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James and Renee Pannell Yates

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We deceive ourselves

Our patterns of co-dependency developed from our dysfunctional families become one of the driving forces of deception.  Dysfunction teaches us two things. First it isn't safe to talk about our problems or even what may have been done to us. Secondly it teaches us not to tell anyone about our "family secrets".  The result of holding our pain to ourselves causes us to develop avoidance and escape mechanisms into our ways of thinking to help us deal with our pain.  Thus we fall into a spiral of pain and avoidance until whom we are is covered by pain, bitterness and un-forgiveness. Depression and failed relationships cloud what we really are to the point we aren't even sure. Lets look at some of the ways that deception stops us from entering into the full happy life, Jesus died for us to have.

1. Hearing but not doing; James 1:22-27

Since the fall of man eating of the fruit of knowledge of good and evil, there is within man the mindset that knowledge will solve the problem.   So we go on a quest to gain knowledge, thinking that knowledge will bring us to life.  Lord let me know what the problem is, Lord tell me what the answer is.  We seldom get an answer to those kinds of prayer, because just knowing will not bring lasting healing or relief from pain.  Put into practice what you hear.  This means we have to hear it preached, hear ourselves repeat it and begin to put it into practice.  This is not just something we do to overcome a problem but it is rather a lifestyle that we choose.  James plainly says that if we only hear we have deceived ourselves.  I think it is because we choose Adams sin, eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge instead of the tree of life. Am I against knowledge no I study the Bible as much as anyone.  I read books.  I believe you should learn something new everyday. Knowledge however is not my source; my communion with the Lord leads me to life.

2. If we claim to be without sin; 1 John 1:8

One of the first avoidance mechanisms that we build into our thinking is denial. If we were not allowed to properly deal with our pain as children we deny its existence.  Our hearts were designed by God to cry out for closure.  The law clearly shows Gods plan for restitution to be made for sin.  In Deuteronomy as the law was given concerning the theft and the killing of livestock.  If someone stole your sheep he was required by law to restore sometimes seven times what he stole.  To kill another's sheep called for restoring the sheep that was killed. However if the sheep was killed on purpose it had to be restored with seven sheep.  We see in God's plan not so much that he cares about sheep, but he cares about our interpersonal relationships.  Regardless of the reasoning when we choose denial over confession we deceive ourselves.

3. If we compare ourselves to other people, look down on others, or think we are wise by the worlds standard, 1 Corinthians 3:18, Galatians 6:1-5

We become the most deceived when we compare ourselves with others.  If I compare myself with someone else depending upon my viewpoint I could see my strengths, their weaknesses and become filled with pride that I am better than they.  I could take the view of seeing my weaknesses and their strengths and become depressed or angry trying to become them.  God has created us all uniquely with a purpose and a plan divinely inspired by the Father.  We cannot function in another's life each person has their own set of strengths and weaknesses. When I compare myself with others or look down on others in essence I join myself with the original sin of Adam.  I say to God, "I don't trust you, you really don't know what is best for me."   Man is most fulfilled when he finds what God has created him for and begins to walk in that purpose.  If I am called to be a doorman, let me learn to be the best I can be.  Why to please God, no when I came to Jesus I pleased God. Nothing I do or don't do after those changes my pleasing God. I will always be pleasing to God, because of my relationship with Jesus.  My relationship with Him is never in jeopardy when Jesus saved me I received his DNA.   I was adopted into the family of God.  My actions do however determine my communion with God.  If I want to "know" God I must come to Him His way, conform my life to His word. Understand He will not conform to my way of thinking.