As a young girl, one of my favorite past-times was fishing.
I remember one time, my mom fashioned hand-made fishing rods that my sister and I used off the end of an old dock.
The activity of fishing requires bait... often called a lure.
A lure is used to "trick" the fish in to thinking there's something tasty to eat right in front of them.
The fish grabs hold of the lure, not suspecting to be hooked instantly and reeled in towards it's death.
Although a gruesome thought, fishing metaphorically describes what happens when we get "hooked" on the lure and bait of spiritual deception.
To take things a little deeper, the definition of deception according to Google is: the action of deceiving someone.
Synonyms include: trickery, slyness and lying.
As mentioned above, the lure "tricks" the unassuming individual (or in this case, the fish) into believing what's in front of them is wholesome, something that will provide fulfillment and sustenance.
The shine, appeal, the thought and feeling the fish has about the lure is all a deceptive ploy to get the fish to bite the bait.
We as human's have our own spars with baits in our lives.
The lure's that take us away from God's best can be very shiny, appealing and tantalizing.
These lures come in many forms. Addiction, success, wealth, relationships, material possesions and the less often discussed, spiritual beliefs.
The irony of any form OF BAIT, is there is a bit of truth MIXED IN THAT APPEALS TO OUR SENSES.
In order to be deceptive, it must mimic something true, just like the fishing lure.
"If I could just control how much I eat... then I will be beautiful..."
"If I succeed and become financially stable... I won't have any worries or anxiety..."
"If I could have that relationship... I will be happy..."
"If I had this car or that house... people would see me as valuable..."
"If only I felt peace about this decision or it lined up with God's word... this "sign" or feeling must be God's confirmation..."
The bait Jesus followers must be aware of is the lure of spiritual deception. This bait can "appear" and "mimic" the truth found in the Bible.
Looking back over the past few years of my life, how far God has brought me... out of my own weighing struggles with spiritual deception... it is SO clear to me now how easily I mistook the lure of "spiritualism" and new age beliefs as the truth.
We get bogged down by life, the disappointment it brings, the hurt we encounter and it becomes too much for us to handle.
Instead of turning to Jesus, we take matters in to our own hands and the lures around us become so attractive it becomes difficult to distinguish between the truth and the trick.
The enemy (devil) will stop at NO-THING to steal and kill every good thing in your life. Trust me, I know.
Jesus states in John 10:10:
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
In my experience, Jesus is the ONLY WAY to spiritual truth and freedom. All other paths lead to spiritual deception and destruction.
In this season, God's revealing Himself to me through His voice. The Bible says, the sheep hear the Shepard's voice and they know it.
The "voices" and thoughts that whisper to you in your loneliness, anger, bitterness, resentment and regret are baits.
Baits that will trick you in to believing your joy, happiness, freedom and "enlightenment" lie in the future, with one more hit, more stuff, more success, in that relationship or in a particular string of beliefs, practices or ideologies.
In my own life, I've swallowed the bait of spiritual deception.
I've wrote and spouted things I wish I could retract and believed in theories that are deplorable examples of spiritual deception that can take over one’s life should you be influenced by beliefs and practices other than a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, the Father, Holy Spirit and the gospel.
Although I never completely removed biblical references or mention of God from my vocabulary, the context and nature of my beliefs in the past were not of the Christian values I am committed to today.
I was under the influence...
Influenced by the enemy of our souls, the great deceiver and enemy of Heaven, devil and fallen angel, Lucifer himself.
"For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths." 2 Timothy 4:3,4
Spiritual deception and oppression is binding and life altering. You don't know you're deceived under the influence.
Like any addictive substance, belief in counterfeit lures that take you away from God will distort your outlook on reality and cause you to believe in “signs and wonders” that are not from the hand of the Lord.
Although I wish I had not taken the bait, that I did not allow foolish ideologies and practices to rule my life for so long, there is also hope.
My hope remains in the Lord. I trust He will redeem every bit of my sin and the lures I swallowed by telling my story.
That my experience with spiritual deception (click to read about my conversion) would bring glory to His name.
My prayer is others may know the transformative power of Christ, the wholeness, joy and peace a relationship with only Him can bring.
If you've got some shiny lures in your life, it's not too late to swim the other way.
Call on the name of Jesus. Get a Bible and begin reading the TRUTH. Get plugged in to a local church, small group or Bible study.
If you're unsure about an area of belief practice or lure in your life, ask another Jesus follower.
Tell a believer you look up to what you're going through and ask them to help you discern and start swimming in the right direction.
Rid your life of the bait that lured you in the first place. Begin to recognize the Shepard's voice and rebuke the voice of the enemy.
Turn from your former ways, repent, ask Christ's forgiveness.
You CAN begin a fulfilling and sustaining journey towards spiritual truth and away from spiritual deception.
Here's a great music video to close :)
Nicole Zaagman loves Jesus, her high-school sweetheart, Ken and their pint sized Shih Tzu named Hadley. Zaagman is a born again believer, loves Jesus with all her heart and desires others to know the healing power a relationship with Him can bring. She is a full-time entrepreneur as Marketing & Design Director for Zaagman Home Remodeling and Brand & Design Expert of Nicole Zaagman Enterprises, LLC. Nicole is bestselling author to Bee BADASS and Brilliant and Rise Higher - Believe in Your Dream Cuz' No One Else Will. If this post has touched you, Nicole would love for you to share the link. If shared in any capacity please properly credit: An excerpt by Nicole Zaagman at NicoleZaagman.com. May the Lord bless you!