His House

The Great Deception

What I believe to be one of the greatest deceptions of our modern age is moving forcefully and prosperously ahead, and many of those who are caught in the terrible grip of this deception are those who are firmly grounded in scripture, and many have a strong hunger for God and the things of God. Could you be one of the deceived ones? If you say, "No, I cannot be deceived", then you have the prerequisite for just such deception.

The deception of which I write is a true deception of the enemy with a definite purpose and strategy. However, those who are bound by this deception are often viewed by others around them as either very upright spiritual people, or as basically Godly people with perhaps one prominent character flaw, but few people recognize the true import, the true scope or power of this slavery to the enemy's will in his attack against the church in this last day.

Those bound by this deception believe they are doing the will of God, when in reality they are doing the will of the enemy. Let me explain. Those bound by this deception believe they are speaking God's word when they spew out criticism and slander against the brethren. They believe they are exercising wisdom and discernment when they see the brethren through the eyes of a critical spirit. They believe they are gifted with insight and light that causes them to see faults in the brethren. Those bound by this deception believe they are speaking under the anointing or unction of the Holy Ghost, when in reality they are speaking with a soulish fervor fed by the fires of the enemy's hatred for God's people, and by the anger, frustration, and emptiness that plagues the soul that was once filled with God's Spirit and love but has been left with the vacant shell of empty doctrine. They believe their purpose in their local church is to be a thorn in the side of their obviously less spiritual leadership, rather than to lay down their life by daily taking up their cross and serving their leadership and the lowliest of their brethren. These find that they can't intercede for their leaders or their brethren, for when they bare this person's name before the Lord, they find they can do nothing but the work of the accuser himself. How do I know of what I write? I was one of these deceived ones.

In the late 80's, a man with a strong prophetic anointing ministered in our church one Sunday morning. This man spoke of the things of God and the ways of God. This experience awakened a tremendous hunger within me to know God, and I began to seek the Lord, and the Lord, in his great mercy began to send light. I thought everyone in our church heard what I heard in that man's messages, and I was sure that our young adults group would begin seeking the Lord and seeking a visitation of God, as I had begun, and at least one of the leaders of the group did for a short time, but quickly turned away and our group immediately returned to nothing more than a social group with "sound biblical teaching" but none of the presence of God.

I was very disturbed by this, and began to get frustrated with the leadership and the group. I was part of the leadership, but had very limited influence on the direction of the group, and began to resent the other leaders for not desiring more of God. In other words, I was so selfish that I resented those who I saw as a hindrance to getting what I wanted, rather than as brothers and sisters for whom I was to lay down my life in love and service. I wanted God! I wanted to see God move! I wanted to spend time seeking God and waiting in His presence, but they just wanted to "play games"!

As I began to see my desires and motives as more noble and spiritual than theirs, suddenly, covertly, the pride that had always resided hidden within began to feed my self-righteousness and I began my journey into bondage and deception, ironically at the same time that I had just begun my journey to know God. You see, the prerequisite for being deceived by this great deception of which I write is not strange thinking or unsound doctrine or even carnal desires; it's PRIDE. God HATES pride, and it is the one character flaw that will actually cause God to oppose you rather than help you. Remember I wrote earlier that if you think you cannot be deceived, then you have the prerequisite for just such deception. This is because pride will convince you that others may be deceived, but you have something others do not, but let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall (1 Cor 10:12 KJV). Pride is the prerequisite for deception.

During this time of seeking God, my family and I began meeting once a week to worship the Lord and to listen to tapes which we received from a lending library in another state. We had glorious times in the Lord's presence, and we began to understand some of the deeper truths of God's word, but something was lacking in our lives. We didn't know it was lacking, or actually completely missing, for we really had no example with which to compare ourselves, and even if we would have had such an example, our pride would not have allowed us to see such an example as something to strive for, but would have caused us to see it as something below us. This thing that was lacking in our lives is something that is more essential than the light of truth. In fact, without this substance in one's heart and life, light can be turned to darkness. This thing, this substance that was missing is love - the love of God. Though I understand all mysteries, and all knowledge...and have not love, I am nothing (1 Cor. 13:2 KJV). Beware when you think that being right makes you right.  It doesn't. You can have the right doctrine and the wrong heart or motive, and this makes you wrong! Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up (1 Cor. 8:1 NIV). You see, knowledge without love breeds self-righteousness, which feeds off of the pride that resides in fallen man.

THE PREREQUISITE FOR DECEPTION

The prerequisite for deception is pride. Pride resides in fallen man and is one of the things from which Christ must save us, and pride creates self-righteousness when pride turns religious. Pride turns religious when we gain knowledge without love, for Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up (1 Cor. 8:1 NIV). How can you know if you are walking in pride? Only the light of God can expose our true motives and nature, but there are some indicators that will expose pride very clearly when God's light illuminates them, and I pray that He will send you light and reveal pride in your heart as He has done, and is doing in mine. Pride is opposed to love, for love does not boast, it is not proud (1 Cor. 13:4 NIV). Therefore, you cannot walk in pride and walk in love.

Honor all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king (1 Pet. 2:17 KJV).  To honor all men means to show proper respect or to think of others as just as valuable as or more valuable than yourself. Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought... (Rom. 12:3 NIV).  Do you find yourself calling another by their last name only? Has President Clinton become "Clinton", or has brother Smith, or Pastor Smith become simply "Smith"? Such subtle expressions of dishonor indicate that you are walking in pride and not love. You wouldn't call the president or your pastor by only his last name to his face because you know this is a sign of disrespect.  Therefore, you are not honoring him in your heart when you do this behind his back, and you are teaching your children to dishonor adults and the leadership that God has placed in authority. Remember that Miriam rejected the leadership God had set up and she was smitten with leprosy (Numbers 12:2-10). The leprosy was an outward sign of the sin of pride in her heart.

I know of several people who spend much of their time posting messages to the Calvary Chapel news group on the Internet, and when referring to pastor Chuck Smith, they write his name "Check $mith". These poor brothers believe with all of their hearts that they are justified in such a gross act of dishonor, for pride has convinced them that another man's motives are wrong and their motives are, of course, pure. Any time you feel justified in dishonoring another because of their sin or apparent character flaws, you are blatantly disobeying God's word, and pride has blinded you to your sin and magnified theirs, which it will always do, for pride never allows us to see ourselves as we are, but creates for us a deception; an allusion made in the image of our own ego and sense of self importance.

Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble (1 Pet 3:8 NIV). Here we see that compassion and pride are mutually exclusive. When you see another stricken by tragedy, do you show compassion or do you see it as the just punishment for their sin? Job's comforters are an example of knowledge without love - pride. They came to comfort Job, but were compelled by what they believed to be truth to correct him, to accuse him, to add to his sorrow and pain rather than to bear some of his pain for him. They were zealous for the truth and willing to fight to uphold truth. Do you bear the pain of others, or are you compelled to tell them what you know, to speak the truth whether they like it or not? Job's friend said, "Listen to me and I will explain to you; let me tell you what I have seen" (Job 15:17 NIV). Remember, being right doesn't make you right. Job's friends spoke much truth, but God said to them, "I am angry with you and with your two friends, for you have not been right in what you said about me, as my servant job was" (Job 42:7 NLT). When you see tragedy strike another do you see it as God's just judgment for sin? If so, let me ask you this: why doesn't your sin deserve such judgment in your own eyes? Because pride blinds us to our sinfulness, but opens our eyes to sin in others. In the midst of the pain and sorrow and the grief over the loss of Job's children, pride had the audacity to say to him, "Your children obviously sinned against him, so their punishment was well deserved" (Job 8:4 NLT).

Another earmark of pride is that it wants God to reprove another in order to vindicate us. Have you ever had someone publicly disagree with you and your hope was that God would speak to them and reprove them, forcing them to come beg for your forgiveness? Job's friend said, "Oh, how I wish that God would speak, that he would open his lips against you” (Job 11:5 NIV).  God did speak, but He didn't tell Job's friend what he wanted to hear. When God speaks, He doesn't exalt our ego, telling us that our doctrine is right. No, He speaks to the attitudes of heart that only He can see. If we want God to speak we had better be willing to be humbled before God and the brethren.

I want to earnestly warn you, so take head. Pride is more dangerous than you know, and I wish I could express the danger inherent in pride, but I can’t. Why is pride so dangerous? Why is it the prerequisite for deception? Because God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble (1 Pet 5:5 KJV). If all of hell resists you, how could it prevail against God's grace, but if God resists you, what hope have you? One of the seven things that God hates is a proud look (Prov. 6:16,17 KJV). Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall (Prov. 16:18 KJV).

THE SIGNS OF PRIDE

As I mentioned earlier, when my family and I began to seek the Lord, we began to see a higher standard than that which the church at large was experiencing. Although we could see the higher standard, we hadn't come into that which we saw, yet my brother and I felt justified in putting forth our finger, pointing out the flaws and shortcomings of individuals, churches, denominations, and God's people as a whole. We would sit for hours and berate others, speaking authoritatively of how it should be and how far below the standard everyone was. We would say, "Amen, that's right!", and I'm sure much, maybe even most of what we said was right, but it was WRONG! We were deceived. We had given ourselves over to a critical spirit, and we believed that God was critical and angry with what He saw in the church, just as we were.

How did we become deceived? Pay very close attention to this! I'm going to give you the means by which deception invades a life. How did we become deceived? We believed that knowing was the same as being. In other words, we were hearers of the word and not doers. We knew about the things of God but had not come into much of them. We knew that God was a holy God and that the church needed to be cleansed, but we had not come into deep cleansings ourselves. I knew this to be true, and it always troubled me in the back of my mind, but I certainly didn't see any reason to stop "proclaiming God's word", to stop putting forth the finger. What little love was in our hearts had been completely replaced by a critical spirit, and we who had such light were deceived into thinking we were proclaiming God's word and doing God's will, when in fact, we were being used by the enemy to destroy God's people. Remember, the scripture says, "But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves" (James 1:22 KJV). Hearing and reading and studying the word in order to preach it to others rather than to learn to please Christ is hearing only and will lead to deception. God told Ezekiel to eat the role, then to preach it (Ez. 3:3).

I can't emphasize this enough! knowing is not the same as being. "But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves". Don't deceive yourself by feeling secure or spiritual because you know God's word or ways! If your level of knowledge far exceeds your level of experience, and you feel spiritual, then you my friend are in deception. The bible says that "the kingdom of God is not in word but in power" (I Cor 4:20 KJV). In other words, the Christian life is to be experiential, not theoretical. We are to be experiencing Christ, not learning about Him. All doctrine or instruction should lead us into a deeper experience with God, or it will simply lead us into deception if we deceive ourselves into believing that knowledge about God is an end in itself. Remember, love builds up, but knowledge puffs up. Knowledge without love breeds pride, and knowledge without experience will lead to deception.

THE CRITICAL SPIRIT

One of the lies of this great deception is the belief that God is critical. God is not critical, but the enemy is. The spirit of criticism is critical, and when you look with a critical eye and speak with a critical tongue, you are agreeing with that spirit and allowing him to hold you captive. The following are examples of how the critical spirit thinks and acts:

1. When someone recommends a book, or when you pick up a book in the Christian book store, do you read it looking for error?

2. When you go to a concert or hear a minister, do you listen for something wrong, something you can criticize, and when you hear it, do you dismiss the singer or minister as having nothing from God? Or, conversely, do you listen for what may please the Lord or for a truth that may apply to you?

3. Is there something in you that desires to separate yourself from people, churches, and ministers whom you feel are below your spiritual level?

4. If someone extols someone in any way, do you find yourself pointing out that person's character flaws or lack of knowledge of God and the deeper things of God?

5. Do most of the people you know appear to be less righteous or less sanctified than yourself?

6. Here's a simple one: do you see and speak of faults in others? Do you see character flaws in others?

You see, the deception is this: you actually begin to believe that when you look with a critical eye upon others you are seeing what God is showing you through the light of revelation, through the insight that comes from walking in God's presence and knowing God. You believe that you are seeing what God sees, and are grieved with sin just as God is. You feel you are upholding God's standard of righteousness and are one of those marked ones who "sigh and cry for all the abominations" committed by those professing faith in Christ. You then become grieved at the lack of understanding of God's ways and the lack of desire for more of God in His people. It all sounds and seems so right! However, it is a DECEPTION! You have been deceived by your own pride turned religious.  You are a self-righteous hypocrite. It is a deception, for God does not look on his own ones with a critical eye, but with love, a love so great it is a violent raging fire burning in the furnace of God's own heart. Yes, violent. God's love for you is of such intensity, were He to expose all of it to you at once you would be consumed, and God not only loves you with such intense love, but he loves your brother and sister with that same intensity. “Can it be”, you wonder? Oh, yes, it's true, and you know what else is true? You are no better than those that you despise. I promise you with all of the authority of God's word, that if not for God's grace, there is no sin of which you are not capable. Only God's grace restrains you from committing sins you have said you could never commit, but remember, God gives grace to the humble and resists the proud. If you continue in your critical self-righteous fault-finding, you are forcing God to lift his grace from you and you will fall; it is just a matter of time. Someone once said that our current judgments father our future failures.

Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind (I Pet. 2:4 NIV). Above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins (I Pet. 4:8 KJV). In other words, love each other with that fervent love, that love that is violent in its intensity, that love that covers a multitude of sins.

Let me just write a note about insight. Some of you may have prophetic giftings or anointings which will allow you to see things others cannot see. However, even if your revelation is true revelation, it will be skewed by pride. In other words, you may see what is wrong in the church, but because you are looking through critical eyes rather than eyes of love, you will only have criticism, but no real answers to the problems you see. When God reveals problems, he also reveals solutions! Not so with the critical spirit. He only reveals problems.

SLANDER

As I continued to seek God over the years he began to deal with me about slander. I could not see that I was in deception and that the critical spirit was not of God, but had I simply obeyed what His word says about slander, light would have come into my heart and life and would have begun to expose and drive out the darkness. However, I did not obey His word, and I continued to become more critical of God's people for either their blindness or lack of desire for God. Finally, I got so sick of God's people, I became deceived by my own heart into believing that God was directing me to leave the church I was attending. Proverbs 18:1 (NAS) says, "He who separates himself, seeks his own desire". God is not a separatist. God's desire is not to divide His church, but that we all may be one. Oh, He will divide the sheep from the goats and the harlot from the bride, but don't you try to do it. Remember, many of those you despise are those who are in a place of maturity and growth that you yourself were in many years ago, and if you will remember, you were following God with all of the capacity that you had at the time. Or, those you despise are those who have sin and rebellion in their life that is no worse than the sin or rebellion in your own, such as the sin of slander. So, God does not want us to separate ourselves from those whom we view as less spiritual, but to love and serve and pray for them.

Soon after I separated myself from God's people and left the church I was attending, I woke up one day and God's presence was gone. God's presence was gone from my life, and I began traveling a road to hell, which led me into sin of which I believed I was not capable.  I had become such a cancer in the body of Christ that He vomited me out of His body for several years.  After loosing much self-righteousness and storing up much shame, Jesus passed by one day, and saved my wretched soul.

Has Jesus tried dealing with you about slander? Quit ignoring Him, do what He says.  Slander is sin, it is wrong, period! Whoso privily slandereth his neighbor, him will I cut off; him that hath an high look and a proud heart will not I suffer. (Psalm 101:5 KJV)

He that hideth hatred with lying lips, and he that uttereth a slander, is a fool (Prov. 10:18 KJV).  An hypocrite with his mouth destroyeth his neighbor: but through knowledge shall the just be delivered (Prov. 11:9 KJV). He that is void of wisdom despiseth his neighbor: but a man of understanding holdeth his peace (Prov. 11:12 KJV).

Thou sittest and speakest against thy brother; thou slanderest thine own mother's son. These things hast thou done, and I kept silence; thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself: but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes (Psalm 50:20, 21 KJV). Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me: and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew the salvation of God (Psalm 50:23 KJV).

SIGNS OF DECEPTION

When you become deceived by pride, self-righteousness and a critical spirit, you will begin to believe the lies that the enemy tells you about others, and remember, they will sound so righteous and true  (Job 4:12-21).

Remember we saw that love and compassion are opposed to pride and self-righteousness. Job's friends came to comfort him in all the affliction that he was suffering, but instead of feeling compelled to comfort their brother, they felt compelled to contend for what they believed to be truth: in their case, it was the doctrine that God blesses the righteous and punishes the wicked. They knew that their doctrine couldn't be wrong, so Job had to be a hypocrite, and they were going to preach what they believed to be truth, not yet knowing that Job was a righteous man and that God was bigger than their doctrine. Eliphaz said to Job, "but consider the joy of those corrected by God! do not despise the chastening of the almighty when you sin” (Job 5:17 NLT). In verse 8 of the same chapter he said, "my advice to you is this: Go to God and present your case to him." Elihu said to Job, "Therefore I say: Listen to me; I too will tell you what I know” (Job 32:10 NIV). Do you give advice to the brethren, rather than loving the brethren?

Job answered his friend, "one should be kind to a fainting friend, but you have accused me without the slightest fear of the Almighty. Stop assuming my guilt, for I am righteous. Don't be so unjust” (Job 6:14, 29 NLT). Those who are self-righteous and deceived are unkind, even cruel, and always assume the guilt of others. More examples of the cruelty of the self-righteous can be found in the following verses: "Then Bildad the Shuhite replied to Job: How long will you go on like this? Your words are a blustering wind. Does God twist justice? Does the Almighty twist what is right? Your children obviously sinned against him, so their punishment was well deserved” (Job 8:1-4 NLT). "If only God would speak; if only he would tell you what he thinks!" (Job 11:5 NLT). "You are supposed to be a wise man, and yet you give us all this foolish talk. You are nothing but a windbag” (Job 15:2 NLT). More examples of pride can be seen in these verses: "If you will listen, I will answer you from my own experience” (Job 15:17 NLT). "Do you think we are cattle? Do you think we have no intelligence?" (Job 18:3 NLT). Finally Job pleads with his comforters turned tormentors, "how long will you torture me? How long will you try to break me with your words? Ten times now you have meant to insult me. You should be ashamed of dealing with me so harshly. Have mercy on me, my friends, have mercy, for the hand of God has struck me” (Job 19:2, 3, 21 NLT).

In Job 20:2,3 Zophar says to Job, "I must reply because I am greatly disturbed. I have had to endure your insults, but now my spirit prompts me to reply." In this passage we see three keys that indicate a self-righteous correction of our brother or sister. First of all, he said he was "greatly disturbed". When the deceived looks at the brethren, they become disturbed and feel compelled to say something. Have you ever kept yourself awake at night preaching a sermon to yourself over and over, declaring the truths (with great clarity of mind) that your accused needs to hear? If so, you are preaching the sermon of pride and self-righteousness and not bearing the burden of love. You are seeing a mote in your brother's eye that appears so clear and in such a simple and exposed position for removal, but it is all a mirage, a deception created by the accuser who has deceived you into thinking you see clearly, when in fact, you have a beam in your own eye - the beam of pride and self-righteousness. Notice that when you see the speck in another's eye, you feel no concern for injuring their eye by sticking your finger in it. Your motive is not love, or caring for their eye, but rather a zeal for what you perceive as truth. However, the truth is, you are blind, blinded by your beam to the fact that love is the end and without love, you will injure one who may already be wounded or sick. Secondly, we see another key that indicates a self-righteous correction of a brother when Zophar said, "I have had to endure your insults". Pride defends itself against insults. Lastly, Zophar said, "my spirit prompts me to reply". The deceived feels compelled to respond with "truth", and sometimes believes their self-righteous critical zeal to be the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

At one time, my older sister was trying to understand and reconcile the teachings of a group of believers that she felt drawn to. She was asking questions of one of the men, and was sharing what she new to be truth as taught by a true man of God, whom we shall call "Brother Don". The brother with whom she was having this discussion became very zealous, and with what may have been seen as aggression, began to demand of my sister, "Ask Brother Don what he says about this!", and "Ask Brother Don what he says about that!". My sister felt as though she was being attacked, so she promptly ended the "discussion". The next time she saw this brother with whom she had this discussion, he apologized to her for causing her to feel she was under attack, but said that his fervency was caused by the "Spirit". He truly believed his critical zeal to be the unction of the Holy Ghost.

Finally the deception becomes so great that the deceived believes the opposite of the truth and accuses the brother of every manner of sin, believing it to be true. The deceived one actually does the work of the accuser of the brethren. Anyone who accuses their brother is doing the work of the Devil. In Job 25:2-6 we see the false humility of the accuser trying to humble the accused, his religious words "glorifying" God in a show of prideful religiosity: "God is powerful and dreadful. He enforces peace in the heavens. Who is able to count his heavenly army? does his light not shine on all the earth? How can a mere mortal stand before God and claim to be righteous? Who in all the earth is pure? God is so glorious that even the moon and stars scarcely shine compared to Him. How much less are mere people, who are but worms in his sight?" (Job 25:2-6 NLT). In Elihu's words we see the anger of the accuser: "But when he saw that they had no further reply, he spoke out angrily" (Job 32:5 NLT). In Job 32:6-7 and Job 33:1-7 we see his false humility: "Elihu son of Barakel the Buzite said, 'I am young and you are old, so I held back and did not dare to tell you what I think. I thought, "those who are older should speak, for wisdom comes with age”'" (Job 32:6,7 NLT). "Listen, Job, to what I have to say. Now that I have begun to speak, let me continue. I speak with all sincerity; I speak the truth. For the Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life. Answer me, if you can; make your case and take your stand. Look, you and I are the same before God. I, too, was formed from clay. So you don't need to be afraid of me. I am not some great person to make you nervous and afraid” (Job 33:1-7 NLT).

Finally, pride will force the deceived one to believe absolute lies about another, and in the darkened state of deception and under the influence of a critical spirit, the deceived one will do the work of the accuser of the brethren, just as Eliphaz did in the following verse: "Is not thy wickedness great? and thine iniquities infinite? For thou hast taken a pledge from thy brother for nought, and stripped the naked of their clothing. Thou hast not given water to the weary to drink, and thou hast withholden bread from the hungry. But as for the mighty man, he had the earth : and the honorable man dwelt in it. Thou hast sent widows away empty, and the arms of the fatherless have been broken” (Job 22:5-9 KJV). Job, a man who had given water to the thirsty and bread to the hungry, and had plead the cause of the widows and the fatherless, was accused of the very opposite by Eliphaz, and remember, this Eliphaz was the one who had the spirit come to him in secret telling him, "can a man be more righteous than God?" (Job 4:12-21).

One Sunday, as our pastor was preaching, I began seeing all kinds of things wrong with him and hearing all kinds of things wrong with his message. All of what I saw and heard with my mind looked and sounded so right, even so obvious, that I was almost convinced it was truth. However, I recognized the voice of the critical spirit which had come to talk in my ear, and I began to resist this spirit, and eventually he fled from me, and I began to see his deception for what it was. However, had I begun to agree with this critical spirit, I know without a doubt that spirit would have attached itself to me, and would have begun to drag me back into the deception from which God had delivered me. When you hear critical words in your mind, resist them! Don't agree with them, and especially do not speak them! Resist the enemy and he will flee from you. "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsover things are pure, whatsover things lovely, whatsover things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Eph. 4:8 KJV).

Remember, everyone starts out a babe and must grow into adulthood. You don't take out a sword and kill a child because he is not earning his way in the world or because he is not supporting others. You don't despise a child for playing in the sunshine when there is so much work to be done in the world. Why? Because he's a child. Well, quit despising those who are spiritual children, even if they are in places of authority, and recognize that God loves them as much as he loves you, and God is at work in them just as He is at work in you.

One other warning: your own critical spirit can rob others of not only a blessing from God, but of the life of God itself. Your critical spirit can serve to undermine the confidence your spouse or children have in a ministry that may be God's source for impartation of life to them, and because their confidence is undermined, or even turned to bitterness or mistrust, they can be cut off from God's chosen channel of blessing.

We had an evangelist come to our church one day in whom I immediately saw something wrong, but, knowing my own past deception, I resisted my impulses and chose by an act of will to overlook his faults and to open my heart to his ministry. I said nothing negative to my wife (girlfriend at the time) about the minister, and we attended his next service, the service in which my wife was to be born of God, under the ministry of this man, under a ministry that may or may not have been all that pleasing to God.

LOVE IS THE BEGINNING AND THE END

Remember, God said, "I am the beginning and the end", and God is love, therefore love is the beginning and the end. The bible says to "speak the truth in love", so as we saw earlier, truth without love breads self-righteousness and pride, and tends to injure and bring death. Love must be the motivation behind and the goal of truth. Love is the beginning and the end.

WHAT MUST I DO?

Are you one of these deceived ones? Here's a good test: The next time your spirit is troubled and you have that empty disturbed feeling inside, see if your first instinct is to put forth the finger and speak evil of another, especially a brother. The next time you hear a sermon, see if you listen for error or hypocrisy. The next time you meet someone, see if you attempt to ascertain their spiritual state or level, so you can determine if they are above or below you, and if you determine that they are below you, which will most often be the case, see if you then dismiss what they have to say about God. Lastly, let me say with much earnestness, almost as an intrepid plea, if while you read this article, you can think of others to whom this applies, brother or sister, you are in trouble! Read it again, and force yourself to examine your own heart, and don't ignore the warning signs! Heaven and hell are at stake, and not for you only, but for those over whom you hold influence or authority. Examine yourself before it's too late. Yes, it will be painful, and you have much to loose, but oh, you have so much to gain.

If you see in yourself some or many of the signs of pride and self-righteousness covered in this article, then you must take action. You must obey God's word concerning your tongue. As you begin to attempt to bridle your tongue, you will begin to recognize that you cannot, and your eyes will begin to open to the fact that you have given yourself over to PRIDE, SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS, AND A CRITICAL SPIRIT. Once you recognize this, the enemy has lost the battle for your soul, for his only power over you, is the power of deception.

If you truly see your sin, you will see yourself as having been totally deceived and deluded. You will see that you have been used far more by the enemy than you have by God, and you will see your sin as exceedingly sinful. Until this happens, keep seeking God to open your eyes, and when he does, confess your sin to your brothers and sisters and humbly ask their forgiveness. You will then have to walk in repentance, for repentance is not an event, but a walk. You will have to constantly turn away from pride, evil speaking, and criticism, toward humility, love, and intercession.

IN CLOSING

If you are one of God’s remnant whom he has called out of "Christendom" by calling you to the mountain heights, let me tell you why you find yourself bound within the prison walls of the death-filled, poverty stricken, and darkened city of "Christendom". You may feel that your place is to live within this city bound for destruction in order to decry its abominations and to teach its residents of the mountainous regions. Not so, dear brother. Your place is the mountain heights. God has called you out, but your pride has forced God to resist you. Only God’s grace, which is reserved for the humble, can lead you out of this city and along the path that leads up to the mountains. Your place is not within its prison walls of sin and religion, studying the mountains and teaching others. No, your calling is to ascend the mountains, not to study them! Humble yourself! Admit to God and yourself of your own poverty, and cry out to God to save you from Sodom and lead you to the mountains of Canaan, where, like Lot, you should have been all along  (Gen 13:11,12).

I lived a whole lifetime with besetting sins and my father’s iniquities, knowing of the mountain heights, but unable to escape the chains of sin and self and the prison walls of "Christendom". Why? Because God could not cleanse me of iniquity and my besetting sins while I was walking in pride. Had He done so, it would have destroyed me, and I would have destroyed many others.  Because of my pride and critical spirit, I had become a cancer in the body of Christ, and because of the danger I had become to God’s people, the Lord finally spit me out of His mouth (out of His body).

If you are walking in pride and self-righteousness, one thing I know from experience is you are a slave to a besetting sin. Do you want to be free from your besetting sin? You will have to repent and humble yourself before God and others. You will have to walk in repentance, constantly turning away from self and pride toward God and humility.

Humble yourself before God and recognize that you yourself live within the walls of "Christendom" with all the others bound for destruction. The only difference between you and them may be that God has shown you that there are mountains. If this is so, and you do not find your way to the mountains, then you will be destroyed with the others, but your judgment will be greater. Can you imagine that? Your judgment may be greater than those that you see as "children of wrath".

Remember, dear brother or sister, knowing is not the same as being. Just because you know about the mountains doesn’t mean you live there. Quit talking about the sin and deception and darkness inside the city walls, and GET OUT! Find your way to the mountains and then you can go back and lead others out.  Humble yourself before it’s too late to find your way to the mountains. Seek the LORD, all you humble of the land, you who do what he commands. Seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps you will be sheltered on the day of the LORD's anger (Zep. 2:3 NIV).

If you are spewing out criticism and slander and are causing division or strife in the church, you have been deceived by the accuser of the brethren himself into the belief that you are fighting in God’s army, when in fact, you are slave to sin, and fighting for the enemy of our souls against the apple of God’s eye.

 

WHAT DOES GOD'S WORD SAY ABOUT THE TONGUE?

Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity (Is. 58:9 KJV).

These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren (Pro. 6:16-19 KJV).

Honor all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king  (I Pet. 2:17).

The sinners in Zion are afraid; trembling hath seized the godless ones: Who among us can dwell with the devouring fire? who among us can dwell with everlasting burnings? He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from taking a bribe, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from looking upon evil: He shall dwell on high; his place of defence shall be the munitions of rocks; his bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure (Is 33:14-16).

If any man thinketh himself to be religious, while he bridleth not his tongue but deceiveth his heart, this man's religion is vain (Ja. 1:26 KJV).

Do not speak against one another, brethren. He who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks against the law and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge of it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and to destroy; but who are you who judge your neighbor? (Jas 4:11-12 NASB).

Do not complain, brethren, against one another, so that you yourselves may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing right at the door (Jas 5:9 NASB).

Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind (I Pet. 2:4 NIV).

Whoso privily slandereth his neighbor, him will I cut off; him that hath an high look and a proud heart will not I suffer (Psalm 101:5 KJV).

He that hideth hatred with lying lips, and he that uttereth a slander, is a fool (Prov. 10:18 KJV).

An hypocrite with his mouth destroyeth his neighbor: but through knowledge shall the just be delivered (Prov. 11:9 KJV).

He that is void of wisdom despiseth his neighbor: but a man of understanding holdeth his peace (Prov. 11:12 KJV).

Thou sittest and speakest against thy brother; thou slanderest thine own mother's son. These things hast thou done, and I kept silence; thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself: but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes (Psalm 50:20, 21 KJV).

Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me: and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew the salvation of God (Psalm 50:23 KJV).


Copyright © Building His House 1998-2017
This document may be reproduced and shared freely with the body of Christ. For more articles, please visit www.buildinghishouse.org