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The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him. Revelation 12:9 (NIV)

The worst kind of deception is the deception that catches us unaware because it is partially true. Like an apple with a worm in it, what we hear and believe looks good until we make a commitment to it and bite into it. Only then do we realize that it is rotten to the core. Deception robs us of life. Deception robs us of trust. In the spiritual realm it’s like rape because when our naivety is revealed it humiliates us.

Too often, those of us who call ourselves Christ-followers have been duped into slavery by deception. The Apostle Paul, when writing to the Galatians asks the question, “Who deceived you? Why have you returned to the very slavery Christ has set you free from?” (Galatians 3:1; 5:1). He’s not talking to unbelievers here. He’s talking to the church, the body of Christ, disciples of Jesus.

We as believers in Jesus Christ must realize that we are at war. Anyone steeped in the understanding of warfare realizes that there are three things necessary for victory. First one must know his enemy. By that I don’t mean we know the enemy simply by name. We learn his weapons. We memorize how he uses those weapons. We look for weaknesses in his armor, his plan and his tools. We search for the holes in his defenses.

Secondly, we strategize. We come up with a plan that realizes our limitations and utilizes our strengths. Going into battle without a plan is suicide, not to mention just plain stupid. A well formulated plan allows the David’s of the world to defeat Goliath.

Thirdly, the battle is won when, after learning all we can about the enemy, and formulating our plan we go into battle resolved to stick with our plan. Many a battle has been lost because those who have been defeated stray from the plan and are lured into playing the game on the battlefield of the opponent. When we play the game at his level, the enemy knows he has us beaten. It’s only a matter of time before we defeat ourselves.

It’s time to sound the battle cry. The war for our souls was won on the cross once and for all, but we fight daily battles in which the enemy tries to destroy the freedom we have in Christ. Our enemy is Lucifer, the great Satan, the once beautiful and glorious angel of the most high. He was defeated at the Cross. His defeat was finalized when Jesus rose from the dead, but he’s not finished yet. His goal remains the same, to lure us from all the best God has for us.

Satan knows that the best way to keep us from living victoriously is to attack us in our most vulnerable place, the heart. If he can get us to feel badly about ourselves he knows he has a foothold into the other areas of our lives. After all, even Jesus tells us that the two most important commandments are to love God and to love others. What measuring rod does he use for that love? How we love ourselves.

When we feel good about ourselves we take care of ourselves physically, emotionally and spiritually. When we feel bad about ourselves in those areas it affects how we see God and others. Strong relationships with others begin with a strong understanding and love for ourselves.

Don’t be deceived any longer. Refuse to listen to the lies that Satan tells you. Listen instead to the words of a loving Creator God who is passionate about seeing you through the battles of life victoriously.

PRAYER: Father God. I’ve listened to lies long enough. I’ve bought into what Satan has to say about me. I ask that you would empower me to see myself as you see me. Protect me from enemy attack through your Holy Spirit. Amen.

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