Richard Weirich

How We Deceive Ourselves

How We Deceive Ourselves

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.

James 1:22

Did you know a third of college graduates never work in the fields in which they were trained? That’s not a bad thing. We by necessity go where we can find jobs. Sometimes those careers turn out better than following earlier aspirations.

I am a trained musician, but only four years of my life were devoted to that profession. One day I realized that it wasn’t in my best long-term interest to follow that dream.

There’s nothing wrong with abandoning dreams and vocations for which we’ve been trained — and replacing them with new ones. Like the old Frank Sinatra hit song, “That’s Life.”

But when it comes to Christian training, veering from that course is a mistake. What we’ve learned — we must do.

Now, one problem may be we’re not paying attention. Do you really listen to the preacher’s sermon? Are you really attentive in Sunday School or Bible Study? Or are you off in another world, zoned out, thinking about something else?

To be doers of the word, we must pay attention. An interesting thing happens with the word of God. You can read a verse today, but when you read it tomorrow, it speaks to you in a bold new way. Why? Because the Holy Spirit illuminates God’s word. Keeps it fresh and relevant. God’s word never changes, but it can change in the way it speaks to our circumstances.

If all the ministers in your community were assigned a scripture text from which they were to prepare a sermon, would they all preach the same message? No. There would be many similarities, but also differences. Of course, the human element will be involved, but also the leading of the Holy Spirit.

My point here is, God continually adds something fresh and new to your training. Don’t tune it out because you THINK you’ve heard it before.

The Lord is always teaching and growing you in the faith. Your education won’t be completed until Jesus takes you home. There’s always something new to learn.

Much of what we learn as Christians is on the job training. We hear it, learn it, and then we’re tested. Life presents many pop quizzes, opportunities to apply what we’ve learned. Get it right and move onto something else.

James teaches that failure to put our Christian education into practice leads to deception. The Greek word translated “deceive” was a mathematical term that meant to miscalculate. God’s training provides the formula for addressing life’s problems. Following His instruction leads to right answers. Refusing the Lord’s counsel results in deception — miscalculation.

Like the Nike slogan, “Just do it.”

So, what are you facing today? What problem or concern weighs heavily on your mind? God has a strategy for handling it. It may be so simple as prayer and trust. Sometimes that’s the only instruction that applies. But it is enough.

How do you feel when someone deceives you? Hurt? Angry? Betrayed? Sick? Nobody likes to be taken advantage of.

Our world has many deceivers and many deceptions. Makes sense doesn’t it? Satan is the ruler of this world (John 12:31), the great deceiver whose mission is to lead man astray. (Revelation 12:9)

With all the deception going on why would we want to deceive ourselves? Let us act upon God’s word. Like James said, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”

For more on this topic, check out this article: Why the Bible Is the Greatest Book Ever Written

Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 4 (October – December) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.

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