One of the greatest weapons of the enemy in the last days is DECEPTION. The Menace of Third World Christianity is part of the grand master plan of the devil to deceive and exploit people in the last days. Remember that the devil that is employing this strategy has been around for a while. He also has some sense and strategies that must not be undermined. We will have to up our own game by walking more closely with God in order to escape his antics. His deception in the last days is going to be subtle and difficult to detect.
What does it really take to deceive? It takes the existence and knowledge of the truth by the deceiver to deceive others. There’s God, His way, His truth, His life, His values, His principles etc, which the devil is aware of and does not want people to come into. On one hand there are people he has succeeded in making not to acknowledge God in anyway. Those people he has condemned to hell if they do not have a change of heart. On the other hand, he is trying to deceive those who believe and are trying to walk in the ways of God by perverting and counterfeiting the truth.
Matthew 24 summarily documents the events of the last days in such an interesting manner. And one would think that with such exposition, people would be insusceptible to this trap of the enemy. Sadly, that is not the case because people would not work to know God for themselves, by developing a personal walking relationship with Him. All they know is what the pastor says and nothing more. And even that which they parrot as what pastor says has not changed them in anyway, thereby making them susceptible to the deception of the enemy.
The devil is coming up with a near perfect copycat of what is God’s. It will look like God, taste like God, smell like God, but it will not be God. Verse 11 of Matthew 24 specifically pointed out that “…many false prophets will rise up and deceive and lead many into error”. Note that it did not say occultist or demons, but prophets. It’s going to be a perfect similitude of that which is God’s. They will be normal human beings, some of whom we know very closely. And they will also parade themselves with titles such as pastors, apostles, evangelists, and teachers of God’s word. They will possess all the external traits of the original, but with the overarching intention of leading many into error.
Verse 24 of the same chapter 24 of Matthew says “…false Christs and false prophets will arise, and they will show great signs and wonders so as to deceive and lead astray, if possible, even the elect (God’s chosen ones)”. These guys will not only look and smell like they are from God, they will also perform miracles, signs and wonders that will make even the elect want to believe and follow them. I even hear of those who call out people’s phone numbers and tell them things no one knows about them. If you truly know God, you will know He is not that frivolous.
ESCAPING THE DECEPTION
Everything we need to live the life of God successfully on earth has been given (2 Peter 1:3). God has and is still warning us through His word about the antics of the devil. 1 John 4:1 says: “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world” (ESV). But you cannot test if you don’t know the original. And to know the original, you need to know God for yourself- having valid personal walking relationship with Him. Note that you are not a believer because you were born into a Christian home – you are a believer because you experience John 3:3-5, and living by the principles and values of God. Neglecting the Bible, which contains the written word, is like trying to pass the course of life without referring to the syllabus. Everything is contained in the word.
While it is not bad to come to God because of certain needs you have, you will be susceptible to deception if the only understanding of God you have is that of a “Father Christmas”, who exists only to meet your needs; give you miracles, signs and wonders. The purpose of God is bigger than your time-based needs. While your needs are not to be entirely neglected, they must remain the means that they are and not become an end in themselves. Even when you come to God as a result of a need that you have, you must in a short while come to the knowledge of His bigger purpose for humanity, which must become your drive and motivation. If not, then you may have just fallen into deception.
Beware of those who dangle carrots in front of you, promising miracles, signs and wonders, with little or no emphasis on internal transformation that makes you conform to the image and character of Christ. People are led astray as a result of these messages of miracles, signs and wonders. They are just fringe benefits of walking with God. Sadly, they have become people’s life’s pursuit, thereby derailing them from the eternal and lager purpose of God.
Also have this at the back of your mind that every dealing of God with you; either speaking to you or making you experience supernatural encounters, the ultimate purpose is to produce a change in you and make you become more like Christ. If the word of God you claim to hear every now and then, and the miracles, signs and wonders you receive do not make you a better person, then you may have fallen into deception. That is having a form of godliness but refusing the internal transformation that should accompany it.
2 Tim 3:1-5
But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them. (NIV)
Be smart and don’t be deceived.