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April 19, 2024 | Daily Devotionals | April 19

The Subtlety of Self-Deception


Sound thinking makes for gracious living, but liars walk a rough road.  Proverbs 13:15, MSG


How many believers have you encountered who gave the appearance that everything was solidly put together on the outside, but inside life was full of pain from relational, moral, spiritual, and emotional traumas? So often what we see underneath is an undiagnosed or untreated spiritual fracture in a person’s relationship with the Holy Spirit. By default that person loses his functional power of his spiritual life to help him grow, change, heal, and experience health in his relationship with God and people. These men try to move things forward but they just don’t have the inner strength and spiritual power to do it; they don’t know the “how to” so for them ignorance incapacitates.


The most prominent way our relationship with the Holy Spirit is broken is through lies and self-deception. We lie to the Holy Spirit when we wear the mask of faith in order to deliver pleasure, satisfaction, or approval to our flesh. His character will not allow deception of any kind. A dramatic example of this is the story of Ananias and Sapphira, who were wealthy landowners and members of the church in Jerusalem. They sold a piece of property but held back part of the profits as they gave the rest to the church. Peter’s exchange with Ananias is intense:


“Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied just to human beings but to God.” ––Acts 5:3-5


So, hand slap? Church discipline? Uh, no. The next verse says, “When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died” (v. 6). Deception is serious business, folks. The thing is, could Ananias have died from natural causes? No, because when Peter questions his wife, who doesn’t know her husband is dead—she lies too and Peter announces her death before it happens. Deception starts in the heart and moves from self-deception to outward lies. Will God kill you if you lie? Probably not (thankfully), but lies kill us slowly, even if not on the spot in such dramatic fashion. 


Many Christians don’t know how to move out of deception because they don’t know what spiritual fractures look like when it comes to their relationship with the Holy Spirit. Satan’s work is subtle; always examine your motives. The good news is that regardless of the severity of the fracture it can be realigned like a broken bone in our body. He is still in our physical body, still being held together by the structure of faith and still holding the potential to powerfully heal us and make us spiritually stronger than we were before.  He wants you to be filled with the Holy Spirit, so ask Him. He loves you.


Father, help me to be true to myself and others.

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