When was the last time you felt torn, tested, tempted and deceived? Throughout my walk this has happened many times. Always before a huge breakthrough and a jump to a new level of faith, but at the time it is happening it is extremely tough going, dragging me to the edges of my sanity. My heart pulls one way, my flesh the other, my mind and my spirit also tug in opposite directions. It’s quite hard to focus and be effective when you feel split four ways. It can make you behave in ways that feel foreign and out of character. Scarily, cracks in focus easily lead to deception. My Dad used to say that being deceived was his biggest fear, and even though I too strive desperately for discernment, I recognise that hindsight exposes when deception has occurred. Thankfully Our Gracious Father above can turn our tests into our testimonies!
A faith walk is like walking along a join in the pavement, it’s a balancing act where missed footing doesn’t lead to an instant fall, in fact it can feel much the same as walking that fine line. If we forget to pay attention to each and every precise step, we may not even notice how far from the narrow path we have strayed.
Not only is having an effective faith walk a wobbly balancing act, fulfilling Godly purpose is a journey fraught with potholes. When a believer is determined to exercise their righteous gifts, venturing toward the goal God has placed in their destiny, they are certain to step into enemy territory. These determined ones are top priority foes for the enemy to tempt, to attack, to deceive. A common ruse the enemy uses is the counterfeit, often disguised in such a way as to appear Godly. Counterfeits come in many forms, false prophets, imitation faith, counterfeit gifts, and all are blatant impersonations of God, a subject I have written on previously in this post.
On a personal level, counterfeit gifts have been dancing circles around about me, on and off throughout my life. They attempt to drag my attention away from the true gifts which God placed in my spirit many years ago. New gifts are often exciting, bringing with them enthusiasm, inspiration, motivation, gratification. While gifts that are well worn often appear to have less of the glamour and more of the work. Hell bent on leading us away from our calling, the enemy can strut right up with a bright shiny new counterfeit ‘gift’ and convince us that it is a Godly one. The counterfeit appears so close to the genuine article that it takes some time before the truth becomes clear, the enemy can even mislead us within the very same nature of our genuine gift. Many times we can dive headfirst into the counterfeit because we believe wholeheartedly that God is the designer of it.
The scriptures warn us to be wary of falling for a counterfeit…
1 John 4:1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
2 Corinthians 11:3 But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.
For me, deception is usually closely related to a manic episode, a humbling little quirk God obviously thought my personality could use. A manic episode is like being stuck to the side of a snowball rolling down an avalanche. Starting off small and manageable, perhaps a little bumpy, yet before you know it, it has grown bigger than you can cope with and find yourself hurtling toward the ground at a frightening pace, convinced of your ultimate destruction. It is easy to be misled when your thoughts have taken on a life and speed of their own.
This time of year is always somewhat manic, and discernment is particularly challenging around Christmas time when the enemy is in full force against believers who spread the true message of Christ and reject the Santa myth. Thankfully, true to form God’s word always gives guidance and weapons to wage war against these inner enemies.
2 Corinthians 10:3-6 “Though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; and having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled”
I recognise that in order to ‘bring every thought into captivity’, I need to be willing to pause for thought in the midst of the chaos and listen out for God’s instructions which I need to submit to and obey. I need to slow down my thoughts, I need some quiet time, some mindfulness, some time focused on God’s abundant presence.
I pray fervently, Lord help us focus our thoughts, pulling them into captivity and obedience. Show us the counterfeits and deceptions so we may fulfill the purpose of our true gifts. In Yeshua’s Mighty Name. Amen!