13 Nov 2013
What does Hitler, Paul the Apostle, King Rehoboam of Judah and the Pharisees have in common?
The common thread they share is that they were all at one time - self deceived!
Hitler set out to annihilate the Jewish race because he really believed that the removal of the Jews will mean a stronger and superior Aryan race/nation.
The Pharisees plotted to kill the Jesus whom they thought was a 'blasphemer' because Jesus claimed to be God.
Paul persecuted Christians severely and had the endorsement of the authorities to go to Damascus to do the same. He was trying to destroy the church whom he believed was a cult and a threat to Judaism.
King Rehoboam believed that by demanding a greater sacrifice from the 'lazy' Jews, Israel would be a stronger nation. He imposed higher taxes and exacted a heavier load on his subjects.
They thought they were absolutely right when they were in fact absolutely wrong. Their thinking was faulty but they thought they were orthodox/ fundamentalist. They then made decisions they deemed correct even though their actions were harmful, flawed and terribly destructive. Yet they believed that they are doing what is right and that God is on their side.
Self deception is the worst form of deception. To be deceived by others is to be told a lie as the truth by another person/ group. These can receive counsel and with correct information and they can come to a realization of how wrong they were. Self deception on the other hand is more dangerous because the self deceived person has totally convinced himself to believe a lie as the truth. In fact the lie becomes the truth for which they will defend arduously and propagate passionately. They believe deeply that others are the ones who are deceived. They are in total denial of their wrong and they can develop a 'Messiah complex' to save others or destroy their 'enemies'. They can make dangerous decisions and yet think they are championing a good cause. They are capable of doing evil and yet think they are helping God, They have mistaken the voice of the devil to be the voice of the Holy Spirit. They are a danger to themselves and others,
Some characteristics of a self deceived person ....
1. They believe they cannot be wrong.
2. They are proud but think they just have deep convictions on a certain matter.
3. They refuse to receive a different opinion or counsel because they 'know' they are right.
4. They have concretized their conclusions and positions. They only speak and no longer listen.
5. They are judgmental and critical of others different from them; fault finding.
6. They are self righteous.
Paul thought he was really serving God by dragging Christians into prison. No amount of arguments can alter his mind. God had to use drastic intervention - knock him down from his steed and blind him with a shaft of light. The resurrected Jesus spoke to him in an audible voice. Paul was thankfully shaken out of his self deception. Only then, did he realize that He was fighting against God. He repented.
How do we keep from self deception?
1. Scriptures say 'guard your heart for it is the well spring of life'. Regularly do a self heart check. Quickly search your heart and spirit when you feel an uneasy feeling develop. Neglecting the promptings of the conviction of the Holy Spirit will soon harden and de-sensitize the heart from God's voice.
2. Remain teachable and humble. Be open to correction. Accept the possibility that you can be wrong.
3. Listen deeply before you defend your position. Bring the differing information to the presence of God and let Him speak to you.
4. Be honest and open to the Spirit of Truth to guide into all truth. Always be tender and yielded to Him.
5. Read the scriptures carefully and apply proper principles of interpreting it.
6. Realize you don't have and don't know all the truth. You don't hold the exclusive rights to all truth.
7. Don't underestimate the devil - he is called the ' father of lies', ' serpent' and 'deceiver’. He comes disguised as an angel of light. He speaks enough truth but adds a spin on it, that over time, totally distorts the truth without the person realizing it. He is full of guile and trickery, having myriads of ways to lure and blind anyone from the truth.
So when you think you are absolutely right, think again. Listen, listen, listen especially to God.
Jude 20,21 (NIV) But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit. Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.
1 Corinthians 3:18 (NIV) Do not deceive yourselves. If any one of you thinks he is wise* by the standards of this age,* he should become a “fool” so that he may become wise.
1 John 1:8 (NIV)
 If we claim to be without sin,* we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.*
Job 15:31 (NIV) Let him not deceive* himself by trusting what is worthless,* for he will get nothing in return.*