Things are often not what they seem. For example, the shimmering reflection on a hot highway is not a body of water off in the distance but an illusion of light refraction. It is just a normal stretch of road from a different perspective. Yet, it can confuse the mind.
The huge orange harvest moon you see on a clear Autumn night fills the horizon with its immense size. But again, it is not what it seems. It is not so close you could almost touch it, but the atmosphere magnifies it to look much closer than 239,000 miles away. Astounding how our eyes and senses can deceive us.
Many things in this world are but an illusion, created by your mind or crafted by others to fool the senses. To deceive the soul and convolute the understanding of the mind. For example, the smooth and flattering words of a so-called friend, religious or self-righteous, can please the flesh. It can dupe the senses or soothe the ego. But the truth is far from the intent of their hearts. Their intentions and illusions are not what they seem.
Beware of those in this time and age who seek to manipulate, domineering, and just plain fake. You will know because after time passes, they will be found not to be characterized by godliness, goodness, purity, holiness, or truthfulness. They have indeed come to lead others astray. They come to lead you away from the narrow path with lies. They are false believers pretending to be of God.
And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. Matthew 24:4-5
And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. Matthew 24:10-13
You must be careful to walk in the Spirit of the Lord, pressing into Him and asking Him for discernment so that they do not mislead you. So many are crafty and walk in the schemes of the devil. They do not serve the One they claim. The false ones masquerade in the manner of angels and with the appearance of goodness and righteousness, walking around in expensive and flowing garments they wear, but their character is flawed.
But under that veil is a dark, sinful heart. The truth is those not of the Lord are actually servants of Satan, even if they do not know it. Yes, it is harsh, but it is true. Therefore, you must judge righteously and test them by their fruit, whether good or bad.
As Jesus said, “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.” Matthew 12:30
Many in this world hide behind a mask of pretense, a shroud of self-deception. Claiming to be one thing but are something different, and they even believe their own lies. They hate the light that dwells within you if you are faithful to the Lord. This light is Jesus Christ. But even when you are hated, it is Jesus they hate.
Whoever hates disguises himself with his lips and harbors deceit in his heart; when he speaks graciously, believe him not, for there are seven abominations in his heart; though his hatred be covered with deception, his wickedness will be exposed in the assembly. Proverbs 26:24-26
These are the characteristics that will tip their hand in your favor. That will shed light on the truth of who they are and confirm the moving and warning that the Spirit has brought to your attention. They will exhibit the same characteristics as the devil himself. He is a liar, thief, manipulator, divisive, and murderer.
There are six things that the LORD hates, seven that are an abomination to Him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers. Proverbs 6:16-19
They are truly fearful of one quintessential thing. They might accidentally reveal who they truly are and the depths of their wicked heart. But you do not walk in darkness. You do not dwell in the shadows where truth is hard to see. Instead, you walk in the ways of the Lord, in the supernatural power of the Spirit of our God. Be bold in power and the authority and brotherhood of Jesus Christ.
If you follow Jesus, you are a joint heir to the throne of God, highly favored and precious in the Lord’s sight. The light of the Savior Jesus Christ has given you power over the darkness by the authority given to Him in the presence of the glory of the Father.
For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. So then, let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. 1 Thessalonians 5:5-6
So walk by the Spirit of the Lord in every way. Wage war not by the material things of this world but by the weapons that come from God that have more power than any other. These weapons are spiritual and have great power to break the power of principalities, dominions, and powers in the heavenly realm.
For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God and take every thought captive to obey Christ, 2 Corinthians 10:3-6