Wednesday, 05 September 2012 20:45

The Role Deception Plays in Promoting Sin

Written by  Brenda Payne
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Sin is the ultimate cause of all the misery in our lives. Charles Spurgeon preached, “All manner of evils draw their bitterness from this fountain of wormwood and gall. If a man had every possession a mortal could desire, sin could turn every blessing into a curse. And, on the other hand, if a man had nothing for his inheritance but suffering and stood clear from all sin, his afflictions, his losses, his deprivations might each one be a gain to him. We ought not to pray so much against sickness, or trial, or temptation, or even against death itself, as against sin!”

 


If sin is so bad then why do we so easily give into it? The answer starts with deception.

Satan has used deception since the Garden of Eden to lure men into disobedience and rebellion toward God. After creating the newlywed couple and putting them in the Garden to work and take of care it, the Lord commanded, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die” (Genesis 2:16-17). One chapter later, we learn Satan is implementing a plan of deception leading to destruction. “He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden?’”…..“You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:1-5).

Can you pick out the four deceptions? First of all, Satan is an expert at planting seeds of doubt and confusion by twisting God’s very own words! Do you see the subtlety in how he approaches Eve, “Did God really say you must not eat from any tree in the garden?” God had indeed given one prohibition, but He was more than generous in the provision He had made for Adam and Eve to enjoy the Garden. Oftentimes, Satan will entice us to focus on our “have not’s” instead of looking at all the “have’s” God has graciously gifted to us. What “have not’s” do you find yourself focusing on?

Secondly, Satan gets Eve to doubt the consequences of her sin. He says, “You’re not gonna die!” Sin is always dangerous, but Satan wants us to believe otherwise. He wants us to forget, ignore or doubt the promises of God’s temporal and eternal. Our misery may not be the result of our own sin, but in one way or the other, every misery in the universe started with the Fall. In the areas where you are most tempted, how have the consequences of sin been minimized in your mind? How should you change your thinking about those consequences?

Third, Satan gets Eve to doubt in the goodness of God. He tricks her into thinking that God is withholding some good thing from her. “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:5). She no longer looks at all the wonderful provisions of God in her life, but she focuses on the one thing she cannot have. In fact, the one thing she cannot have has captured her heart and now it becomes the one thing she needs to be truly fulfilled. In the areas where you are most tempted to sin, do you think you have been duped to doubt God’s goodness in your own life?

Finally, Satan convinces Eve she can be like God. Isn’t that the folly of humanity? We want to be God. We want to make up our own rules based on our desires and live without consequences or accountability. Do you believe unrepentant sin in your own life will be equally catastrophic? In what ways do you want to be like God?

Finally, deception is not only a major player in the enticement to sin but further keeps us from the cross in tempting us to doubt God’s goodness and forgiveness in the cross. Here are some questions to prayerfully ask yourself. In what ways are you currently disobeying God? Work backwards from your actions to Satan’s deception to see why you are being unfaithful. Where do you think Satan is most deceiving you and leading you into unbelief? In what ways have you stopped fearing God and the consequences of disobedience? Has your sin produced shame or some measure of misery in your relationship to God or others? If not yet, what is the potential? What “good thing” do you think the Lord is withholding from you? In what ways have you tried to deal with your sin by hiding, covering up or blame-shifting?

How do we escape the deceitfulness of sin? “Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin” (Hebrews 3:12-13 ESV). We run to God by studying His Word, praying, and surrounding ourselves with other committed followers of Christ. We need friendship with God and we need friends of God who we can be real with about our sin and who will love us enough to hate our sin and help expose the deceitfulness of our hearts.

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