[mk_dropcaps style="fancy-style"]T[/mk_dropcaps]he Holy Spirit is known as the spirit of truth (John 16). How comforting is that quality about our God? It brings me peace automatically just thinking about it. Even more so because the truth does always rise to the surface. In sticky situations this perspective can be hard to maintain as emotions run wild and our sight becomes blurry. Why is that? It is not of God but the tactic of our opponent. Despite if you believe it or not there is a devil. You can not argue that there is evil in the world and he is the instigator of it. The enemy is the thief who comes to steal kill and destroy (John 10:10). A thief is as such because he has no legal right to do so. The devil's only M.O. is deception. Since he has already been defeated for good at the cross all he has left is to get us to believe things that are not true. It is time as the sons and daughters of Christ we awaken to where we have been deceived and rise up against these lies, but we must partner together to do so. This is how we can throw the knock out punch to the opponent within us.
But deception is difficult to detect alone...
How do you see a blind spot or know when you have been deceived?
First indicator is when the fruit of your life is not in alignment to God's standard (Gal 5:22-23). It is great to recognize the problem, but we want to get to the root of the problem not treat the symptoms. The specific points of entry of deception are hard to identify on your own. That is where community comes in.
The second indicator is isolation. Because the enemy knows all of the signs of deception are best detected by others. After all, a blind spot is just that, something you cannot see yourself. Detection of deception is best performed by Godly community, which is also known as the church. That is why it says in Psalms 92:13:
[mk_blockquote style="line-style" font_family="none" text_size="16" align="center"]Those who are planted in the house of the lord will flourish.[/mk_blockquote]
Deception detectors are the people of the church. We flourish in the house of God because others have access to our authentic self, not just our facade. To be planted in the community of church means you have relationships that gain enough access to your life to really know what is going on in your world. You allow relationships to grow roots down into your heart such that they can find those areas that in isolation you were unaware of existing. The love, trust and respect that is found in a holy spirit centered church can then pull up that deception drawing it to the surface to be dealt with in the light. If you never plant yourself in church others never will be able to see the real you and call out the gold within you. It is when you commit to the bride of Christ (his church) so much so that you invest all of yourself this process begins.
Reality check: Being planted in church and remaining planted in church requires you willingly accept that the church is imperfect because it is composed of imperfect people. God built us for connection with Him and for connection with His people for the purpose of getting love to us and through us. He never said we would not be hurt or have to deal with offense. In fact He told us to expect that.
Alright so now we have those top two indicators out of the way other characteristics of deception can be seen as:
1) Disorder and Division
4) Shame and Guilt
If you see these in a friend or yourself, pray that God creates the opportunity to address the root of deception in a loving and gentle way. There is power in confession and agreement. Do not underestimate the power of bringing an area of issue to light for yourself or another. It will be awkward, but trust me everyone involved will come out better for it. When God takes a symptom and shows you the root of the problem through a friend, that can be the most instant and tangible experience of God's presence you feel. This is often called “deliverance” as you are delivering yourself or another out from under the oppression of spiritual strongholds, but essentially it is clearing away any oppression from the enemy that was caused by permitted deception.
This is not some hocus pocus stuff. Despite where your faith is we can agree that we are spirit-soul- body. The means in which we go in to help repair the soul through the spirit is just that, deliverance. We neglect in western medicine to address the spiritual root of issues, but by the power of the Holy Spirit those are addressed head on and we are led to freedom. For more resources on how to operate in deliverance far beyond my experience, check out the incredible teaching by New Zealand Pastor Mike Connell HERE.
Lastly to encourage you how important it is to seek a free life led by the Holy Spirit, in Galatians 5:16-18 it says:
[mk_blockquote style="line-style" font_family="none" text_size="16" align="center"]My counsel is this: Live freely, animated and motivated by God’s Spirit. Then you won’t feed the compulsions of selfishness. For there is a root of sinful self-interest in us that is at odds with a free spirit, just as the free spirit is incompatible with selfishness. These two ways of life are antithetical, so that you cannot live at times one way and at times another way according to how you feel on any given day. Why don’t you choose to be led by the Spirit and so escape the erratic compulsions of a law-dominated existence?[/mk_blockquote]
Our inner critic is left powerless when we choose not to be selfish but place God at the center in our lives. We then are willingly led to correction and fearless enough to confess it to proper council. You are not meant to live a life of oppression never seeing the fruit of the spirit come out through your life and flow into that of others. You are made to live freely! Good by inner critic, you have been a bad friend to us!