Not Everything Is Always As It Seems
Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God. For there are many false prophets in the world. (1 John 4:1)
How easy it is to be deceived. I’m pretty sure every one of us, at one time or another, has been deceived either by a friend, a family member, a company or an authority figure. We all like to think we are a pretty good judge of character or that we do our homework by researching items we want to buy or places we want to purchase from. I, for one, will research something to the fullest until I am satisfied that it’s a good purchase or a good company. This has saved me much aggravation from being scammed…until the one time I became lax and didn’t do the research. It was something that was in high demand and many places were sold out. I found a few sites that were selling this item and I purchased it. Were there any red flags whatsoever? Honestly, I had my doubts, but I took a chance and ordered it. Once it came out of our account and I saw the name, I then researched it, and the company, and found they were possibly scammers. Thankfully it wasn’t a lot of money spent. But the fact remains, I let my guard down and ignored the red flags because it was something I needed and wanted and what they offered appeared good to me.
Sometimes it’s easy to discern when something or someone is false. The red flags are popping up everywhere and you get a heavy feeling that something isn’t right. Jesus states in Matthew 7:15-18:
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit.”
The main phrase that sticks out is “you will recognize them by their fruit“. Though I couldn’t see this online company in person to make a determination if they were legit or not, if I had done my research, I would have found that this company hadn’t been around for long and some people were having problems getting what they ordered or they were sent something cheap. Instead, I took a chance and ordered the item which means I believed they would honor their commitment.
The same goes with people. Sometimes it’s easy to discern when someone or something is deceptive because they exhibit all the signs or fruit. Yet, sometimes it’s not so easy, especially when they say what we want to hear and what they want us to hear and they show us what they want us to see and what we want to see. This is when we let our guard down. Do people make mistakes and fall into sin? Of course! We all can have bad moments and fall into our flesh. But sometimes there are those who wish to deceive to gain something at the expense of others. Sometimes they do it out of jealousy and sometimes just to feed their own flesh. Though this scripture talks about false prophets, we can also use this guideline to protect us from being deceived by others as well. Sometimes we might find ourselves in a relationship or friendship with someone who seemed ok at first but then we begin to notice certain things about them that wasn’t immediately seen before. You might catch them in a lie more than once, they may become more secretive, or they begin to show signs of explosive anger. They may act one way in front of one group of people and act differently with another. They may seem like they are knowledgeable in certain areas but when you check it out, it’s not exactly so. They may tell you the right thing to do but they do the opposite. They may want forgiveness but are unwilling to forgive.
There are many examples that can be given, but the fact remains, we must walk carefully, especially in the times we are in. We must not be lax and we must do our homework. We must not bypass the red flags because we want something or we want a certain relationship. We must learn to discern between what is a moment of weakness and what is true deception. How do we do this? By comparing what we hear to the Word of God, by testing them to see if their spirit comes from God, by watching their fruit and by realizing its ok to ask questions if we discern something isn’t right. We must pray for wisdom as we see in James 1:5-6 and ask God for discernment:
5 If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. 6 But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind.
Though deception has been around since the days of Adam and Eve, it is something we must keep our eyes open for. We must learn to do our homework and not ignore the red flags as little as they might be. 1 Peter 5:8 tells us the following:
Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.
The enemy is looking for a chance to devour us and this can happen through deception either by being deceived by a person or a situation. He is very good at it as the Bible gives us many examples of it. But when we stay in the Word of God and know God’s truth, we will better be able to identify what is truth and what are lies. We will be able to see through deceiving words with God’s help. Eventually, the fruit of those trying to deceive will come forth because Christ will expose it.
What if you fall victim to deception? Know that you aren’t alone. We’ve all been there. The main thing is that when you recognize it, you quickly get away from it. Learn from the situation and note the pattern. Know that God never wastes a bad situation and He will use your situation to have you help others.
Take some time today to pray and ask God to expose the lies and reveal the truth in any situation you are in that you may discern some red flags. We should make it a habit each day to ask God to remove any veils from our eyes and to help us to see clearly. If we ask for wisdom and discernment, we can rest assured that God will provide it.