I had a conversation with a friend the other night (there’s your shout out Joe :-)) that got me thinking about the concept of deceit. In all honesty ~ my mind went everywhere with this subject. I thought about being deceived by others, I thought about the actions I might engage in that produce deceit, I thought about how I respond to deceit, and I focused rather consistently on how we allow ourselves to be deceived when it comes to the various elements of our relationship with God.
And then I thought ~ why don’t we talk about Satan that much? After all, isn’t he the father of lies, the great deceiver?
Personally, when I experience separation from God and a lack of connection my immediate response is self-criticism. What am I doing or not doing that is preventing me from experiencing the peace and presence of God? I transition into analytical mode (well ~ I’m likely already there) and I begin my checklist review of possible contributing factors. Satan doesn’t typically make the cut.
Now, before I make it sound like I am completely absolved of any responsibility ~ let’s not forget the power of choice ~ I am 100% capable of choosing or not choosing to respond to, or more accurately fall prey to, believing the lies I encounter. That being said, I thought long and hard about the ways in which Satan uses my natural inclinations and character to deceive me in my relationship with God. And, surprisingly (please read thick sarcasm here) I settled on my gift obsession passion for analysis. Is that aspect of my identity wrong? Well, in the spirit of challenging lies with truth, if I believe the absolute authenticity of God’s word ~ the answer has to be no. “I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful” (Psalm 139:14).
My capacity for evaluation is wonderful.
But, doesn’t it make sense that Satan would attempt to use those characteristics that are innate features of our unique creation to deceive us into believing our actions/failures separate us from God? Umm…YES!
In recognizing this, I am able to see the ways in which my desire for answers and meaning in the experiences of my life can sometimes cause me to be deceived in my relationship with God. The truth is ~ when I am trying to establish the plan or figure out what purpose certain incidents in my life serve, I am dangerously susceptible to the deceitful belief that God determines a cause and effect for every detail of my life journey.
Thankfully, God is always faithful to respond with truth when we are faced with the ugly reality of deception. This was His response to me:
“You’re asking the wrong question. You’re looking for someone to blame. There is no such cause-effect here. Look instead for what God can do” (John 9:3 The Message).
I will not always receive answers or understand the meaning of certain circumstances in my life. And when I’m hell-bent on resolution, it’s likely I’m asking the wrong question and consequently teetering on following the path of deception. The truth is this: the imperative element is not ~ how does this circumstance affect me? But instead ~ how can God be glorified? Take that Satan.
Truth: 1 Deceit: 0