Dear friends,

I have a problem with self-deception. A big part of my problem is that I do not think I deceive myself. I think other people have problems with self-deception, but I do not. So, it is hard for me to write “I have a problem with self-deception.” I do not like saying it or confessing it.

You also have a problem with self-deception. What I have written above is probably true of you, as well. Like me, you believe other people have problems with self-deception. Like me, you believe that your problem with self-deception is very minor, especially compared with other people.

Listen to the Bible. There is a very small selection!

Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. 1 Corinthians 3:18

For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself AND Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. Galatians 6: 3 and 7.

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. AND If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. James 1: 22 and 26

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 1 John 1: 8

The Bible’s teaching is not all “doom and gloom”. Remember the regular teaching in Ezekiel, summarized in the words of The Book of Common Prayer, “God takes no delight in the death of the sinner, but rather, that we may turn from our wickedness and live!” So the Bible warns us of the problem of self-deception to humble us; to make us aware of the problem; and to lead us to call out to the Lord for clarity and freedom.   Listen to Romans 12: 1-2. This marks a big transition in the book of Romans. For 11 chapters Paul has explained the Gospel. Now he turns and addresses the question, “How shall we then live, if we have received the Gospel and are gripped by the Gospel?” These two verses summarize the answer. Here is what the Bible says, I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (All passages from the ESV translation)

So, we are warned – we are prone to self-deception. But the Lord desires us to die to self-deception and have our minds renewed by the Gospel.

Pray that the Lord will pour out the Holy Spirit upon you, helping you to be gripped by the Gospel as you read the Bible. Please pray for me, too!

George +