“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”(James 1:22)

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Message by Missionary Park
We as human beings are so easily deceived. When someone keeps repeating a certain thing seriously over and over again, we tend to believe that it is so true even if it is a total lie. Right? When people in power or people in authority speak, we think that they are alway right and never wrong. In addition to that, we tend to believe that science is infallible and statistics can’t be manipulated.

We believe that NHK news and CNN news are all “facts.” But unfortunately some news is fake news. As a result, some skeptics would say, “I’ll believe it when I see it with my own two eyes.” “Seeing is believing.”

Sadly, people lie to each other. People scam each other. Some people might make up their minds, saying, “I’ll never be fooled!” And yet they are often fooled. Other people might swear to God, saying, “I’ll never tell a lie!” And yet there are some situations in which they can not help but lie. “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?”(Jeremiah 17:9)

We as human beings have limits. We have the limits of knowledge, the limits of understanding, and the limits of perception. So, we see in part. We hear in part. And we know in part. Unfortunately, we can not see the whole picture at a time. We might be able to misinterpret it. And in a sense, we turn out to be deceived.

The Bible is full of lies. In particular, we find many liars in the book of Genesis. Abraham lied. Isaac lied. Jacob lied. And Jacob’s sons lied, too. In the book of Genesis, we read the first lies in human history. Now, let us take a close look at the first lies. This story goes like this…

God created humankind, both male and female. God created the first man, Adam, from the dust of the ground. And then God made the first woman, Eve, from Adam’s rib because He thought that it was not good for Adam to be alone. God brought Eve to Adam as his partner. Adam was so excited to have Eve as his wife. Some of you might notice that Adam was a romantic guy. He was more like a poet. As you know, he composed a poem, saying, “You are bone of my bones. You are flesh of my flesh.”

And then Adam said to Eve, “Can I say something crazy? Would you marry me?” And Eve said to Adam, “Can I say something crazier? Yes!” I don’t know whether or not they had a wedding ceremony. Anyway they married and began to live a happy married life. They loved each other. They delighted in all that God had made. No conflict, no fight, and no problem in their marriage. On top of that, they lived in harmony and peace with God.

But then the serpent misled Adam and Eve. Immediately evil came into God’s creation and tried to destroy it completely. The serpent was very good at deceiving people. He was very good at tempting people. That’s why he is called the tempter or the deceiver. And we
understand the serpent as the devil or Satan.

Eve was tempted by the serpent with one simple question: “Did God really say that?” and with one simple promise: “Surely we will not die!” Satan was trying to lie to her. When Satan said these things, unfortunately she began to doubt whether God would really keep His word. And then Satan said, “You will be like God.” Eve said, “Seriously? Can I become like God? Wow!” Sadly, Eve took some of the fruit in the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and ate it. And sin entered the world.

Satan really wants to separate us from God. He puts doubt into our hearts so that we may not trust in God. Satan also wants to separate us from our brothers and sisters, and from our neighbors. In fact, Satan makes us doubt each other in our church.

One of the biggest lies ever told in history is… “You will become like God.” It means… “You have it all. You know it all. So you can do it all by yourself. ” Satan still keeps saying, “You don’t need God. You don’t need to rely on God. Do it all by yourself.” What Satan really wants to do is to cut you off from God. Satan is so smart. He is very clever. He is the twister of truth. He is the father of lies and the murderer from the beginning. He tries to throw you into disorder, confusion, and doubt. Very often, he is successful.

Brothers and sisters! Don’t be deceived by Satan! Satan is trying to convey false messages by using books, mass media, social network service, and even the people around you. Please don’t be deceived by them. Instead, stand firm in the word of God. Put down roots deeply in the word of God! Put your anchor down deeply into the word of God so that you may not be swayed by every false teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.

Brothers and sisters! We might be deceived by Satan. We might be deceived by people. But have you ever thought that you could be deceived by yourselves? Yes, we could. The Bible talks about this issue in more than five verses. In fact, you can lie to yourselves. I can lie to myself. We call it “Self-Deception.” When we are deceived, we kind of like put ourselves into a dark and small box where we are not able to see the real world clearly and correctly. We can’t make sound judgments. Simply put, we see, feel, and perceive reality falsely. And we can’t know the truth. We kind of like have a twisted and distorted mind. As a result, we would misinterpret the world and respond with our twisted and distorted judgment. Now, let us take a look at four verses in relation to self-deception. .

Number one… 1 John 1:8 says, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.”

We all make mistakes. Nobody is perfect. We can’t save ourselves. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. That’s why we all need a Savior. So, don’t deceive yourselves by saying, “I have no sin.” In addition to that, we Christians don’t for a moment think that we can become sinlessly perfect. Even if the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin, we still think of ourselves as sinners.

Number two… 1 Corinthians 3:18 says, “Do not deceive yourselves. If anyone of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a fool so that he may become wise.”

In this verse, we can notice that the moment we think that we are wise, we begin to get into the box where we can’t see the real world clearly and correctly. The pride of your heart can deceive you. The Bible teaches that we should be humble. As long as we are humble, we are out of the box. Only humility makes us get out of the box.

Number three… Galatians 6:3 says, “If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.” Sometimes, we think that we are better than others. We think that we are more important than others. We would feel superior when we see other Christians in trouble or in sin. We would feel superior when we act like judges of other people’s behavior. But the truth is that a sense of superiority causes trouble in the community of faith. I know you are superior. But remember that nobody is better than anybody else in God’s eyes. Remember that to feel superior is to be blind. Brothers and sisters! Don’t be deceived by a superiority complex.

Lastly… James 1:22 says, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” Some Christians say, “I know much about the Bible.” But they don’t do what the Bible says. In fact, they are lying to themselves. To receive the word of God means more than just to hear it. We must do what the word says. Of course, we must hear the word of God first. We must read the Bible and study the Bible. But unless we do what it says, it is of no use, it is of no benefit, and it is of no value at all. If we just keep on hearing the word of God, not doing it, we are lying to ourselves. We will make many mistakes. We will make big mistakes. We will certainly get in trouble

Brothers and sisters! We have to be rooted deeply in the word of God. Otherwise, we can be deceived by Satan. We have to be humble. Otherwise, we can be deceived by ourselves. We have to do what the word of God says. Otherwise, we can also be deceived by ourselves. Let us pray…

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