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If you have ever watched television or have seen what are known as ‘Magic tricks’ much of the routines on display are deceptive in their nature.  Many of the tricks and performances are based out of illusions in order to deceive audiences into believing that what they just saw actually happened.  Magicians hide under the guise of mysterious occurrences in order to portray that something supernatural has occurred.  Of course, it is true that trickery and those who delve into magic can tap into satanic influences which can indeed elevate the portrayal of magic to another level.

However, the bulk of what magicians do is based within deception or illusions. For example, some magicians use mirrors and other tools in order to create an illusion that may be hidden to the naked eye. As a result, the viewer finds him or herself in amazement as to how such an act could be possible when, in essence, the simple root to the act was illusory from the very beginning.

As it relates to the spiritual sense, satan also uses many illusions and deceptive measures to bamboozle those who are unaware.  Not only are his deceptions used against those who are not in Christ, but even those of us who are in Christ can be deceived if we are not discerning of the various tactics and illusions that satan uses. In the book of 1 John Chapter 4, the Apostle John makes reference to those who are false prophets or who engage in false doctrine.  He encourages Christians to be discerning of those who claim to tell the truth, but are truly deceptive. John says in verse 1 the following:

(NLT) Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God. For there are many false prophets in the world.”

The first thing to take note of is that the Apostle John warns us not to believe everyone who claims to speak to us “by the Spirit.” What does he mean when he uses that phrase?  In this context, John is suggesting that there will be those who claim to be speaking by the Holy Spirit or by God’s truth. In reality, not everyone who claims to be a Christian or claims to be speaking under the influence of the Holy Spirit is credible in what they say. It is in this particular context that John is admonishing us to guard against those who may be perceived as inherently spiritual or in Christ because they are being used by satan to confuse those who are truly in Christ.

The Apostle John says that we must test the spirit that is on display before us to discover whether or not it is indeed one from God or one from satan.  Both those who are in Christ and those who are not in Christ are subject to be attacked and led astray by false teachers.  Anyone who is not rooted and grounded in God’s Word, and under the influence of the Holy Spirit can be deceived. However, in order to avoid deception you must do as John says which is to “test the spirit.” How do you test a spirit to ensure that it is from God?

The very first way is to be filled with the Holy Spirit.  In the book of Acts Chapter 1, Jesus teaches His Disciples about the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit is one of the 3 as it relates to the God-Head or the Trinity.  The Holy Spirit is a person within the Trinity who was given the express purpose of leading and guiding all of His people into the truth. John 16:13 says:

(NLT) “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future.” 

The Holy Spirit will lead us and guide us into all truth.  That means when we have the Holy Spirit in our lives, He helps us to avoid deceptions and illusions. In order to be free from deception, we must be filled with the Holy Spirit.  In Acts chapter 2, there is of course what is known as ‘The Day of Pentecost.’ It was an event in which believers were gathered in one place (also known as The Upper Room) and the Holy Spirit descended upon everyone who was there.

Acts 2: 1-4

(NLT) “On the day of Pentecost all the believers were meeting together in one place. Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting. Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them. And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability.” 

To be filled with the Holy Spirit, it involves actively seeking God for the in-filling.  Those who were gathered in the Upper Room, they sought God in order to be filled.  We who are in Christ have the same opportunity to be filled with the Holy Spirit.  In doing so, we then have power and discernment which comes from God.

Secondly, to test or discern the spirits as John says, we must know God’s Word.  Having His Word in our hearts will illuminate our eyes to God’s truth. Much of what the world feeds us is false because it is based on the lies that satan concocts.  Daily, the media, and other sources attempt to cloud the judgment and the eyes of the masses. However, only in Christ and in God’s Word is there safety and truth.

There will be many who will pervert the truth of God and suggest that everything that goes on in society is acceptable.  Sins such as homosexuality and even abortion have now become accepted by mainstream society.  So much so, that even some who claim Christianity have accepted these sins among others as harmless.  However, God’s Word unveils what is righteousness and what is sin.  To test every spirit and false doctrine you and I must use God’s Word as a filter.

John continues in 1 John Chapter 4:

Verses 2-3:

(NLT) “This is how we know if they have the Spirit of God: If a person claiming to be a prophet acknowledges that Jesus Christ came in a real body, that person has the Spirit of God. But if someone claims to be a prophet and does not acknowledge the truth about Jesus, that person is not from God. Such a person has the spirit of the Antichrist, which you heard is coming into the world and indeed is already here.” 

The final way that John provides to us is to look at the person’s behaviors and the words that they speak. Those who are teaching falsely will not acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord.  They will also say and do things that do not line up with God’s Word. This scripture says that such a person is of ‘the Antichrist’ which means to be against Christ. There are various deceptions both in our society and even within many churches.

Satan is crafty and subtle as it relates to using anyone to deceive.  Those of you who are not in Christ, you are operating under a deception.  The illusion that satan uses is one of pleasure and equating happiness to materialism. Such things are disguised as the truth only to hide the lies underneath. Jesus Christ wants to open your eyes to His truth.  If you don’t know Jesus as your personal Lord & Savior, you can be redeemed and set free from the illusions of this world.

For those of us who are in Christ, we must guard ourselves in prayer and we must seek the Lord.  The enemy wants to deceive even the very elect, but it is our responsibility to guard our hearts and our minds through the Holy Spirit and through God’s Word.  The illusion is a reality and many have bought into satan’s deceptions.  However, only God can rescue us from the deceptive tools of the enemy.  Accept Jesus Christ and the truth will be revealed unto you.