preeminent and take Jesus’ place in ruling our lives. Dear saints, the flesh lusts against the Spirit in us (see Galatians 5:17) and there is a war within us as long as the natural man in us is still in control. As we can see from the verse above, Satan is more than happy to manifest in our flesh with all pretense of signs and wonders to deceive those who do not desire the Truth of Christ where it really counts, in our hearts. David wrote,

“Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.” (Ps 51:6, ESV2011)

We are watching the onslaught of Satan being let loose to raise hell upon the earth and all manner of evil is being done today in the name of God. There is no uglier and more treacherous works on earth than those done through fleshly men under the name of a “righteous cause” or a “holy war.” Men and women are being deceived, and because they have no desire for the truth of Christ to dwell in their hearts, God is giving them strong delusions to follow as they take pleasure in unrighteousness. This is all too evident at this time as we watch Muslims, ethnic groups and yes, even Christians taking sides and feeding on anger in the current political, religious and ethnic conflicts around the world. Jesus told us that this would be a sign of the end of days before He returns:

And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity [literally – no way out] — Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking toward those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. (Luke 21:25-26, KJ2000)

I believe we are watching the last great battle for the souls of men. Will we deny our soulish selves and Satan from feeding on this dust within us and cling to Christ alone or will be caught up in his lies and subterfuge that feel so good to our flesh as we ignore the warnings of Christ and let our hearts become hardened for fear of what is coming upon us?

Take care, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we share in Christ, if only we hold our first confidence [in Him] firm to the end, (Heb 3:12-14, RSV)

(1) https://enteringthepromisedland.wordpress.com/2016/03/13/satans-counterfeit-spirituality/

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25 comments on “The Power in Our Souls to Be Deceived

  1. Oh, Michael, thank you very much for sharing such a looong quote of my blog! 🙂

    What you described about the possibility to be deceived as long as we cling to our old self life is so true. Nobody can say that it would be different for him. It is the same for all who live on this earth. The power of our soul must be surrendered and submitted to God, which is something our old nature does NOT want – ever. Indeed, it needs God’s transforming divine power to get us killed, finally. But here is the good news: afterwards we may also share in His resurrection power.

    Michael, you said,

    “This is all too evident at this time as we watch Muslims, ethnic groups and yes, even Christians taking sides and feeding on anger in the current political, religious and ethnic conflicts around the world.”

    I am so glad you mentioned THIS! So often lately I have realized how many Christians erect more or less invisible walls against their enemies. Shouldn’t our fight rather take place in the invisible realm? And should we not love our enemies? It is quite clear to me that these Christians do so out of fear. But our duty is not to fear other human beings as our Lord confirmed,

    “I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him!” (Lk 12:4-5 ESV)

    Also, I find no evidence in Scripture that Jesus was ever interested in having an influence on politics. Quite the contrary. Jesus answered Pilate,

    “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” (Jn 18:36 ESV)

    And Jesus also said,

    “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” (Mk 12:17 ESV)

    The realm of this world where Satan is allowed to reign, though under God’s control, has nothing to do with the invisible kingdom of God that can be found in our midst (hearts) only. If we confuse these two realms and focus on this world and all those evil circumstances instead, we might miss the kingdom of God which does not come with observation.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Michael says:

      Susanne, you nailed it! The question we Christians have to ask ourselves is “What kingdom are we of? Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks and I see more talk about the things of this world among Christians these days than I do about the Kingdom of God and His love. Our words betray what kingdom we really are of.
      God bless you and thanks for your encouragement to keep pressing on for the High calling of Jesus Christ on our lives. ⭐

      Liked by 4 people

      • Thank you, Michael!

        Yes, what kingdom we are of? If we really have the heart of Christ, we will love our enemies. If not, we will hate them. There is no compromise possible. Let us not be deceived, brothers and sisters!

        May God bless you and keep you in His loving grip, my brother!

        Susanne 🐱

        Liked by 4 people

      • Michael says:

        Thank you, Susanne. Yes, God is love and He did not send His son into this world to condemn it, but rather that it might be save. If God is truly our Father we will manifest HIS love for the people of this world, even our enemies, not just our friends and family. Jesus put it this way,

        “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them who despitefully use you, and persecute you; That you may be the children of your Father who is in heaven…” (Matt 5:44-45, KJ2000)

        May Father continue to hold you close to Him, and fill you with His great love, dear Susanne. 🐻

        Liked by 1 person

      • You’re so welcome, Michael.

        Yes, indeed, because God is love He wants to see as many people saved as possible. His love does not want to see people perishing. Therefore He exhorts us before it is too late.

        In Christ’s love ❤
        Susanne

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Fred Thoren says:

    Thank you for this. How does one allow GOD to work in them to change them? I want to be changed and not the way I was. I found my self getting frustrated at a customer today. I came home and cried but not just do to that but I have been in some great pain today, like a battle going on in side of me. I don’t know if it is the flesh Waring again the spirit or not. Like you mentioned above. It might be. I also could be going through a dark night of the soul. I do not know. I realize I need to change with how I reacted with that customer.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      It sounds like you are caught in Romans chapter seven, my brother, not the dark night. Paul had the same struggle,

      “For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.” (Rom 7:14-25, ESV2011)

      In this passage we read:

      “I am of the flesh…”
      “I do not understand…”
      “I do not do what I want…”
      “I agree with the law…”
      “It is no longer I who do it…”
      “I know that nothing good dwells in me…”
      “I have the desire to do what is right…”
      “I do not do the good I want…”
      etc….

      Paul had “I” problems! In fact in this whole chapter he uses this personal pronoun over 30 times and he mentions Jesus Christ as His Lord only once. The solution to your problem, Fred, is not found in YOU! We must get our minds and eyes off ourselves and keep them on Christ for only HE can fix what is wrong with us. Only HE can be righteous in us. We need Jesus’ Holy Spirit to be our life and for Him to put to death the man of sin who lives within. The answer is,

      “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Rom 7:25a, ESV2011)

      Paul finally got his eyes off of himself and put then on Christ and His Spirit. What a difference Romans chapter eight is! It is all about victory in Christ! Fred, only He can change you. Each day pray, “God I can not change me and if you do not do a deep flesh killing work in me and give me your Spirit to manifest your Son in me, I am going to blow it. I need you to transform me and make me a new creation in Christ. Amen.” Then just go on and live your life and wait on Him to do the rest. I finally got so desperate that I prayed, “God kill this carnal fleshly man in me and show it no mercy and don’t listen to my screaming while you do.”

      You can not save yourself and YOU cannot be a Christian, Fred, and you can’t change yourself either. I can always tell how far a person has progressed in Christ by how many personal pronouns they use while talking or writing. If the Spirit is alive in a person their conversation will always be about Christ and not themselves for Jesus said,

      “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.” (John 16:13-14, ESV2011)

      Whether we are boasting about our righteousness or are complaining about our sins, either way we still have ourselves front and center in our lives. This is why we need the daily work of the cross in our lives. I pray you can hear what I have shared, Fred.

      God bless you as you set your eyes on Jesus.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. TJ says:

    Amen brother! Christ be praised! Great treatise and thank you also Susanne for the the added exhortations.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      You are welcome, TJ. Thanks for your edifying comment. I will make sure that Susanne sees it, too. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • You are very welcome, TJ.

      To tell you the truth, I do not like writing exhortations that much. But it seems God wants me to do that quite often. And the Holy Spirit does not ask whether our flesh likes what the Spirits says since HE is Lord and commands what is necessary to say or to do. In fact, the fear of God, not the fear of man and seeking his approval, is required for obeying Him.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. TJ, I’d like to share something Jesus recently shared with me on this subject.

    As I cried one night because I didn’t reveal the worth of Jesus to someone as I felt like should…

    Jesus said; “I know you are weak and unable to do as you wish. For this reason, I have placed all my righteousness onto your account. You don’t need any righteousness of your own. You have mine. You are my son and when you make mistakes, you can come to me and I will forgive you and help you in every way you need…

    Then Jesus said: “You know that guy that acted so silly yesterday that upset you, he can’t do like he wants either. He messes up daily just like you. Why would you expect him to be able to do something you can’t do yourself. The next time you see him just ignore his weaknesses. Show him the same free love that I have shown you. Treat him good like I’ve treated you. By doing this you will show him my love and I know this is what you really want. He will take note of what you have shown him and I will show him more later myself. I love him the way I love you and if he will open the door to me, I will give him my righteousness too.

    Behaving like this to others. when you can. will let others see my love for them too, instead of thinking I want to destroy them. I don’t want to hurt them at all. But the only way I can get them to turn around is for them to see my love. If they can see my love the way you do, they will come to me and I will save them. Remember, they may be slow catching on, but I will show them more after you have done your part. Thank you son, for showing my love to them.

    (TJ, be sure and do like Michael said, reach out to Jesus personally, he loves to touch each one of us back in a personal way.)

    In Christ’s Love

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Ken Dawson says:

    Wow Mike your answer to Freds comment was just as edifying as your post–We cannot save ourselves nor can we sanctify ourselves!–We must give it all to Gods working!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Pat Orr says:

    Thank you, Michael, and also the commenters.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. David Murry says:

    Thank you Michael. I am fervently agreeing with Dad’s will that in this hour the true teachings of spirit living verse living out of our souls would be brought forth in power.

    So much tradition… so much well meant but misguided lessons to be undone.. but He is faithful.

    Thank you

    David

    Liked by 3 people

  8. dimple says:

    Hi Michael,
    This post spoke to a recurring prayer of mine: for myself and others, that we will be shown the lies we have believed, and that we will be willing to turn from them to Jesus, who is the truth. And I pray now, for everyone (including me) who reads this blog or Susanne’s, and for you and Susanne, that Abba will show us every lie we have believed so that we may turn from them to the truth embodied in Jesus.
    Blessings to all~
    Louise

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Thank you, Louise for your prayers. The enemy has been on the rise all over the world and religious lies that give people a false sense of righteousness are some of the worst delusions of them all. May we embrace the cross of Christ and continue to pray that He becomes ALL in those who are His.

      Liked by 2 people

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