Resisting Deceit

Open Your Bible

2 Thessalonians 2:1-12, Daniel 11:36-37, Ephesians 5:6-14

In the Davis home, family meetings are reserved for serious business. If someone calls for one, everyone’s internal radar begins to beep, “Pay attention! This is important!” We sit on the edge of our seats as we gather in the living room to hear whatever weighty news is coming. In 2 Thessalonians 2, the apostle Paul calls a family meeting of sorts. The tone is familial but the topic is kind of scary: even God’s children are vulnerable to deception. 

Can’t you picture the Thessalonians gathering together, family-style to read Paul’s letter? I imagine a few biting their fingernails with worry as they read these words, “Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him: We ask you, brothers and sisters, not to be easily upset or troubled” (2Thessalonians 2:1–2).

My heart is right there with the believers who first read these words from Paul. I know I’ve been upset and troubled by the promise of Christ’s coming, even while longing for Him to come. Sometimes I wonder what is taking so long. What if we miss it? How can we know, really know, that when He comes He will receive us as His own?

Beyond the return of Jesus, I have other worries. I’ve seen my Christian brothers and sisters crash and burn on the runway of wrong theology. I’ve watched church leaders veer from the truth to their own peril. Though I trust my salvation is sealed in Christ, I also know I’m capable of falling for lies and grabbing on to false hopes. We must remember that God knows about our racing pulse and anxious heart (Philippians 4:6). Through His Word, He acknowledges our fears with a paternal warning: “Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way” (2Thessalonians 2:3). 

But isn’t it the very nature of deception that it’s tricky? And who is the “man of lawlessness” (vv.5–12), and how do we steer clear of the “strong delusion” (v.11) Paul writes about in his letter? 

In the Davis home, family meetings are also a space for reassurance. We consider something challenging and vow to tackle it together. We acknowledge that something isn’t working, and we stay in the huddle until we have a new game plan. God’s Word does the same. Deep breath. Let’s have a bit of a family meeting.

How can we know if we’ve been deceived? Look closely at verse 12. The answer was there all along. Those who are deceived do not believe the truth. They’ve turned from God’s Word. It’s that simple. And it’s also that easy to do, to be swayed by deception.

Sisters, huddle up. Here is the game plan for battling deception. Ready? We hold God’s Word high as the source of truth. Then we love the truth. We live the truth. We run away from every deception, by running toward our Bibles—together. 

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55 thoughts on "Resisting Deceit"

  1. Kristin Porter says:

    That is amazing and I completely agree!

  2. Heather O’Malley says:

    @Linda – I agree wholeheartedly! It’s so important to be in the Word and understand the whole context.

  3. Churchmouse says:

    I heard once that those in the Federal Mint do not study counterfeit bills. They study the intricacies of authentic currency so that they can readily spot the counterfeits. Their focus is on the genuine. So too, I study the Bible so that I know the Truth and can then more easily recognize false teaching. When I was a young Christian I read many books to help me grow in the faith. Over time I realized I was able to parrot what certain authors/teachers had written (and it was good teaching). I could find their individual explanation of a passage in their book more readily than I could find the corresponding passage in my Bible. Though well intentioned, I had slipped out of order. I was convicted to read my Bible as the primary Source of Truth that it is and use other books as mere supplements. So I began reading the Bible from cover to cover, using only its footnotes and references. Sometimes I finish in a year, sometimes it takes longer. I don’t rush just to meet a particular date. When I finish, I start over (often with a different translation). I participate in Bible studies (hello, SRT!) but I make sure I spend more time in my Bible than in any other book. Someone once asked me what is the best Bible and my answer is “the one you will read.”

  4. Cynthia Johnston says:

    Before I read God’s Word I ask the Holy Spirit to open my eyes to read God’s Word
    to open my ears to hear God’s Word
    to open my mind to know God’s Word
    to open my heart to receive God’s Word
    and to open my spirit to trust and obey God’s Word.

  5. Linda Gilbow says:

    Over the years I’ve found it vital to read through the Bible systematically. It’s important to study in a focused way! Yet, we miss the tying-together if we don’t read His Word as a whole. I’m in my 60’s and have read thru the Bible every year since I was in my 20’s. I would say it’s the most important way to guard against deception, because most false teachers take bits and pieces from the Word and build a theology on that. But if we see the Bible as a whole, it’s easier to find the untruths.

  6. NanaK says:

    Decision Magazine recently wrote an article that shared a study done by an American pollster, George Barna, noting that “only 6% of Americans adhere to a Biblical worldview, while 88% borrow from multiple and sometimes contradictory worldviews in order to form their beliefs and habits.” It is easy to be deceived when we allow satan and worldviews to dictate our beliefs! In a “coexist” society it is easy to just go along with literally “whatever “ in an attempt to not be considered a “hater.” But ladies, there is real danger in that. While we all look differently, talk differently, eat different foods, like different things….There is only One Truth and that is Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior and following HIS ways, no one else’s, is the way to stay in His light and be the “ salt and light” in this dark world.

  7. Dorothy says:

    Ephesians 5:14 reminds me of a song by Austin French titled, “Wake Up Sleeper”.
    Sisters with the help of each other and SRT we can keep other from deception and help our families stay away from deception. We can also try to help with passing on the Word of God and make sure those around us know the truth and aren’t deceived.
    Please pray for me, I’ve been having problems with getting a good and sound night’s sleep. I come home from work and unwind for a few hours, sometimes even fall asleep on the couch watching TV, but when I go to lay down I don’t sleep but for an hour or two maybe three.
    Have a blessed day sisters.

  8. Candi S. says:

    Thank you for your post. We are deciding on colleges for my daughter and we have it narrowed down to a few Christian colleges. One of them we know is trustworthy in their care and teaching of the Word. Additionally, our daughter would take enough required Bible classes that she would graduate with a minor. The only thing that gives me pause about the school is that they only allow Christian students. On the one hand, of course, I love that, but I also wonder if we should isolate ourselves so. We send our kids to Christian elementary school and the one we chose lets believers and nonbelievers enroll so they can share the Gospel with everyone. It is a vibrant Christian environment that is preaching the Gospel to all who are willing it hear it and I love it! The other college is closer to us and allows those if all faiths enroll, but we’ve heard they are preaching more of a social gospel, which makes us very uneasy. I don’t want our daughter being taught a watered down powerless gospel. I’ve been praying for confirmation and Ashli your post really felt like it.