How you can deceive yourself, and how to avoid it

How you can deceive yourself, and how to avoid it

The Bible speaks about deceiving yourself, and this can happen more easily than you think. But there is also an easy way to avoid it.

8/1/20224 min

By ActiveChristianity

How you can deceive yourself, and how to avoid it

Doers of the word

But be doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” James 1:22.

If I only hear the Word, but don’t do it, it will not help me, and it will not change me. But when I hear the Word and obey it, the Word becomes part of me, it becomes part of my thoughts, and it changes me into something new, becoming more like Jesus.

Anyone who listens to the Word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.” James 1:23 (NIV).

The Word of God is like a mirror when it is spoken in Spirit and truth. It makes it possible to see Christ Himself as our perfect example, and at the same time, we get to see ourselves with all our lacks and failings. Then we can put things right in our lives by doing as the Word says. Then we will be changed by the Word and become like Jesus, for He is the Word Itself (John 1:1).

Using  the cross

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” 1 John 1:8.

We have sin in our human nature, but we don’t have to do sin. Sin must not rule over us. We must rule over it. For this we need the cross.

The Apostle Paul wrote: “I have been crucified with Christ …” Galatians 2:20. Paul was not crucified on a physical cross. He uses this expression as a symbol to describe that his own will that wanted to do sin was “crucified”. Our sins should “be crucified”, they should be “on the cross”, they should die, and should therefore not control our actions anymore. A person who lives a “crucified life” is someone who doesn’t let sin control his actions. He overcomes sin.

Sin cannot get past “the cross”. This is how we can overcome, by knowing that our own will that wants to sin was crucified with Him, so that we should no longer be slaves of sin. (Romans 6:6.)

We must believe that “I am crucified with Christ.” Then the new true and righteous life which is created by God in me gets time to develop and grow in peace.

By living a “crucified life” we can keep sin out of our inner life. Israel would have deceived themselves if they had said, “There are no enemies in the promised land.” The land was full of enemies when Joshua first entered it. And Israel needed faith in God to overcome them. It is just the same now. Nothing good lives in our sinful human nature, but by faith we will overcome. “That the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.” Romans 6:6.

Stop drinking from dirty springs

“Can clean water and dirty water both flow from the same spring?” James 3:11 (CEV). If we drink from the clean spring one minute and then drink from the dirty spring the next, then we deceive ourselves. We cannot serve God and the world. And we also can’t worship God and idols.

All dirty springs have to be stopped. We should stop with all idolatry. Our sinful human nature with its lusts and desires must be crucified. If this is not done—and in the smallest details—then we are deceiving ourselves. A person who wants to serve God and the world can never grow up to Him who is the Head, Christ. Such a person has deceived himself.

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This article is based on an article by Johan Oscar Smith which first appeared under the title “Deceiving yourself” in BCC’s periodical "Skjulte Skatter" (Hidden Treasures) in November 1935. It has been translated from the Norwegian and is adapted with permission for use on this website.

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