The Power of Deception

Hope, Healing & Freedom Podcast: Episode 82


Have you ever been deceived? Most of us have. Some deception is obvious like, “Hey lady, this cream will make all your wrinkles go away in one application, trust me!”  Other deception is not so obvious. In fact, the very nature of deception is that when you are deceived you don’t know it. In this podcast I am going to talk about the power of deception and how to guard against it. It will be good, trust me!

This is Lee Whitman with Restoring the Foundations, and we welcome you into this Hope Healing and Freedom Podcast. The verse for today is Galatians 5:7-8, “You ran well. Who hindered you (deceived you) from obeying the truth. This persuasion does not come from Him who calls you.”

I am coming at this podcast from my father’s heart for God’s people. I have been noticing that many in the body of Christ are being pulled away from the simplicity of the truth taught in God’s Word. I believe that one of the causes of this sliding away from the truth is due to the power of deception. We know that the truth sets people free according to John 8:32, “and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  Since that is true then the opposite of that is also true that lies and deception hold people in bondage. Some of this deception are big things like “I can have this affair and no one will find out”. Some of the deceptions are about smaller things. Regardless of the size of the deception it is difficult for the one who is deceived to recognize that they are being deceived. As I said in the beginning, by its very nature when someone is deceived, either a big deception or a smaller deception, they do not know it. Oh, by the way, tolerating a little deception is like drinking a little poison and hoping it does not hurt you. It might not kill you all at once, but it is killing you slowly.

Today’s verse points out an obvious problem that happens when deception gets involved. In talking to the Galatian believers the Apostle Paul says, “You ran well. Who hindered you or deceived you from obeying the truth. This persuasion does not come from Him who calls you.”  These believers were doing well in running the race of faith. They were obeying the teachings of Jesus through Paul until something happened to deceive them. We really don’t know for sure what caused them to get off the path of Christ other than false teachers came and began deceiving these new believers. I am not sure why they began listening to these false teachers. It could have been that the people liked what they were hearing from these false teachers more than the sound doctrine that Paul taught. Wow, that sounds familiar in our world today. The fact that Paul had to write to correct them says that they believed what these teachers said. Paul taught them that their salvation and their righteous standing with God were by grace alone. These other teachers taught that they were saved by grace but then they had to work to maintain their righteousness. Well Lee, we don’t have that problem today, right? Unfortunately, we do have that very same issue today. Pastors will teach that you are saved by the grace of God, but you must prove your righteousness by what you do.

Let me give you a simple example. Many in the body of Christ are taught that following Christ is only about your external behavior. If you do the right things and don’t do the wrong things, then you must be a good Christian. Jesus however saw things very differently. He says in Matthew 5:28 that committing adultery is not just about the outward behavior, but that if you lust after a woman in your heart, it is as it you have already committed adultery with her. The power of deception reduces the commandments of Jesus to the outward behavior only. Jesus says it is about the heart.

One of the major deceptions that this spirit of deception has brought into the church is that many have become hearers of God’s word but not doers. We have been deceived into thinking that if we attend church on Sunday and listen to a good sermon then we have fulfilled our requirement with God. When we moved to Tennessee, we encountered something that we had not experienced in either Michigan where I grew up, or in Texas where we attended seminary. In Tennessee it was not uncommon for people who found out that we were new to Tennessee to ask, “Where do you go to church?” They would ask where we were from, because obviously our accent was not from the south, and where do you live now, what town or city, and where do you go to church. We thought this was an odd question for them to ask upon first meeting us. What we discovered was that going to church was a cultural thing much like finding out if you were a democrat or a republican or if you belonged to the local country club. It did not mean you actually lived a lifestyle of following Christ; it simply gave them a frame of reference on what kind of a person you were. The outward appearance was more important than a transformed life and an intimate relationship with Christ.

When we use those around us as our standard for living the Christian life, even those in our churches, we open ourselves up to this spirit of deception.  2 Corinthians 10:12 says “But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.” One of the ways we get deceived is by comparing ourselves to those around us instead of allowing the Word of God and the Holy Spirit to be our standard. “Well, I am doing better than Sam with all of his struggles”. The only standard we can use for our measuring stick is the Word of God.

Another deception that is common for believers is “I am not smart enough to know what the Bible says, so I won’t read it.” Then they proceed to try and get the Word they need from the Sunday morning sermon. Hopefully you are in a church that is teaching the truth of God’s Word, but only getting your portion of God’s Word from a Sunday sermon is not enough. You need to be in the Word for yourself.  Colossians 2:4-7 says Now this I saylest anyone should deceive you with persuasive words.Forthough I am absent in the flesh, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicingto seeyourgoodorder and thesteadfastness of your faith in Christ. As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.” How are you going to know if you are being deceived with persuasive words if you don’t know what God’s Word says. You don’t need a seminary degree to be able to read the bible.

You also have the Holy Spirit living in you. When you hear a sermon, the Holy Spirit in you knows if something is off base or not. As you make the effort to read God’s Word on a regular basis, God’s Word gets in you and the Holy Spirit uses that to keep you from deception.

Let me say this from my heart. We are entering into a time when the need for believers to know God’s Word for themselves is even more important. With the increase of the availability of AI (Artificial Intelligence) we need to know what the Bible actually says. An ever-increasing number of pastor are using AI to write sermons for them. AI have been programmed with a bent or a leaning in their processing of information. And the bent is not toward the truth of God. AI gathers information from all sources on the internet and produces the requested product. For pastors, it is sermon notes. My question is how much of the spirit of deception is included in the information gathered by AI.

I realize I may get some emails about this, but I have to put the warning out there. There is a movement that is gathering popularity called Progressive Christianity. It has taken what is progressive thinking from our world and integrated it into a theology. It is very dangerous. It has taken things the Bible calls sin and made them acceptable. And it has taken what the Bible calls holiness and calls it judgmental and hateful. Progressive Christianity is a demonstration of this spirit of deception. People are being deceived into thinking that these things are what God actually teaches when they are not. That is why it is so important for the followers of Jesus Christ, you and me, to know what the Bible actually says and be willing to declare that truth to the world that is being deceived.

I come back to 2 Corinthians 10:5 that we used in last week’s podcast. It says from The Passion Translation “We can demolish every deceptive fantasy that opposes God and break through every arrogant attitude that is raised up in defiance of the true knowledge of God. We capture, like prisoners of war every thought and insist that it bow in obedience to the Anointed One.”

This verse outlines how to deal with this spirit of deception. First, we have to demolish every deceptive fantasy that opposes God. Is God against those people who are mired in sinful lifestyles? Absolutely not. He loves and accepts them as His creation. Does He accept their sinful behavior? Absolutely not! What would it be like for the world to see the church do the same thing. What if we accepted the sinner and allowed God to deal with their sin. When I was personally mired in my addiction to pornography, I am so thankful that God loved me enough in spite of my sinful behavior to reach down and love me out of my sin. Many who are living in sinful lifestyles feel distain and rejection from Jesus’ church instead of love.

Another thing 2 Corinthians 10:5 says is that it is essential that we take every thought captive like a prisoner of war and insist that it bow in obedience to the Anointed One, Jesus Christ. This is one of the major weapons we have against this spirit of deception. We must take thoughts captive and make them become obedient to Jesus. This is how we are going to know if something is the truth or if it is distorted by deception. I know you have had this happen at some point, but you will hear something said by a friend or a pastor or on a podcast, yes even this podcast, and you have had what is called a check in your spirit. Something in you was troubled by what you heard. You may not even know what it was that troubled you, but something didn’t sit right. I want to encourage you to listen to that voice inside that is telling you something is off. Then take what you heard and spend some time with Father God and find out what He has to say about that thought. That is a form of taking captive anything that is raised up in defiance of the true knowledge of God as it says in this scripture. Please don’t just brush off that impression. Take it captive and ask Father God what He wants you to know about that troubling thought. He is so good at showing us His truth when we take the time to listen to him.

We are in a day when deception is going to rise. Do not fear the rise of deception. It is showing us the need for us to center our lives on God’s rock-solid truth. Get to know His Word. It will keep you from deception.


Father God, I thank you for your Word. You have given us your Word as a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. Father, I ask that you will keep our spirits sensitive to the presence of deception and when we detect deception we will aggressively take it captive to the obedience of Jesus Christ. I also ask that if anyone listening to the podcast is being deceived, You will reveal the deception so they can align themselves with your truth. You are a good, good Father who wants His children to walk in truth. I come against any fear raised up by the possibility of being deceived. I release blessings on everyone who is listening today. In Jesus Name! Amen.

We look forward to being with you again next week on the Hope Healing and Freedom podcast.

If you recognize that you need some ministry, go to our website at and click on the Get Ministry tab at the top to find an RTF minister near you.   

RTF Featured on The Shawn Bolz Show

On the second half of this week’s episode (May 20th 2024) of “The Shawn Bolz Show”  RTF directors, Lee and Cindi Whitman, were the guests. Watch for powerful insight and two special listener offers on products to help bring hope, healing, and freedom.