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Undoing the Deceiver

I could do that, too . . . it wouldn’t hurt anything . . .
No, I shouldn’t.
But why not?
It’s wrong.
Who says it’s wrong?
I would hate myself afterwards.

But I’d have such a good time . . .
It wouldn’t hurt to lie just a tad . .

I’d get caught.
Lots of people juggle the totals, though . . .

That doesn’t make it right.

Who says?

Well . . .

I don’t think anyone would ever find out . . .

Both of these voices sound very familiar . . . wait a minute. They sound like–why–both of them sound just like me! What’s going on? Are there two “me’s”?

Voices. Two voices.

One voice urges me to do the right thing. The Christ-like thing. The good thing. The thing of integrity.

The other one urges me to do just the opposite. It makes light of being truthful or good or pure, and it certainly doesn’t want to be labeled a “religious, Bible-totin’ fanatic.” Integrity isn’t even in its vocabulary.

And the lights get a little brighter. I begin–just begin–to see what Paul was talking about in Romans 7:21-23: “I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wishes to do good. For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind, and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members.”

To Paul it is a foregone conclusion–without a doubt–that as a Christian I am a new creature in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:17). A new creation! Me, “the one who wishes to do good,” who “joyfully concur[s] with the law of God in the inner man”! I am a person who wishes to do the right thing not only because I think God’s laws are good and just and right, but because those very laws are written on my heart and in my mind (Hebrews 10:16).

But Paul also says there is something in my body–“in the members of my body”–that “wages battle” against my mind, my mind that wants to do good, my mind that is “the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16). It’s a power called “sin,” he says, and because of it I often “practice the very evil that I do not wish.”

But how can I do hurtful, mean, thoughtless, selfish things and yet be a new creature in Christ at the same time? What’s wrong here? Something unusual is going on. . . Why do I wind up doing the very thing I don’t want to do–sinning?

Because I am deceived.

John called Satan the one “who deceives the whole world” (Revelation 12:9). Satan is the Deceiver, and he deceives us, the new creations in Christ, the ones who want to do good. Now read this carefully: The power of sin is the messenger boy who carries out the Deceiver’s battle strategy in this war being waged against the law of our minds. And here is how he does it. . . .

The Deceiver’s game plan hinges on deception, and his goal is to keep us from experiencing the life that is ours in Christ, to prevent us at any cost from realizing true peace and victory. For example, I shared with you earlier some verses (facts) from God’s Word concerning your true identity and the power of Christ which lives within you. I have told you that these facts will literally revolutionize your life if you appropriate them.

The Deceiver doesn’t want you to appropriate them, to take them for your own use. He doesn’t want you to walk in these truths. They will bring peace and joy into your life. They will bring you victory. So he wars against the law of your mind, and he does this through your thought-life. His access to your thought-life? Why, through the power of sin “in the members of [your] body.” And he operates by giving you thoughts, almost always with first-person, singular pronouns–I, me, my, myself, and mine.

These thoughts will be disguised as the way you’ve always thought, and the Deceiver’s success comes when you, because the thoughts are so familiar, so “like you,” accept these thoughts as your own. Then and only then does he have you–and you wind up doing what you hate. Thinking what you hate. Believing what you hate.

Do you see that if you’re not aware of his game plan you’ll listen to him and he can convince you of anything? Adultery. Hopelessness. Materialism. Chronic depression. Even suicide. He can convince you that the old you wasn’t really crucified with Christ at all when you asked Him into your heart (Galatians 2:20), or that she has come back to life again: “I’m not a new person! I only have to look at all the garbage in my life to know that. New creation–ha! I don’t even read the Bible that much. I’m not good at my job and I’m not a good wife–I’m more of an embarrassment to my family than anything else. Everyone would be better off without me. . . .”

Examine those statements carefully. Do you see the pronouns? I, my, me. My dear one, these are not your thoughts. A new creation, one with the very mind of Christ, does not–indeed cannot–generate such thoughts. You are not fighting a civil war–the good you against the bad you. No, it’s you–the “righteousness of God in Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:21)–against “the power of sin waging war against the law of [your] mind and making [you] a prisoner of the law of sin which is in [your] members”!

Now, if you are not responsible for generating these thoughts, where does your accountability come in? When are you responsible? “Do not let sin reign in your mortal body” (Romans 6:12). It’s all in the letting. If you choose with your free will to accept the thoughts submitted by the Deceiver through the power of sin, taking them in as though they were your own, then they become your thoughts and you are responsible for sinning.

My dear one, I know this can seem confusing. But seek Him. Study these pages and put these truths to the test. In these brief paragraphs we have exposed the Deceiver and how he works. We now have the information necessary to intercept his passes. Oh, please understand that you do not have to accept these thoughts any longer. You are a beautiful new creature in Christ, and He longs for you to allow Him to love you, to heal you, to enable you to overcome your past and face your todays and tomorrows–to live!

You see, if you accept this simple theology, you’ll know what to listen for and how to determine where the thoughts are coming from. And you can say, “No! I refuse to let that thought set up shop in my mind!” Obviously you can’t stop the thoughts from coming, but you certainly can stop them from unpacking their suitcases and putting down their bedrolls. So you slam the door and turn up the music so you won’t hear him knock again, and you start singing. (The power of sin doesn’t like to sing praise songs.) You set your mind on the things God tells you to think about–Him, mainly.

You know what will happen? The thought will begin to subside. It will begin to go away. Oh sure, it will probably come back later on, but you will actually have won a battle! You’ll know how it feels to win instead of always losing. In this there is great hope.

After all, that is why He came to us in the first place:

“I know the plans that I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans for welfare and not for calamity, to give you a future and a hope.”
Jeremiah 29:11

Which voice is really yours?

About the Author

Anabel spent decades teaching in many contexts through Lifetime Guarantee Ministries. She has taught countless others how to have a genuine intimate faith and a sound marriage. She shared from her heart about living from the heart. Lifetime’s beloved founder and mentor passed away November 7, 2010. Her legacy and influence are timeless and priceless.