2 Ways to Guard Yourself from Being Deceived

Today we are so blessed to live in an age where we have access to so many gifted, godly Bible teachers whether by Christian radio, podcasts, websites, blogs, books, magazines, etc.

 Photo courtesy of Honestly Allyson

With so many ways to increase in the knowledge of God, it is so important that we filter everything we read, see, and hear through God’s Word. There is no better way to guard ourselves from being deceived.

Acts 17:11 records, “Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.”

Though the Apostle Paul, who penned, a majority of the New Testament, was known as a great man of God and respected for it, it impressed me that when Paul instructed the Bereans, they didn’t just blindly accept his message because it came from him. They didn’t say, “Well, if Paul says it I can trust and believe it.” No, instead they listened to his message with eagerness (probably because it was Paul) and then searched the Scriptures to see if what Paul said was true (because Paul was not sinless—he was capable of misinterpretations and misunderstandings just like we all are.)

So it was God’s word, not Paul’s, that was the Bereans standard of truth. They were not about to sit back, listen to Paul, and just take his word for it. They wanted to be sure everything he said lined up with the Bible. If anything would have failed to line up, in the Berean's eyes,  it was to be immediately dismissed.

1. Pray for Discernment

Like the Bereans, we ought not to be so quick to accept a teaching, simply because the person it comes from is someone we trust and respect or is someone who is respected among many other Christians or church groups. Just because Billy Graham teaches on something, doesn’t mean we can take his teaching at face value and shouldn’t bother to search the Scriptures, as the Bereans did with Paul, to see if the things he teaches on is true.

Before I read anything that is said to be fact or based on Scripture, it is important that I have discernment. I have found a good place to start is prayer. I ask God to give me wisdom (James 1:5-8) and discernment of what I am going to read or listen to—especially that which is labeled Christian or appears to be a trustworthy read because it is in the Christian Bookstores. After I pray, God is always faithful to open my eyes to the truths or misinterpretations I may read.

2. Know the Bible

It’s important that I don’t forget just because something is sold in Christian Bookstores, doesn’t mean it lines up with the Bible. Some Christian bookstores will sell books by popular authors, even if their message isn't 100% Biblically sound. It should never be so, but that is the way it is sometimes. All the more reason to know Scripture so we are not deceived.

In addition to prayer, the other essential way to have discernment in what you read and hear—especially that which is labeled biblical or Christian, is to know the Word of God. Bankers know there are so many counterfeit currencies in circulation. Instead of studying the counterfeit currency, so they will know a counterfeit when they see it, they focus their attention on studying the authentic currency—the real thing. They become so familiar with the true currency, so when a counterfeit comes along it stands out as the fraud  it is. Likewise, if we are to correctly identify counterfeit teachings and theology in the things we read and hear, it is vitally  important we have a strong knowledge of God's Word.

Why Knowing God's Word is So Vital

If we don’t know what is true, how can we spot a lie? Without knowledge of the truth, there is no way to know when something isn’t true. How much easier it will to be deceived.  And if we don’t have that knowledge of God’s Word, when we read books, listen to sermons, or attend conferences  if the author or speaker misinterprets a Scripture, it  will be very difficult to recognize a false teaching when we see it.

You see Satan is very subtle in his attempts to deceive us. He doesn't waste his time trying to fool us with an obvious lie. He deceives us by presenting us with 99% truth mixed with 1% lie. That is much easier to believe, because the part that isn't true is almost undetectable. That's what counterfeiters do too. They don't design currency that is obviously different from the real deal. Rather they create a currency that is nearly an exact match so it is almost  undetectable. Yet those bankers who have studied the true currency so intimately, are not deceived by these counterfeit bills.

Our Measuring Stick of Truth

God’s Word is our measuring stick of truth. The more we read it, study it, mediate on it, and memorize it the better, and quicker, we will be able to recognize teaching that falls short from the truth of God’s Word. In this day and age, where false teaching is so subtle, now more than ever we need to be in the Word. I've made it a priority to read it, listen to it, study it, meditate on it, and memorize it Whatever I have to do to be in the Word—I want to do it.  When we make time in the Bible a daily priority we will not be easily deceived when we read or hear someone teach something contrary to Scripture.

Question for you: What are your favorite ways you familiarize yourself with the Bible, so you can recognize a counterfeit teaching and not be deceived?



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Copyright © 2012 Brooke Espinoza.

26 comments:

  1. I like to look a verse up in lots of versions and paste them all on to a page and read them over several times until I know the WORD has gone from my head into my heart.
    Great post- glad to have subscribed yesterday!

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    1. Marygems, I like you idea and love what you said about reading a verse "over several times until I know the WORD has gone from my head into my heart." That is exactly why we are to memorize. Well done! God bless you richly!

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  2. I like to write a verse in my journal and create art around it, the time spent in doing this means I really mediate on the words.

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    1. Wow, Sharon! I do not have an artistic bone in my body, but I love that idea! I bet your journal is gorgeous! What a neat way to make the verse your own and like you said "the time spent in doing this means I really mediate on the words." Thanks for sharing! God bless you much!

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  3. Reading through the Bible regularly, including the prophets and the law, help me keep a perspective on the whole picture. If I think something I read doesn't seem right, I take it back to God's word, but I also ask my husband, whom God gave me as a spiritual leader, for insight. He often helps me identify why something is or is not acceptable.

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    1. Helene, that is so great to get a big picture of God's Word as a whole. That is wonderful that when you have those checks in your spirit that something isn't right you take it back to the Word. You are wise to to go to your husband, as your spiritual leader, for insight when something isn't right. A godly husband is a valuable resource for sure! I'm so blessed to have a husband, too, that loves Jesus and knows God's Word. God bless you richly!

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  4. I like to read the Bible and to listen to verses in song. I often do the latter with my kids.

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    1. Martianne, those are both excellent ways to abide in God's Word! My 4-year-old girl loves Scripture music, too! We love listening to Seeds Family Worship and Steve Green's Hide 'em in Your Heart. If you are a Third Day fan, like me, they have two CD's of Scripture set to music in their CD's Glory Revealed and Glory Revealed 2. The choruses may occasionally be written by Third Day, but each song is Scripture put to music. God bless you richly!

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  5. What a great reminder.
    I try to be consistent with Scripture memory. God will often have me learn a Scripture and a few days later will be exactly what was needed for me or someone else. As though he has prepared that word for a situation he knew was coming.
    Next to you at On Your Heart Tuesday!

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    1. Melanie, I can't think of a better way to know and abide in God's Word than to memorize Scripture. That is fabulous you have made it a priority in your life to be consistent in memorizing God's Word. I love what you said, "God will often have me learn a Scripture and a few days later will be exactly what was needed for me or someone else. As though he has prepared that word for a situation he knew was coming." Isn't that the truth! I love how God does that! Thanks for sharing! God bless you lots!

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  6. This is SUCH a good word! Thank you for this, for reminding us to return again and again to Scripture. xo

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    1. Thanks, Jennifer for your aweet words! You are a blessing! So glad this encouraged your heart. God bless you richly!

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  7. You made so many good points here, I need to remember when I hear something even if it "sounds" biblical, I need to check for myself.

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    1. Thanks, Alecia! Glad this blessed you. God bless you richly!

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  8. Brooke, this is such an excellent post! I hope you don't mind if I add a link to this post on my Inspiration page here: http://encourage-1-another.blogspot.co.uk/p/inspiration.html

    This is such an important message you have sounded.

    I love Joyce Meyer's teachings (for the most part), but one time I heard her rebuke the devil and did the same myself! BIG mistake... I later discovered that even the Archangel Michael did not dare to rebuke the devil, but rather told him "the Lord rebuke you"... I failed to test what Joyce spoke against the Scriptures and that was a big mistake... what followed was nothing short of a nightmare situation! I emailed her to point out this error but I never received a reply. I cringe when I hear her or other preachers rebuking the devil left right and centre. Such is SO DANGEROUS! Of course, the devil will leave such preaching alone because it gets false teaching spread by well known and respected preachers. I try to warn as many people as I can to this error because I know what the effects were in my own life, although praise God, He helped me to learn from my mistake and taught me many lessons re: spiritual warfare as a result.

    We really MUST learn from our Berean friends in Acts 17:11

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    1. Thanks, Wendy! I'm delighted and honored you shared this! Feel free to share any of my posts that ministers to you. Apart from the Lord we have no power or authority over the Devil. But in Christ we are more than conquerors! Sounds like the Lord has really been blessing you with some powerful life lessons in the area of spiritual warfare. That's awesome! God bless you richly, Wendy!

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  9. Newest follower here! I found you through the Weekend link up! Cute blog, I can’t wait to read more!
    -meandmr.com

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    1. Thanks! Glad to have you here! God bless you lots!

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  10. Brooke, I love this post. I get so discouraged when I hear other Christians say they read this or this book, but when you ask them if they read their Bible daily, you get a blank look. Thank you for linking up with the prairies this week. I will difintely be back.

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    1. Thanks, Michelle! I agree, that's heartbreaking when Christians place a higher priority on reading other books, even good Christian ones, over the Bible. No other book has the power and authority that the Bible has. By the very words of God everything was created! I wrote a guest post on this at Do Not Depart http://donotdepart.com/life-changing-power-of-the-bible God bless you much!

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  11. This is great advice! ...and so true that Satan deceives with 99% of truth. Oh Lord, give us discernment!

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    1. Thanks! Amen to your prayer, too! Oh how we need God's wisdom and discernment. I thank God though, that it is ours for the asking. "If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you." James 1:5 God bless you richly!

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  12. I agree on those two ways! Discernment so important! Knowing your Bible so important! No way to stand firm without a solid foundation. Great post. New follower from Fellowship Friday.

    Falen
    www.upwardnotinward.com

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  13. Thanks, Fallen! You're so right: " Knowing your Bible so important! No way to stand firm without a solid foundation." God bless you much!

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Thank you for taking the time to share. May God bless you richly!