James warns us about the dangers of self-deception: “deceiving your own-selves” and your “own heart” (James 1:22,26). If a Christian sins because Satan deceives him, that is one thing. But if he deceives himself, that is a far more serious matter. Many people are deceiving themselves into thinking they are saved when they are not.
Matt 7:22 “On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me.”
But there are true believers who are fooling themselves concerning their Christian walk. They think they are spiritual when they are not. It is a mark of maturity when a person faces himself honestly, knows himself, and admits his needs. It is the immature person who pretends and says “I’m OK.”
Spiritual reality results from the proper relationship with God through His Word. God’s Word is truth (John 17:17), and if we are rightly related to God’s truth, we cannot be dishonest or hypocritical. In these verses, James stated that we have four responsibilities toward God’s Word, and if we fulfill these responsibilities, we will have an honest walk with God and men.
To eliminate self-deception and to encourage a Working Faith:
- Attentively Listen to the Word of God
- Humbly Accept the Word of God
- Diligently Obey the Word of God
- Courageously Live out the Word of God
James 1:22 “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves.”