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-- © GodSpeak International 2003 --
-- Do not republish without written permission from <copyright@godspeak.org> --

Author: Teresa Seputis ts@godspeak.net http://www.godspeak.net
Editor: Elvi Glass

Detecting The Spirit of Deception

Lesson 7
Fear Of Deception

By Teresa Seputis

When I teach on deception, I also need to mention it's counterpart, which is "fear of deception." Let me differentiate between the two. Deception is where we are taken in by the enemy's lies, where we believe that they are truth. Fear of deception is where we are so afraid of being taken in by the enemy's lies that we resist any/all revelation, including God's. This fear makes us question God's leading because we are afraid that the enemy might deceive us.

It is my opinion that fear of deception disables more Christians than deception itself. People who suffer from fear of deception struggle in the area of trusting God and in the area of faith. They are plagued with doubts. When they seek God for direction, they must move very slowly, they feel the need to check and re-check and then re-check again whatever they think they heard God say. They usually find "nice" ways to describe this process so that it sounds more spiritual, such as "I need to be really sure this is God before I act on it." (There really are areas where we need to verify it is before we act on it. The difference here is that this is their mode of operation for everything -- big and small).

The real problem is fear of deception is not that the person is in danger of being deceived, it is that they struggle with trusting God. They are afraid that God will alert them if they begin to fall into error when they genuinely seek Him. Or they are afraid that He will become angry at them if they sincerely seek Him and hear wrong on something. So they don't look to God for help in discerning deception; they take all the responsibility on themselves. In other words, they seek to have spiritual discernment, but they want to leave God out of the process and do it in their own strength. Of course, that is not possible, you can't do spiritual things apart from the Holy Spirit. So their efforts create a dilemma for them. And that dilemma expresses itself as fear of deception.

Before we go any further in this discussion, I want to point out that God is a loving father who wants to lead us to all truth. He does not want us to fall into deception and He will go out of His way to help us discern His truth instead of the enemy's lies. We can trust that when we sincerely seek God on His terms, He is not going to allow us to fall into (and remain in) deception.

Matthew 7:7-11 gives us a scriptural precedence for this. It says, "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened." You have probably heard those first few verses a thousand times. But then it goes on to the key part.. that when we ask God for good things, He won't give us something hurtful or dangerous. Look at verses 9 to 11. They say, "Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!" (NKJV)

This passage shows us that God is not going to give us wicked things when we ask Him for good things. If we ask Him to speak to us, He would not normally let a demon speak to us instead. When we seek Him for truth, He is not going to give us a lie instead. God is not mean, He is nice and He is a good father. We can trust that He will take care of us and that He won't allow us to be caught up in deception.

Does that mean that Satan will never try to imitate God's voice to lie to us and try to deceive us? Of course not! We know the devil uses these tactics, it is his nature to do so. But when the devil tries to lead us into error or deceit, God will bring His loving correction to set us back on the right path.

God's correction is not something to be afraid of. It is not a punishment, it is something to help us get back on the right path. For instance, if you are driving in a city you don't know and looking for a certain address, you might get lost and head in the wrong direction. Eventually you check in with a gas station attendant and ask for directions. They may tell you something along the lines of, "Oh, you are heading into the wrong direction. Do a u-turn and back-track 5 lights, and then turn right and it will take you to the street you want." They have just corrected you, they have let you know what was wrong and how to fix it. They have not criticized or rebuked you -- they have set you on course again, so that you can head in the right direction to reach your goal.

Likewise, God's correction is not a punishment or criticism or rebuke for being taken in by the enemy's deception. Rather, it is setting you back on track, getting you to head in the right direction and showing His truth to you. God wants you to succeed. Therefore, He will be faithful to correct in a loving and gentle way when you are sincerely seeking to do His will and you hear wrong.

The enemy may come along with deception and set you on the wrong course for a short period of time. You can live in terror of that and fall into "fear of deception," where you go to elaborate means to avoid being deceived. You would tend to check and double-check and triple-check your hearing on a regular basis. Unfortunately, that approach will make you slow and unresponsive in listening to God and obeying Him. There is a better way. You can trust that God will soon come along with a correction to set you back on the right course. It is a safe thing to do, because God is faithful. He does correct us when we hear wrong, so that we can stay on course.

Fear of deception is when we do not trust God to bring correction when we need it. It makes us go through great lengths to keep ourselves from being deceived. If we feel that God is not trustworthy in this area, we begin to trust our own ability. And we begin to go through some elaborate means to confirm our hearing and then re-confirm it another dozen times before we act on what we hear. This makes us sluggish on responding to God, and we begin to border on disobedience because we are afraid to obey for fear that maybe we have been deceived.

Please do not misunderstand. I am not saying that it is wrong to double check your hearing on important things before you act on them. If you believe that God told you to quit your job and move to Mongolia, you need to check in with Him and get a confirmation that you heard right before you do it -- because that is a costly direction that has major consequences if you heard wrong.

However, those who struggle with fear, check and double check on minor things on a regular basis. Their basic assumption is: "I probably did not hear that right, I better really make sure it was God before I act." They tend to be fearful instead of filled with peace. They rely on their ability to hear more than on God's ability to communicate. And, taken to an extreme, people can become so crippled with fear of deception that they can hardly function in their walk with God.

I know about this really well because I used to struggle with it a lot. It started for me many years ago when I was learning to do deliverance with Chuck Kraft. He worked with this one lady who had been strongly into new age and who picked up some demons specializing in deceit. One of those demons was a "false trinity" demon, who interacted with her when she prayed. She would pray to God, and the demon would answer her, pretending to be God.

It really freaked me out when I discovered that demons could do that. I began to focus so much on the power of demons to deceive that I forgot about God's power, which is much greater than any demons. Each time I heard God say something to me, I would struggle with, "Was that really God, or was it a demon imitating God's voice?" Anytime I heard God say something to me, I would bring it back to Him and double check it with Him. I would tell Him what I thought I heard, and then I would ask Him to please confirm or correct it. Then when I got the confirmation, I would ask myself, "Was that God, or was that the enemy pretending to be God confirming it to me to deceive me?" I would usually need two or three confirmations before I acted on what I heard.

One day God told me to go to a certain place at a certain time to meet someone He would send to me. As was my habit, I told Him what I heard and asked Him for a confirmation. He gave it to me. Then I brought the confirmation back to Him and presented it to Him and asked Him to show me if the confirmation was really from Him. His response shocked me. "Never mind, Teresa," He said. "You wasted so much time on seeking your confirmation and re-confirmation that it is too late now. The person has already left."

I debriefed with Him on that the next morning and I asked Him where I went wrong. He told me, "Your basic error was that you did not trust Me. You don't trust that I will lovingly and gently correct you if you hear wrong and act on it in an attempt to obey Me. You spend so much time seeking confirmation and re-confirmation because you don't trust Me. And, at times, that makes it impossible for Me to use you for some of My kingdom purposes -- like when I want a quick response from you."

I felt so bad that I asked God to help me with this trust issue, and He did. Over time, He put me through a series of incidents where I heard wrong and He corrected me. The correction was not hurtful or painful, it was just letting me know I needed to go in a different direction. I found that His correction was a good thing and nothing to be afraid of. Over time I gained a confidence that if I heard wrong or was deceived, God would be faithful to let me know about it and show me what to do from there. It became comforting to know that I could trust Him in that way. It took the burden off of me and made it so much easier to walk in obedience.

I must confess that it was very scary for me to begin to do my end -- to start to walk in a trust relationship with Him. It was so scary the first time I obeyed my "first hearing" and did not seek for confirmation first. It was some small thing where the consequences of hearing wrong would not have been a big deal. But all the same, it was scary for me. I lived in fear of God's correction until I actually experienced it. I was so sure He would be mad at me for being deceived and I was amazed when He was not. His correction came with both warmth and humor. Much to my surprise, it was a very positive experience for me. After some number of those type of experiences, something inside of me clicked and I learned (from my experiences) that God really is trustworthy. That is how God got me past my own fear of deception issue.

If you are a person who struggles with doubt and with fear of deception, it may be time to begin trusting God to correct you. It might be time to put the control back in His hands instead of trying to protect yourself from deception solely from your own efforts. The real issue is: do you trust God to correct you, gently and lovingly, when you hear wrong?

-- © GodSpeak International 2003 --
-- Do not republish without written permission from <copyright@godspeak.org> --

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