“Then we will no longer be little children, tossed by the waves and blown around by every wind of teaching, but human cunning with cleverness in the techniques of deceit.” (Ephesians 4:18 CSB)
The purpose of teaching and training of believers is to build us up as the body of Christ toward unity in the faith and in our knowledge of Christ, so that we can mature toward becoming more and more Christ-like, with the result that we will no longer be victims of those who practice the techniques of deceit, which serve to destabilize and derail us. A destabilized and derailed enemy is easily defeated or rendered meaningless.
No doubt each generation has those who practice these techniques, and there are clearly some of these techniques of deceit that plague our times.
Some of these techniques are attitudinal in nature. One prevailing attitude of our day says, “We’re all going to the same place; we just take different paths to get there.” To this Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through me.” Another attitude says, “The church is full of hypocrites.” To this the Lord says, “First get the log out of your own eye; then you can see clearly to help your brother get the speck out of his.” A third attitude says, “Religion is for the weak-minded.” To this Paul replies, “When I am weak, then I am strong.”
Some of the techniques of deceit we encounter are more practical in nature. One technique is to use education to promote a liberal agenda or an agenda of unbelief. To this the Bible says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean toward your own understanding.” Education is a wonderful part of this life, but it can be misused to further a teacher’s personal agenda, or even the agenda of a government. Another technique is tolerance training, where students or employees are forced to submit to classes designed to produce political correctness as demanded in this culture, which again promotes a liberal agenda. Paul replies, “Be careful that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit based on human tradition, based on the elemental forces of the world, and not based on Christ.”
Then, there are some belief-oriented techniques we face. One says, “Truth is relative; there are no absolutes.” Jesus replies, “You shall know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” That is an absolute. Another says, “Seeing is believing.” The Bible says, “From the creation of the world His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what He has made. As a result we are without excuse.” A third says, “God doesn’t really care.” The Bible replies, “God is love,” and, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, so that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but will have eternal life.”
Father, Strengthen us and guide us today and each day as we seek to bear positive witness to everyone in our culture, so that we can counter the techniques of deceit with Your truth. Amen.