The Wolf Within: Guarding Against a Deceitful Heart

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Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, -Ephesians 6:13-18

“Keep alert with all perseverance”...We know that we must be alert for the deception that comes from wolves in sheep’s clothing who come to lead astray even the elect. We want to recognize them when they are amongst us and not be easily led from the truth. This then requires some self-examination for it does not say “forced astray.” To be led requires that one follows. We need to examine what makes us vulnerable to following blind guides and listening to false prophets. Ask any illusionist, deception is not something forced upon us, deceivers rely on our own participation in deceiving ourselves, seeing what we want to see, appealing to what we want to believe. What is it that makes us weak of mind or of principle and easily misguided? According to scripture, it is our wandering eyes and wandering hearts that catch us unawares:

“But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and care of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap.”  Luke 21:34

Deceivers rely on our own participation in deceiving ourselves

Do we allow our hearts to be weighed down by cares? Do we allow ourselves to be given over to pleasures and indulgences that soften our resolve and make our consciences weak? What kind of guard are we placing around our hearts to protect from such things? Are we relying on the empty incantation of the memorized word of God, the daily routine of dutiful reading and memorization? Or is the word of God alive and active in our lives and causing our minds to be renewed and expanded? Are we sharpening ourselves or merely insulating ourselves? Are we making provision for our flesh (Romans 13:12-14) by allowing it to flourish untamed in strictly controlled and sterile environments? Or are we keeping our hearts from immorality, from bitterness, from jealousy and rivalry, but putting on the whole armor of God?

The truth is that we cannot guard against deception by our own strength or according to our own efforts. Even scripture studied by our own unrenewed minds and pursued for our own ends will be subject to twisting according to the desires of our own deceitful hearts if we are not in ourselves subject to the spirit of God. That is why we are told to pray at all times in the spirit.” Every human effort will be corrupted and corruptible apart from the continuous Lordship of the Holy Spirit, without which we will always be subject to our own apathy, our own desire for comfort, and even our pursuit of the word of God, of obedience to him, of his good gifts, will dissolve under the weight of our fleshly desires and turn to asceticism or licentiousness. Only when he creates in us a clean heart and renews a right spirit within us are we guarded against the evil day. We must be alert and diligent that we never cast ourselves out of his presence by seeking our pleasure and comfort above his purpose and thus becoming again like those who are asleep.

We must be alert and diligent that we never cast ourselves out of his presence

So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. -1 Thessalonians 5:6-8

posted by Daily,
October 31 18

Daily Nourish serves to encourage Christians to honor God with all their heart, mind, soul & strength and to love their neighbor as themselves. Thanks for stopping by!

Davina

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