One of the greatest problems that we face is that of self-deception. Our friends and family can see the road we took to deceive ourselves, but we cannot. Of all forms of deception, self-deception is the most deadly. Of all deceived people, the self-deceived are the least likely to discover the fraud!
When we are deceived by another, we are deceived against our will. Since we expect our foe to take advantage of us, we are watchful and quick to suspect trickery.
With the self-deceived it is quite different. We are our own enemy and are working a fraud upon ourselves. We want to believe the lie and are psychologically conditioned to do so. We do not resist the deceit, but collaborate with it against ourselves. There is no struggle, because the victim surrenders before the fight begins. We enjoy being deceived.
Have you ever met a person who admitted to being self-deceived? The very nature of self-deception is that there is no conscious awareness of believing lies.
It is altogether possible to practice fraud upon our own souls and go deceived to judgment. “If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves.” – Galatians 6:3
Self-Deception Red Flags
1) The over importance of SELF-ESTEEM!
In their own eyes they flatter themselves too much to detect or hate their sin. The words of their mouths are wicked and deceitful; they fail to act wisely or do good. – Psalms 36:2-3
The person who is truly in right relationship with Jesus Christ will not be full of self pride. People who have to brag about themselves often don’t really have much to brag about at all.
If your heart is right with Him, God will lift you up and people will see Jesus in you and give God the glory for all that is accomplished through your efforts.
2) Self-Deception always results in SPIRITUAL BONDAGE!
Romans 7:11, Paul describes the role of deception in his spiritual bondage: “For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death.”
There is a chain of spiritual bondage and blindness that is bound around the heart, ears and eyes so that the self-deceived person cannot understand their predicament, hear the voice of the spirit or see the Holy Spirit moving to free them. They often are so deceived that they believe they are the only ones right and everyone else is wrong.
One who is caught up in self-deception can only see the faults of others but none of their own faults. They are quick to judge others but won’t judge their own hearts. By dwelling on their own self-esteem and lifting their own lives as shining examples for the rest of us to follow, it isn’t long until they have convinced themselves that they deserve some special treatment.
3) The level of CONCEIT that is manifest in our lives!
“…they are conceited and understand nothing. They have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions.” – 1 Timothy 6:4
When people start saying how good they are, how much experience they have and do so with an arrogant tone and a proud spirit, that’s when we are ready to stop listening.
When are we anything? Only when the Jesus places His anointing upon us and gives us the power to accomplish a work for Him!
4) Careless Hearing!
“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” – James 1:22
Careless Hearing is when we come to the House of God and hear the message, but we don’t really hear what God is trying to say to us!
Another term that we often hear is “Selective Hearing”. We hear only what we want to hear or what lines up with our already established beliefs. We don’t want to hear anything that might tell us that we are wrong.
5) Un-Bridled Tongue!
“Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.” – James 1:26
We can also call this gossip. They love to talk about themselves. They love to talk about other people. They love to talk about anything and everyone. God gave us 2 eyes, 2 ears and one mouth and that they should be used accordingly.
6) A Sanctimonious Person!
“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” – 1 John 1:8
Sanctimonious – Making a show of being morally better than others; hypocritically pious.
In reality, these people are detrimental to work of God, tending to be a stumbling block to weaker Christians.
7) Caught up in Spiritual Poverty!
“You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.” – Revelation 3:17
Jesus, from the candlestick, was speaking to the Church of Laodicea. This was a rich church, satisfied with its own sufficiency. There is where the Self-Deceived person lives. They think that they have it all together. They believe that they are right! They believe that no one can teach them anything!