Deception, Discernment, and Direction

Deception. We don’t know it’s got us until it’s too late. We’re left feeling duped, shamed, and a little foolish. Deception ambushes us from all angles. From within and from without.

Within:                                                            Without:

Heart (Jer. 17:9)                                              Wealth (Mark 4:18-19)

Pride (1 Cor. 3:18)                                           Divisiveness (Rom. 16:17-18)

Reap/sow (Gal. 6:7)                                        Empty words (Eph. 5:6)

Desires (Eph. 4:22)                                         Fine-sounding arguments (Col. 2:4)

Inaction (Jas. 1:22)                                         Demons (1 Tim. 4:1)

Claiming to be without sin (1 John 1:8)     Sin (Heb. 3:13)

Discernment gives us a heads-up. It’s our night-vision goggles for the traps hidden in the dark. Three things bring discernment and keep us out of trouble.

A Relationship with God

A personal relationship with God puts solid rock under our feet to stand against deceit. Salvation gives us a new heart and the gift of God’s presence. 2 Cor. 5:17 (NIV) says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”

New heart.

New eyes.


Think of life as a field of landmines. Before salvation, we haven’t a clue where to step and where not to. After salvation, we’re equipped with a detailed map and a Guide who knows every inch of ground.

God’s Word

It’s a no brainer. God’s Word speaks truth. If something doesn’t match up with Scripture, throw it out. So much is already down in black and white. Our part is to act on it. Remember James 1:22, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.

The Holy Spirit

For the gray areas, the individual day-to-day decisions, we have the Holy Spirit. He discerns all things and imparts His knowledge to us. Our part? To obey what He says and to be attentive to what He reveals.

If you don’t know Him personally, start here:

A: Admit your choices have fallen short of God’s perfection.

B: Believe that Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross covers those choices—past, present, and future. He suffered your judgment and your punishment for you.

C: Come into relationship with Him by accepting His sacrifice in your place and give Him control of your life.

If you have a personal relationship with God, study his Word. A one-page devotional won’t do it. Read your Bible. Small chunks are fine. Consistency is what matters.

Next, cultivate a sensitivity to the Holy Spirit. He tends to whisper, so slow down and settle in. Ask for His guidance and listen to His still, small voice.

God equips us to navigate deception. But like any GPS, we have to follow His directions. No alternate routes. No shortcuts. By ourselves, we wander helplessly through the landmines of the enemy, our flesh, and the culture. Yet God can expose the deceit, and He always provides a way of obedience and righteousness.


When have you been burned by deception?

Did it come from within or without?

Where are you most vulnerable?

How have you avoided deception in the past?

What’s your most recent victory?


Deception. We don’t know it’s got us until it’s too late. Click To Tweet
Discernment. It’s our night-vision goggles for deceit. Click To Tweet
God equips us to navigate deception, but like any GPS, we have to follow directions. Click To Tweet

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