We are always searching for solutions to our diverse often overwhelming problems presented through life. However, none of our behavioral scientists today have advanced solutions of lasting benefit because they fail to adequately deal with our greatest problem; our sick innate insatiable narcissism, we are unfortunately consumed by a desire to please self. The fact that so few people are readily willing to admit when they are wrong illustrates this deep desire to protect, defend and if possible to extend the Domain of self. Psychologists readily admit that our ego defense mechanisms distort or altogether deny reality. They are designed to defend self and to protect our fragile little egos from being bruised.
It’s common today to hear people say, “It may not be right for you, but it’s alright for me.” Because of this way of thinking “truth” for most people is reduced to being defined by whether something agrees with what they think or feel. So, we erect walls of ego defense mechanisms to protect our private, very personal unreal world from collapse. Most of us cannot bear to see ourselves in the present as we really are so we retreat into the past or fantasize about the future while robbing ourselves of the joy of living in the present.
We cannot match wits with the devil known as the god of this world, let alone the God of this universe. Whenever we think, we can outsmart satan we are candidates for being led astray by his crafty deceitfulness. The height of arrogance is to believe that we know better than God. Paul said in Romans 1:22—“Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools.” If you were being tempted, you would know it. If you were being deceived, you wouldn’t know it. If you know you are being deceived, then you are not being deceived. We deceive ourselves when we mistake the world’s knowledge for God’s wisdom: 1 Corinthians 3:18-19—“Do not deceive yourselves. If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a ‘fool’ so that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: ‘He catches the wise in their craftiness.’”
Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” In Ephesians 4:22 Paul tells us to “put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires.” Jesus said in Matthew 15:19, “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.” Sin in general and our human heart, in particular, are extremely and inherently sinful. Hebrews 11:25 talks about “the pleasures of sin for a short time.” Sin appears to be good for a while but that is because it is deceptive. Sin is never in our long-term best interest.
The Bible presents a consistent picture of how sin and deception are related. What’s revealed is that the way we tend to think of deceit is, a bit deceived. Spiritually speaking, deception is deeper than merely being tricked or lied to. The key to understanding spiritual deception is the fact that God will not interfere with man’s free will, and sometimes that means we’ll choose what we want to believe rather than what we should believe, even in the face of the evidence Luke 16:31. “Even after Jesus had done all these miraculous signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him” John 12:37. Notice that they would not accept Jesus, despite the miracles. Their unbelief was willful. All human sin is based in human choice 1 Corinthians 10:13. When we reject the truth, we make ourselves vulnerable to the lie. Repeated rejection of spiritual truth brings spiritual deception as an eternal consequence.
Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires, but those who live by the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God. A life that revolves around self will add up to one thing: self-inflicted suffering and servitude to sin. Eventually, the reproofs of life catch up with us and the cup of suffering will overflow in each of us and then we hit rock bottom. It is often not until we hit the bottom that we’re ready to leave our comfortable domain of self and enter into God’s Kingdom. We must die to ourselves before we can live for Christ Gal. 2:20.
How many people do you know who use the desire to be happy as an excuse to disobey God’s Word? The truth is those thoughts are nothing more than a rationalization for bad behavior and the irony is that happiness comes from obeying God not disobeying Him. Whenever people are in bondage to sin, they are never truly happy.