Spiritual warfare: Combating deception
The reason Satan tries to deceive us, is to get us to believe something that is simply not true. Believers who are ignorant of God's Word are more likely to be deceived and if they begin to accept Satan's lies as truth, the devil will start to build a stronghold in their minds. A stronghold is an incorrect thinking pattern based upon error and lies that a person has received as truth.
For example, many believers are feeling guilty and condemned because of their past. They feel dirty and unworthy to approach their heavenly Father or have a relationship with Him. The devil has setup this stronghold by continually reminding the person how badly they messed up. He keeps reminding them of their sins which should have been long forgotten. What happens? The person begins to see their sins as greater than the blood of Jesus! How Satanic of those demons to paint such a picture in a person's mind!! If God has chosen to make us new creations, so that our pasts are no longer associated with us, then what are we doing thinking about them?? What is greater... your past sins or the Blood of the precious lamb of God without spot nor blemish?
The devil has convinced many of God's children to believe in a lie that is making them feel just downright defeated and hopeless! Is that the way a child of the Almighty God should be thinking or feeling? Especially after the very Son of God has shed His blood to remove those sins?? Good grief!
Another common way the devil tries to deceive us is getting us to see God incorrectly. Satan wants God's people to see their heavenly Father as a cruel dictator that is cold and distant. Why? Because it will keep them from drawing close to Him and having the intimate relationship that God so deeply longs to have with them! Many people fear God so much that they can't even get near Him! God's Word is clear that love casts out fear... the two are opposites:
1 John 4:18, "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love."
It is true that we are to 'fear' the Lord, but that's a different kind of fear. That's a respectful attitude and reverence for the Lord. A person who properly fears the Lord isn't going to be out mocking His Holy name, but they will not be afraid of Him either.
As you can see, many believers are deceived and fall into a thinking mode that makes them feel hopeless and condemned... all because they accepted error as truth and allowed a stronghold to form in their minds! The devil has fed them a lie that their heavenly Father is cold, cruel and distant... and because they accepted that lie, their feelings reflect the error.
God's Word clearly tells us to watch out, because the devil would love to get our minds muddied up concerning our relationship with God through deception:
2 Corinthians 11:3, "But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled (deceived) Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ."
How do we counter this weapon of deception?
First, let me ask you this. What is deception based upon? Error! Lies! Untrue assumptions! How do you counter a lie? With the truth! Where do you find the truth? God's Word!
The devil says, "God doesn't love you anymore since you had that adultery!"
God's Word says, "You are loved for who you are, not for what you've done. For even before you accepted Jesus at all, Christ gave His life for you! Just turn back to your heavenly Father, repent of your sins, for He longs to have your relationship with Him restored!"
1 John 2:1, "...if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous."
The devil replies, "Yeah well, God may forgive you, but you're relationship with Him will never be the same!"
God's Word replies, "God will not only forgive you, but He longs (deeply desires) to be gracious to you! Your heavenly Father wants to restore the precious relationship that you once had with Him!"
Isaiah 30:18, "Therefore the LORD longs to be gracious to you, And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you..." (NASB)
Isaiah 1:18, "Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool."
Stop meditating on the deception the devil has been feeding you, and start meditating on God's Word. You will begin to tear down strongholds and as your mind is renewed by the Word of God, your feelings will reflect those changes.