Chapter 1: Laying the Foundation
Day 3: Opening Your Eyes
Now that we’ve determined that deception is all around us, and that it comes to us in all sorts of ways, it makes sense that we learn, practically speaking, how to guard ourselves. Yes, we need to start with the Word of God – but then what? How does knowledge translate to action?
- Opening your eyes is all about discernment. Discerning bad from good, yes; but more than that, discerning good from right, or good from best. We tend to have a mindset of “what’s the harm” but as followers of Christ, we need to instead cultivate the mindset of “what’s the good?” Instead of finding a line in the sand and hovering at it, we need to focus on where we’re going – towards Christ. And as we move toward Christ, we move away from the lies, the temptation and destruction of the past.
- Moving in a different direction requires leaving some things behind. How do we know what to let go of and what to hold on to? The short answer is to let go of everything. This is what we each must do at the forefront in order to begin a relationship with Christ (Luke 14:33). However, as we begin to follow Christ, we become more and more aware of what that looks like, and then it’s time for the follow-through. Many times, though, we begin to ague with God. What’s the big deal? It’s just a movie. It’s just a word. It’s family. It’s my best friend. But we fail to recognize that these are the very things and people that are whispering lies and making it easier for us to sin.
- The worst part is, once we’ve made up our mind we shouldn’t have to give up this influence, be it a relationship or media or anything in between, there is no shortage of people to tell us we’re right. Even in our churches and from our counselors we are encouraged to indulge in sin – things like “It’s healthy,” “You need to have boundaries,” “It’s not your fault,” “That applied when the Bible was written, but it’s a different time now.” At the same time, once you decide to obey God, those same influences will begin to discourage you make it even harder, by saying things such as “You don’t have to do that,” “they’re taking advantage of you,” “God doesn’t expect that of you.” This is what Ezekiel describes as “making the heart of the righteous sad” and “strengthening the hand of the wicked that he should not turn from his sin.”
- Instead, we must make a commitment to establish Godly accountability our lives, people whose relationship with God we respect and trust, and who will we will listen to, be honest with, and take their concerns seriously. If you don’t have someone in your life who will speak the truth, even if it hurts, you need to waste no time in finding one. One of the reasons Eve strayed so far so fast was that she was removed from her accountability, Adam. Don’t open yourself up to further deception by being a “lone ranger Christian.”
- The biggest obstacle is doing the right thing is how we feel. Instant gratification leads to hasty decisions with dangerous consequences. Because all of the deception in our lives, regardless of the source, is deadly, destructive and dangerous. There’s no small, easy, painless sin. We must check our influences – do I carefully consider the sources in my life and whether they draw me closer to God or away from Him? Am I willing to be told hard truths instead of chasing after what will make me feel good? Am I ready to make drastic changes in who and what I listen to, read, or watch, in order to keep my heart pure?
- You cannot follow Christ and stay where you are. And you cannot follow Christ passively. It requires action. If we want to experience freedom in this life, we must be willing to throw off the weights and sin that tangle us. If we do, if we make a radical commitment to pursue Christ, to run to Him, leaving everything behind, we’ll begin to experience true freedom.
Points to Remember:
- All deception is deadly, dangerous, and destructive.
- We must start asking “what’s right” instead of “what’s wrong” when evaluating our decisions.
- A relationship with Jesus takes effort.
- It’s worth forsaking everything to follow Jesus.
- Accountability is an important part of following Christ.
In a word: passionate. About Jesus, church, ministry, music, reading, family, friends, and sometimes even iced skinny soy mochas.