Living in the Stronghold of Deception (Part 6 of 8)
By David Wickey
March 1, 2018
Part five of an eight-part series called Living in the Stronghold of Deception.
For God to take us from pride to humility is the working of the cross by the power of the Holy Spirit. This takes a lifetime of walking with the Lord. One cannot go from pride to humility by one’s own power or might. Pride came when Adam partook of the forbidden fruit in the garden of Eden. Man came into knowledge of good and evil. Man ate of the wrong fruit. The fruit of pride and every evil thing is what Satan is and represents. Pride is the opposite of humility, just as darkness is the opposite of light.
One commentary says: “Pride is the crowning sin that besets the human race; it is the foundation sin of all sin; it is the ‘good side’ of the ‘tree of the knowledge of good and evil.’ Behind every sin, one ultimately will find pride. Pride is the sin that caused the downfall of Lucifer. Pride is the sin that caused the fall of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. God hates pride, because that’s where all sin comes from.”
Pride comes as an angel of light. Pride is very, very deceptive. One cannot detect pride unless one is walking in the way of the cross of Jesus Christ. One cannot detect pride in one’s own life and in the lives of others, unless one is walking the way of the cross of Christ. It is only by the cross that one can walk in true light, which is the opposite of pride. The Holy Spirit is the one who reveals to us our pride as we come into His workmanship. He is the one who gives us true light.
Let’s look at how pride works. Yes, pride has works also. Sometimes these works look like the works of God, but the deception of Satan keeps us from the true works of God and keeps us from believing in the one whom God has sent. Jesus Christ does the work in us by the power of the Holy Spirit. This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent (John 6:29).
John the apostle warned us about this. John had great discernment of the way of darkness and the way of light, the way of antichrist and the way of Christ. When one is not born of the Holy Spirit and is not being led by the Spirit, he walks in darkness and pride. Here is an example: I was raised in a church where tradition was a deeply rooted problem. Very little was preached on how a person is born again. Therefore, nobody was being led by the Holy Spirit, because we didn’t know about the Holy Spirit. When I became old enough to be baptized, by tradition I was baptized into the belief system of the church, which included all the traditional rules and ordinances. Yes, we included the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, but they were just lifeless traditions. Tradition never taught me how to seek God personally. I was never born again. I just learned the rules and ordinances given by the traditions of our belief system. Therefore, I remained in my sin nature and pride, and I did not realize it. The good that I did, by following all the traditions, was nothing more than pride at its worst.
My friend, this is pride in the highest order. This is the “good part” of eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Our sin nature is trying to save our sin nature. DECEPTION! It looks humble and feels humble, but it is the work of pride. We will never know the difference until the Holy Spirit brings us to the place where we cry out to God for help, become born again, and God’s work starts in us. We come into this great salvation. We are baptized into Christ by the Holy Spirit. This is the true faith. God have mercy!
First John 2:16 says: For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. This is exactly how we operate when we try to change our sin nature with the power of the flesh, without being born of the Holy Spirit. The church I belonged to, operated in a worldly system, and didn't know it. It is pride. The rules and ordinances I followed felt good to my flesh, because I thought I was doing good things. How deceptive! How blind! How deaf! I had eyes, but I could not see. I had ears, but I could not hear. I was very empty.
My friend, if you find yourself in this situation, come to Jesus. Wrap yourself in the waiting arms of Jesus Christ. He knows all about it. Let Him open your understanding. Let Him fill you with the Holy Spirit. Come as a little child. He, the Holy Spirit, will lead you into truth. This deceptive pride will no longer have control of your life as you grow in grace and the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ by faith.
I had to forsake all my “good works” and cry out to Jesus Christ. Yes, it was God who brought me to this place. I couldn’t go on the way I was. He changed my life forever. This began forty-four years ago. It is a life of learning who Jesus Christ is.
Philippians 3:13-14: Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Yes, I have failed many times. He has never left me or forsaken me. He will never leave or forsake you. He takes us from operating in pride to living in humility.
When we operate in pride, we become an enemy to the cross of Christ. Philippians 3:18-21: (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.) For our conversation [citizenship] is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.
God is the author of humility. He is the author of our salvation. The humble always call on the name of the Lord. The proud always call upon themselves. The humble get clear vision from heaven. The proud cannot see anything except themselves and their interpretation of Scripture. James 4:6: But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. This is the same kind of grace that saves us and gives us great vision.
Again, this cannot happen outside of the cross working in our lives by the power of the Holy Spirit. True faith operates by true grace. Again, pride brings the fruit of darkness. Humility brings the fruit of light. You shall know them by their fruits.
Proud leaders always lord over the flock in many deceptive ways and lead many into great darkness. It is the work of darkness. The blind will lead the blind and both will fall into the ditch (Matthew 15:14). I would much rather follow one who has greatly failed in life and has humbled himself and called on Jesus Christ. The Lord will lift him out of the pit, because this man has repented of his proud sin nature and now sees God’s great salvation and His great love. I know this man will lead me to the one who has revealed Himself to him instead of lording over me with a bunch of rules and ordinances that will lead me to destruction and death. Read Revelation 2:6. God hates this deception. One commentator said of the Nicolaitans: “The word ‘Nicolaitans’ means ‘laity-conquerors.’” They are preachers who exploit the people instead of spiritually developing them, which all false doctrine does. The Lord hates this, and so should we!
First Peter 5:6: Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time. We are to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God who is doing the work in us. Our own rules and works cannot exalt Christ or bring us into His life. These things will bring us into destruction, with no life, no vision, and no hearing, but only with blindness and deafness. Colossians 1:26-29: Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.
We are to humble ourselves under the working of the mighty hand of God in us, that our eyes and ears would be open to the mystery of what are the riches of the glory of God, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27)!
My dear brothers and sisters, false religion is a terrible, terrible thing. Self-righteousness is a deadly, terrible sin. It is of the devil and it penetrates the church and the children of God. We either are of our Father and our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, for they are one, or of the devil.
In John 8, some were seeking to kill Jesus because the words of Jesus had no place in the lives of these religious people. John 8:41-42: Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God. Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.
Self-righteousness says it loves Jesus, but it can never know or understand the love of Jesus Christ, because its works or deeds are of its father the devil. DECEPTION! Verses 43-44: Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
Now these people, who Jesus said were of their father the devil, were keeping the law of Moses to the best of their understanding. What were the lusts and deeds that were so wrong? Lusts refer to what you set your heart upon. Self-righteousness always sets its heart on its own deeds as a way to God. This is of the devil, and his deeds will you do. It is our own fleshly do’s and don’ts that we put on ourselves and others. In this we can never hear the words of Jesus. We can never come into the fruit of the Holy Spirit.
Hebrews 10:26: If we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins. What is the knowledge of the truth? What does it mean to sin willfully? When I continue to practice some law or works to try to please God after I have heard the truth about Jesus having fulfilled all the law, my sin remains. Instead, we are to come to God in boldness and enter into the Holiest by a new and living way, by the blood of Jesus. This is what He did for us on the cross.
After we have received this truth but still practice some fleshly law or works trying to please God, we are willfully sinning. We can never be saved by the works of the flesh. We are trying to save ourselves by our good works. We are denying what Jesus did for us on the cross. Hebrews 10:29 says that we have trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace.
Brothers and sisters, this is a serious thing. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God, for He will judge (Hebrews 10:31).
Hebrews 10:22-24: Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works.
May I illustrate again? When we try to save ourselves by the deeds of laws and self, it is like a big ocean with our sins mixed in this great body of water. Then, with a little hand dipper, we try to dip out our sins from this great body of water. It is an impossible task. The more I try, the worse it gets. The more I try, the great body of water sucks it out of my little dipper, and it gets worse. Do you see the impossibility? Do you see the frustration? What is the answer to our problem and the problem of mankind? Paul says in Romans 7:24-25: O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.
Trying to separate my sin from this big body of water with a little hand dipper is like trying to save myself by the works of my flesh or self-righteousness. When we do this, we have trodden underfoot the Son of God. We have called the blood of the covenant an unholy thing. Therefore, we cannot come into this great salvation that God has provided for us through Jesus Christ, because we are rejecting the only way to salvation, which is the cross of Christ and what He did for us. This is not only for our salvation, but for continued growth in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. Let us never, never leave the cross of Christ! May God give us wisdom.
To read other parts of this eight-part series, please click on the links below:
Part 1: Fighting the Good Fight
Part 2: God’s Wisdom
Part 3: Circumcision of the Heart
Part 5: True Judgment
Part 6: Pride and Humility
Part 7: Buy of Me Gold Tried in the Firecomments powered by Disqus« Back to Articles