Mat 24:4 Jesus told them, "Don't let anyone mislead you,Mat 24:5for many will come in My name, claiming, 'I am the Messiah.' They will deceive many.Mat 24:6And you will hear of wars and threats of wars, but don't panic. Yes, these things must take place, but the end won't follow immediately.Mat 24:7Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in many parts of the world.Mat 24:8But all this is only the first of the birth pains, with more to come.
Jesus starts this section out with the very interesting statement, "Don't let anyone mislead you.." Other versions use the word "deceive" instead of mislead; the point is the same. On these matters of last day events and on Jesus and His message "many will come" and many will be deceived.
How do you know when your being deceived?
Question: How can I know I'm being deceived?
Answer: You don't know your being deceived until you're no longer deceived.
Question: If I can be deceived and not know it, what must I do to avoid being deceived in the first place?
Answer: Learn that the following statement is not an endorsement for the honesty and integrity of the one giving the statement, it is a call to action. Here is that statement: "Don't just take my word for it; study it for yourself"
Deception is very deceptive otherwise it wouldn't deceive you it would just irritate you and insult your intelligence. That sounds like a bad one-liner but it is actually a true statement. Deception takes many forms. It can become so deeply rooted in our lives that even when truth is revealed we resist it. Resistance often entrenches deception because, as our treasured belief is challenged, we build up the walls around it to protect it from the attack of truth.
So, how can we know the difference between truth and deception?
Be a Seeker - When it comes to the Word of God we must let the Word interpret itself. The bible explains itself to the diligent seeker, but you must be diligent and you must continue to seek. Once you have lined up all the facts regarding a question or subject in the bible then ask for clarity on the matter and be willing to do what it says and stand for what it says.
John 5:30 I can do nothing on My own. I judge as God tells Me. Therefore, My judgment is just, because I carry out the will of the One who sent Me, not My own will.
Be an Honest Seeker - Check your own motivation. Why are you seeking? What is the purpose to what your doing? Are you seeking to know God's Will on the matter or are you seeking to defend your own. Do you want to know what God wants, or are you trying to find backing for your own treasured opinion?
This is not easy. We humans love to be right and hate to be wrong. If you are jealous to know God's will above all else, then He will show it to you.
John 5:39 "You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to Me! John 5:40 Yet you refuse to come to Me to receive this life. John 5:41 "Your approval means nothing to Me, John 5:42 because I know you don't have God's love within you. John 5:43 For I have come to you in My Father's name, and you have rejected Me. Yet if others come in their own name, you gladly welcome them. John 5:44 No wonder you can't believe! For you gladly honor each other, but you don't care about the honor that comes from the One who alone is God.
Be Open Minded - ...just not so open your brain falls out. Being open minded is not a license to go wherever the wind blows. Instead it allows us to listen to ideas without throwing up barriers, and then using good methods of learning we can check those ideas against the Word of God to know if they are truth or error. Having an open mind means you are teachable by God...just make sure he is the one teaching you.
Matthew 11:7 As John's disciples were leaving, Jesus began talking about him to the crowds. "What kind of man did you go into the wilderness to see? Was he a weak reed, swayed by every breath of wind?
Ask for Wisdom - Wisdom is something that God has promised He will give us if we ask for it. Don't mistake God's wisdom for worldly wisdom. You won't suddenly become a master of quantum mechanics, but instead He will give you wisdom to understand spiritual matters. This is where the "honest seeker" must now have the backbone to accept that wisdom. God gives us wisdom, but what we do with it is left up to our free will.
John 14:17 He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive Him, because it isn't looking for Him and doesn't recognize Him. But you know Him, because He lives with you now and later will be in you.
Ask for Guidance - When we start the journey to find a place we have never been to before, we always consult a map. When seeking for truth, you should always ask for guidance. This will come from the Holy Spirit and you should ask for the Holy Spirit directly. He will guide you into understanding.
Luk_11:13 So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him."
Be Willing to Do What you Find - God will reveal His will to those who are willing to do what He asks. Many people think the Will of God is a list of "don'ts", but the truth of the matter is that God usually asks us to "do" something. "Love your neighbor" , "do good to those who persecute you" , "go and preach the gospel". These are all actions! If you want to know the Will of God then be willing to do what He asks of you.
Luke 6:27 "But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you.
Philemon 1:14 But I didn't want to do anything without your consent. I wanted you to help because you were willing, not because you were forced.
Wrapping this all up we should do what Jesus says and "not let anyone mislead" us. Be diligent for truth, open minded, seeking and loving the Will of God. Be willing to change your course if God shows you truth and be willing to stand firm in the truth when you know it in your heart. Love God more than your own ideas and you will have a strong position against deception.
Dear Father in Heaven,
I am frail and weak. Lord, You are strong and infinitely able. Today I ask you for wisdom and strength to do what You show me is right. Lord, help me to not be deceived by the pleasantries of pride and selfishness. Fill me with the Holy Spirit today. Thank You for Your guidance and love and mercy. Bring Your children home and show me how to do my part. Amen.