Avoid Being Deceived
Living a Christian life, is full of service, love, and being with people while in the act of service or in the act of worship in church meetings or in Sunday school or study groups.
Because a good Christian is actively interacting with many different people in many different ways, it is possible for an honest and sincere Christian to be deceived. An honest and sincere Christian that is being deceived, is a sad and confused Christian.
But it doesn’t have to be that way and the Scriptures help us understand what to do to avoid being deceived. In fact, the solution to this whole “avoiding deception” idea can be applied to a Christian’s life across the span of his life.
Avoiding being deceived doesn’t mean we have to be distrustful of people it just means that we need to keep our eyes open and our roots firmly planted in proper gospel soil.
Let us look at one popular passage of Scripture that is repeated in the Bible more than once, it talks about how to avoid being deceived.
“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.”
Let’s break this passage down into a few separate parts for analysis: “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.”
What are false prophets? For the purposes of this article I submit that a false prophet is anyone that comes to you with the intent to deceive you, and lead you away from a sure foundation, and lead you away from Jesus Christ.
We can be deceived and led away from Jesus from forces within Christendom and without.
We need to understand that with Jesus and his gospel comes, glorious eternal hope, and with that an abiding piece and contentment. Anything that leads us away from that could be considered “a false prophet” or an agent of the evil one.
What do they look like? What do they sound like? How do they go about doing these evil things? There is no limit to what this evil looks like or sounds like or how this evil works. But we will all know how to judge it when it tries to happen to us.
Also keep in mind that these false prophets look good on the outside but are inwardly ravening wolves. We can see this evil in our entertainment, or in so-called art. We can see it in public discourse and among our peers. Unfortunately, we can even see it among those Christians with whom we worship with. But we do not need to be afraid and paranoid and constantly worried. All we need to do is analyze that passage of Scripture that we read earlier in this article. We’ve already talked about the wolves in sheep’s clothing or false prophets, now let’s look about how to judge or determine whether they are good or evil.
“Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.”
This passage uses fruit as a comparison, but what is the fruit being compared to? Often these kinds of comparisons are left open ended because they can have many different comparisons and our list will not include all of the different types of fruit that could be used to deceive us. To fully determine what all the fruit means for you, is up to you to determine based on how well you know yourself.
But let’s look at several common comparisons that could be the fruit that deceives us. The
evil-one knows our weaknesses and everyone has different weaknesses, but the master deceiver knows how too customized the temptation according to our weaknesses in unique and subtle ways.
Pride for some is a weakness. Someone or something could come across your path and tempt you with pride. Someone or something to come across your path and tempt you with ill-gotten gains. Someone or something could come across your path and tempt you with sex. Someone or something could come across your path and tempt you with unrighteous power.
Ask yourself, “what are my witnesses?” That will help you be on the lookout for things to avoid, and avoid people who could tempt you.
The analogy for comparison goes on to ask, can a thorn bush produce delicious grapes? Can you get figs from a thicket of thistles? The answer to these questions is simply no. Does pornography bring you closer to God? The answer is no. The Bible is replete with commandments and discussions about chastity and not to lust after women, so of course pornography cannot lead you into the loving arms of your Savior.
Can you pluck peace from a tree of lying and deception? Can you pluck the fruit of joy from the tree of crime? Abusing your spouse or children is not an activity that will inspire you and uplift your soul heavenward.
Any temptations to do evil that you give into, or any evil act that you are involved in is like plucking grapes from a Bush of thistles. You can try all you want but it won’t happen. The only way you’re going to get delicious grapes is if you pluck the grapes from the grapevine. In this case the grapevine represents the word of God as taught to us from the sacred Scriptures, not from evil acts and not from giving into temptations that tempt your weaknesses.
Anyone who comes into your life through the media or in person that inspires you to do things that are evil or that appeals to your weaknesses are the grapes from thorns and the fig from thistles.
By their fruits you shall know them. If someone you look up to for being worthy of emulation is found to be a drug user or an abuser or in some other way involved in wicked activity then you know their fruits are no good and you know that you’re not going to get grapes or figs from them. From such, turn away and don’t be deceived. You know what your weaknesses are and you do not need people in your life that tempt you toward your weaknesses or encourage and enable you in your weaknesses.
That’s why we are taught this important lesson about judging people by their fruits. If they have good fruit then we know that they are worthy to be in our life and that we don’t need to fear them to tempt us or lead us astray. This is not to say that we need to avoid everybody that doesn’t have good fruits, but we just have to be careful how we interact with people according to their fruit.
We have people in our life that we love like our family and good friends, and we have people in our life that can help inspire us and motivate us to good fruit and then there are people in our lives that we choose to try and help them and be a good tree with good fruit for their tree of life. As long as we keep that straight then we know how to avoid being deceived and by the same lesson we know how help others not be deceived.
Distilled down to the purest elements…to avoid being deceived simply means judging that person by their fruits and how they tempt your own evil fruits or inspire your good fruits.
If this Christian article has pricked your conscience and you feel like your life is not in complete harmony with The Lord then repent. To repent means to have a change of heart and a desire to improve yourself. With the tender mercies of the atonement of Jesus Christ and your godly sorrow, The Lord will forgive you of your sins and set you on a clean path once again.
Stay strong in the faith my friends in Christ.
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