Mind Games - The nature of deception part 2
"We should take care not to make intellect our god. It
has, of course, powerful muscles, but no personality. It cannot
lead, it can only serve" Albert Einstein
"Thou shalt have no other god before me"i
"Therefore seeing as we have this ministry, as we have
received mercy, we faint not; But have renounced the hidden
things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the
Word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth
commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight
of God. But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are
lost. In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of
them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of
Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them."ii
Every human-being born on planet earth arrives with some type
of ‘bent’ or ‘disposition’ not of their
If you are anything like me, I do not recall being called in
(prior to my birth), to give an opinion on which family I would
like to be born into, what ethnic race I would like to identify
with or what religious persuasion I would like to be immersed
As it turns out, I am a New Zealand-born Smith, who was raised
(thankfully) to worship the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob
– the God of Israel. When I reached an age of
responsibility, I made a conscious decision to follow the God my
parents introduced me to.
Is it ‘Nature or nurture’ which determines a
human’s response to the realities of life?
Picture if you will the mind of a human being.
It’s hard to put an image to it – much easier to
picture a human brain (the most complex structure known to
mankind). The brain itself is an intricate organ made up of
tissue, ventricle cavities and fluid, with electrical impulses
running through it. Thousands of miles of circuitry join the
billions of neurons.
The brain is the hardware which supports an even more
mysterious system, the software or operations centre for the body
- the mind. Cognition, feelings/emotions and memory are all part
of the work of the mind.
Oh yes, we are truly fearfully and wonderfully made!
We are also in a position of extreme vulnerability when it
comes to the essential challenge of determining truth. How
desperately we need to compare our perceptions of reality with
the Word of God if we are to succeed in meeting with truth.
We live in a ‘smorgasbord world of many options’,
with lots of perspectives to encounter and numerous choices to
make. Roosevelt said "The absence of options clears the mind
wonderfully" – and how right he was. Under the Old
Testament law, a limited number of options and choices made
decision-making a fairly simple act: "Yes I will obey the law" or
"No, I won’t." Obedience to the law was externally measured
and witnessed by all, as were the consequences for
Now, from the Cross of Christ to 2005, God’s law is
‘hidden in our hearts’ – that we might not sin
against Him, morally or doctrinally. This new covenant operates
in the heart (Hebrew "Leb" which includes mind, will and
Conscience now plays an important role every day, as
decision-making takes place within the invisible realm of the
mind. Furthermore, discernment is given to us as a gift which
assists us as we navigate this world of many options and
increasingly, many ‘winds of doctrine’.
And this is where our vulnerability to deception ‘sneaks
in’. The mind, which is a finite instrument, can so easily
fall into the trap. This trap is no new modern snaring
device, it is the same old one which Adam and Eve encountered
back in Eden: access and exposure to the tree of the
knowledge of good and evil. Once exposed, our intelligence
so easily becomes venerated into the position of that of a god
(little g)... something which receives worship. This happens when
we fail to discern whether our thinking is in alignment with the
Word of God.
We’re warned by God to bring our thoughts into
captivity, to the obedience of Christ, because: "My thoughts are
not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the
Lord."iii We don’t naturally think like God.
The Western World in general has replaced worship of the
living God, with worship of our minds – and at great cost!
"Europe is suffering from a moral and spiritual decline
camouflaged only by its economic potential. If criteria like
child abuse and divorce rates were taken into account, many
European nations as well as the United States would rank among
the least developed countries of the world" says economist
Michael Schluter.iv ‘Europe ranks morally among least
developed regions’ And we will most likely need advocates
of God from the ‘Third world’ to come and evangelise
us, to remind us ‘of the folly of serving false
The proof is in the pudding! The fruit of displacing
God’s thoughts for our own, and worshipping our
intelligence is deception; and this deception carries with it
Sadly, deception operates on several levels in the world
of the Christians, as preference dictates our interpretation
of Gods Word. An example (midrashic type) of this can be seen in
the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10). The challenge given to
us here is to extend ourselves beyond ‘theories’ of
Christianity and offer practical help to those in need. God does
not need believers full of Christian theory. He wants
‘doers’, not just hearers of the Word – a
biblical example of deception.v
Then there is doctrinal deception, which also grows from the
same root - the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
"Once a person has invested blood, sweat, tears and money into
religious deception, he may be too embarrassed or too stubborn to
admit he has been taken. Our hearts are where our treasure has
gone. Our vested interest helps us keep the blinders on. We often
only "see" what we want to see. The Bible presents a complex
picture in regard to deception and assures us that God holds both
the deceiver and the deceived accountable.
In the first chapter of the book of Zephaniah, the Lord
charges and convicts both the people and the corrupt leaders they
followed. Lamentations 2:14 indicates the same: "Your prophets
have seen for you false and deceptive visions; They have not
uncovered your iniquity, to bring back your captives, but have
envisioned for you false prophecies and delusions."
It seems that for many complex reasons, one of which is the
spurious idea of ongoing revelation (along with a diminished view
of the sufficiency of the Bible), many people are predisposed to
credulity. That is, they are gullible and likely ready to believe
anything even on very slight evidence or sometimes with no
evidence at all. Testimonials and dramatic stories sell!vi"
Let us return to the Lord – let us praise Him for His
infinite wisdom, and thank Him for His grace, poured out on us.
Then, let us show this same grace to others.
"My little children, let us not love in word, neither in
tongue; but in deed and in truth"vii
i Exodus 20:3
ii 2 Corinthians 4:1-4
iii Isaiah 55:8
iv Wolfgang Polzer
v James 1:22
vi The Burean Call ‘Bogus Beliefs’ Friday November
vii 1 John 3:18