The Bible is filled with warnings about the dangers of being deceived. We are warned not to let ourselves be deceived by other people. In Ephesians 5:6 the apostle Paul says, “Let no one deceive you with empty words…” and in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 he says, “Let no one deceive you by any means”. We also are given warning about letting Satan deceive us. In 2 Corinthians 11:14 Paul says, “For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.” Ephesians 6:11 tells us to “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.”
There is another way in which we may be deceived, and it is the most dangerous one. As long as we are on guard against external forces trying to deceive us, we can take steps to protect ourselves. It is when the deception comes from within us that we are most at risk. When we deceive ourselves we tell ourselves what we want to hear. We convince ourselves that things are true because we want them to be true. We convince ourselves that sinful things we are doing really aren’t that bad because other people are doing things that are much worse. We choose not to remember that God will call us to account for what WE have done, regardless of what someone else has done (2 Corinthians 5:10). Sometimes we may tell ourselves that we will continue in some sin for a while longer, but we will repent later. We forget that we have no guarantee that we will have a tomorrow in which to repent (1 Thessalonians 5:2-3). It is also possible for a person to become so hardened by sin that they can no longer repent (Hebrews 6:4-6). We can also convince ourselves that our sins are someone else’s fault. James says that we shouldn’t be deceived, sin starts in our own hearts (James 1:13-16). We can deceive ourselves into believing that we are fine religiously speaking (James 1:26). All forms of deception are dangerous, but the lies we tell ourselves are the ones most likely to cost us our souls. “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.” (1 John 1:8-10).