Sometimes I Deceive Myself


Sometimes I Deceive Myself

Slogan: Deception Infection

I don’t watch a lot of television but I do watch on You Tube parts of American Idol

I am careful, since it does sound kind of … idolatrous

If you were to watch the first few shows of the season — when the judges travel around the country for auditions

You soon become aware of how easily people are self-deceived

You watch people trying out for a spot on the show when competition starts in ernest

It is seriously difficult to comprehend how many horrifically bad singers truly believe they deserve to be the next vocal superstar!

They are truly self-deceived — and no one has had the honesty to tell them so

Many people will laugh at the stupidy of this self-deception

Or, if you are like me, cringe because you are more compassionate 

But you do have to wonder how a person can be so out of touch with reality, so unaware of their utter lack of talent

And what is more challenging for me to understand is how their friends and family support and perpetuate their delusion

Those poor mothers making obscene gestures at the judges for not recognizing their baby’s amazing vocal talent

They are so self-deceived

Simply not telling themselves the truth

They have “deception Infection”

But, never mind American Idol … we also are often deceived – self-deceived

As we see ourselves through the lens of our experiences, beliefs, and perspectives, we all have our blind spots

As the Bible describes the problem, “The heart is deceitful above all things” (Jeremiah 17:9)

“The heart is hopelessly dark and deceitful, a puzzle that no one can figure out” (MSG)

No matter how objective we hope to be — our viewpoint (the way we see ourselves) is always distorted to some degree

Sometimes to a large degree

Here’s the challenge:

The longer we view ourselves through a distorted lens — the more likely we are to believe a distorted truth

The more you deceive yourself – the more the lie appears to you as truth

The longer we refuse to tell ourselves the truth that is often so obvious to others — the less likely we are to recognize the truth

The longer we lie to ourselves, deceive ourselves, or remain in denial about the truth

The more likely we are to base our decisions and actions on this false belief system

If you are like most people, when we read about self-deception, it is easy to think of a few people we know who are self-deceived and don’t see themselves as others see them

But chances are that in your mind, you are not one of them

You don’t believe you are deceiving yourself and living with a false understanding of who you are – your talent, ability, skills, knowledge

You simply don’t want to know the truth about who you really are – the “you” that others know and see

Seems easier to simply not deal with the self-deception as facing reality can be difficult and quite a shock

Since we see ourselves from only one perspective – it is incredibly difficult to get an accurate picture of ourselves

Similar to when driving a car … In order to see into our blind spots, we must use different mirrors held at different angles

Let’s look at some of these mirrors that help expose our toxic behaviours that tend to sneak up on all of us

These toxic behaviours are present on a daily basis – and even though we can’t see them – they can accumulate inside us and poison the well of our souls

And so we don’t face the truth about ourselves  deception infection

Why can’t we see our self-generated toxins?

Why can’t we see the truth about ourselves?

David answers this question in Psalm 36:2-3 when he describes a deceived sinner:

“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.”

“See how they flatter themselves, unable to detect and detest their sins.

They are crooked and conceited, convinced they can get away with anything.

Their wicked words are nothing but lies. Wisdom is far from them.

Goodness is both forgotten and forsaken” (TPT). 

Notice how David puts it, that some people “flatter themselves too much.”

They lie to themselves about themselves and don’t even know it

And, they become so skilled at self-deception that they cannot detect or confess their sins, failures, shortcomings

Basically, we manufacture our own poison and administer regular does to ourselves

Chances are you know someone like this.

      • Perhaps you have a friend who gossips all the time. He says boastfully, “I don’t gossip I’m just telling you so you can pray for them.”

You and everyone else know he’s a gossip

      • Or you may have a family member who is off the chart rude and full of himself


Yet she would tell you, “I’m not trying to be offensive; I just tell it like it is.”

      • Odds are you know someone who has a drinking problem

Yet that person denies having any problem and adamantly believes he can quit at any time

      • You might have a friend who thinks he’s God’s gift to women

But you and everyone else know he’s an arrogant, womanizing, self-centered jerk

      • You possibly work for a woman who thinks she’s a great leader at the office

But everyone else knows that she is a micromanaging, overbearing, control freak

      • People thinking more highly of themselves than they should
      • A relative who thinks he’s funny but everyone else thinks he’s annoying
      • Someone who has a major problem but will deny it unto the cows come home
      • A person who thinks they are a good listener and nothing could be further from the truth

Why don’t these people see it in themselves?

Why don’t we see ourselves in the same way that others see us?

It is hard to be objective about ourselves?

Deception Infection … self-deceived

The truth is that we have an unlimited capacity to deceive ourselves

As we lie to ourselves (“I’m a great singer”), we start to believe our lies

The more we tell the lies, the more we believe they are truth

Before long, we wholeheartedly embrace a distorted reality that we skillfully created by a willed ignorance

We deny, suppress, or minimize what is true

By default, we assert, adorn, and elevate what is false

When we finally see the truth – when someone is honest and loving enough to “speak the truth in love” – we think the truth is a lie (Ephesians 4:15)

A different way to say it would be:

Those who don’t know, don’t know that they don’t know

If you are deceived, chances are pretty good you don’t know that you believe something that is not true about yourself

Otherwise you wouldn’t be self-deceived

If we never identify the lies and replace them with truth, we’ll forever crave a healthy life on a diet of poison and always wonder why we are sick.

So how do we begin identify our self-told lies and replacing them with truth?

Through the process of ruthless self-examination

It is like looking for ticks after a long day camping in the woods

It is a somewhat embarrassing self-examination since it requires you to go over every square inch of your body slowly and carefully

But you know that catching a tick early can keep you from getting seriously ill

So, in the same way, I’d encourage you to do a thorough internal self-examination

Just as those pesky bloodsuckers jump on you when you enter their environment

Spiritual toxins infuse your thinking as you wade through our culture

Take an honest look at the way you live, how you think, and who or what influences you the most

Work hard to be brutally honest

Examine your life for toxic behaviours

Anything you do that cripples your spiritual effectiveness or distracts you from your eternal mission – what God is asking you to be involved in

Anything that prevents you from developing and maintaining healthy relationships

Look within for toxic emotions and behaviour patterns

Any deep feelings or learned behaviour that lead you away from God’s truth and healthy relationships with other healthy people

Take an honest look at any unhealthy consumptions

The media you consume

The sites you surf

The people you spend the most time around

The first step to defeating an enemy is to recognize your opponent

Though your enemy might be invisible and inside – God can give you eyes to see

Let me issue a warning however:

The closer you get to uncovering a toxic killer in your life, the harder your enemy will fight to keep his grip

If you are like me, you might even unknowingly betray yourself and fight against the change

Denial is often our first line of defence

We are skilled at taking responsibility for little and justifying much

Be careful when you hear yourself think or say these phrases or something similar:

      • I don’t have a problem with this
      • That is really not what I am like
      • It’s really no big deal – This is one way I cope with everything
      • I’m not as bad as most people
      • I can quit anytime I want to 
      • This is just the way I am
      • You just don’t understand me
      • You really don’t want to know the real me

Those who are most defensive are often the most unknowingly guilty

It’s been said that the more convinced you are that you are right, the more likely you are wrong

If you fight back against those trying to help you, chances are you are fighting to keep your own lies intact

Deception Infection

If someone who loves you tries to show you a dangerous pattern in your life, you might be 100 percent convinced they are wrong when the truth is they are 100 percent correct

Peter in the New Testament is a perfect example

When Jesus explained that some of His disciples would fall away and deny Him, Peter was convinced that he never would

Matthew 26:31-35a (TPT) Along the way Jesus said to them, “Before the night is over, you will all desert me. This will fulfill the prophecy of the Scripture that says: I will strike down the shepherd and all the sheep will scatter far and wide! “But after I am risen, I will go ahead of you to Galilee and will meet you there.” Then Peter spoke up and said, “Even if all the rest lose their faith and fall away, I will still be beside you, Jesus!” “Are you sure, Peter?” Jesus said. “In fact, before the rooster crows a few hours from now, you will have denied me three times.” Peter replied, “I absolutely will never deny you, even if I have to die with you!”

Peter, with unshakable confidence said,  “Even if all the rest lose their faith and fall away, I will still be beside you, Jesus!”

When challenged about his comment, he replies,  I absolutely will never deny you, even if I have to die with you!”

Sure enough, before the day ended, not one, not two, but – count them – three different times Peter denied even knowing who Jesus was.

Peter was self-deceived … deception infection

If someone has been trying to show you something about yourself and you continue to ignore what is being said – or, worst still – you continue to fight it

Maybe it is time to acknowledge that you might be deceived

If you find yourself resisting or fighting back when someone points out an issue in your life

Be careful – you may have deception infection

And, remember, those who are most convinced that they are right, are often the most deceived

Be careful not to flatter yourself so that you miss the issue or the sin

Since it is hauntingly easy to deceive ourselves — We need outside help to become more objective about our blind spots

But if our shields are up and our defences are operating at full force, we may not be hearing what those around us are saying

Sometimes if we really want to change, we must ask God to show us what’s true about how we are thinking, talking, relating, and living

Since we can’t change what we can’t identify, ask God to show you areas of your life that may be harmful to you, offensive to the people you relate to, or displeasing to God Himself.

God speaks to us in many ways

      • He speaks through His Word – the Bible
      • He speaks through circumstances
      • He speaks through His Spirit directly into your spirit
      • He speaks through people

As you seek God and His insights into your life, listen very carefully to what Hewmight be saying to you through the people around you

Proverbs 15:31-31 says, “He who listens to a life-giving rebuke will be at home among the wise. He who ignores discipline despises himself, but whoever heeds correction gains understanding.” (NIV 1984 ed)

TPT “Accepting constructive criticism opens your heart to the path of life, making you right at home among the wise. Refusing constructive criticism shows you have no interest in improving your life, for revelation-insight only comes as you accept correction

and the wisdom that it brings.”

I love that phrase: “life-giving rebuke”

Occasionally, God will send someone to communicate a strong and important message through “a life-giving rebuke”

It is important to note: Not all rebukes are life-giving and helpful

Certainly you’ve been broadsided by some life-taking rebukes

You know, when some jerk criticizes or belittles you in a hurtful way or over something insignificant that allows the jerk to look better than you 

Instead of making things better, they make things worse 

But there are times that a loving person gives a life-giving rebuke

They care about you enough to confront you lovingly

They come to you after much prayer and with deep concern and “speak the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15)

They take a risk to help you see the truth about yourself

When they do, listen intently and act intentionally upon what is said

And here’s another hint … a loud hint

If more than one person has told you that you have a problem with something, churches  are pretty good that you have a problem

          • If a close friend is worried about you because you always seem short of cash and overspend each month — you likely have a problem — Don’t be self-deceived
          • It your parents and your best friend all tell you that you are dating a good-for-nothing jerk — you are probably heading for trouble
          • If everyone you love and trust expresses concern about your eating habits and weight — you probably should put the fork down and listen

Now would be a good time to stop and ask yourself honestly, “Is there something that God has been trying to show me through His Word or through people I trust that I need to hear?

Warning – flashing red lights …

If you think you are good to go and it’s everyone else’s fault that this is happening

then you are truly self-deceived and have deception infection

If you are constantly justifying and defending your behaviour and your attitude but not making any changes…

If you don’t take personal responsibility for who you are and how you live and relate…

If you write all concern that others express as mean and critical and not constructive…

If you are still allowing certain behaviours to effect relationships and are simply not addressing them or dealing with them … even blaming others for your issues

Then you are self-deceived and need to repent and come clean before God

1 John 1:8 “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.”

I am praying that God will move the deception out of our hearts so the truth can come in

When God reveals spiritual and relational toxins that need to be cleansed

I pray that you will have the courage to act swiftly and decisively 

James said it well in 1:22 “Do not merely listen to the Word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”

TPT “Don’t just listen to the Word of Truth and not respond to it, for that is the essence of self-deception. So always let his Word become like poetry written and fulfilled by your life!”

When we know the Word and don’t do what it says, we are in direct disobedience to God

Living a toxic life that He cannot bless

When God shows you what to do — through His Word or through other people — do it immediately

“Delayed obedience is disobedience”

  • If you’re living with your boyfriend or girlfriend and know you shouldn’t be compromising, move out or get married
  • If the number of Twitter followers or Facebook friends has become an idol to you, it’s time to tear that idol down until you can manage it in a healthy fashion
  • If you are consumed with worry, call it what it is: a sin. You are distrusting the promises and power of God

Quit sanctifying the sin of worry by calling it “concern” and do what it takes to renew your mind with God’s truth

You can’t change what you don’t see

It’s time to see and receive the truth no matter the way that truth is revealed

          • God’s Word
          • A teaching
          • A friend
          • A multitude of counsellors
          • Your spouse

You will be tempted to argue, “But I’m not a bad person”

May I say respectfully and lovingly, “Yes, you are – and so am I”

  We are all selfish, sinful people

As we saw, the Bible tells us our hearts are deceitful above al things

God (Jesus) — the only one who is good — is the remedy for our poison

When you clearly identify what is slowly killing you — you can take the toxic influences to Jesus for cleansing, purifying, and healing

When we identify the lies we so readily tell ourselves – or the lies others have told us about ourselves in the past — His truth can set us free

By God’s power, we must drop the masks and tell the truth

Think about it

Why do we so readily deceive ourselves?

The answer is simple and life transforming: We deceive ourselves because we are afraid of the truth

The very thing we fear is what we need most

Because when we know the truth, the truth will set us free (John 8:32)

So, my loving advice:

Stop lying to yourself, swallowing the poisonous self-deceptions that keep you from experiences healthy spiritual growth and great interpersonal relationships

If you are willing, the truth can and will set you free