We are in the middle of a series addressing the topic of protecting against deception. I encourage you to read the three previous articles to see where we are picking up. As fathers and husbands, God has given us the huge responsibility of guarding our own hearts from deception and also those of our families. This will only happen as we make definitive choices to walk in the truth of God’s Word—the Bible.
Continuing with the account of the fall in Genesis, let’s investigate another aspect that applies to deception. “And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat” (Genesis 3:12). Amazingly, instead of owning the responsibility for his sin, Adam blames both God and Eve for his disobedience. So it goes today; there is nothing new under the sun. We continue to blame God and others for our personal sin and for any deception embraced by those in our family. The cry is, “It wasn’t my fault.” Adam was there when Eve sinned. He shouldn’t have listened to her, but instead he should have protected her and stopped her. He wasn’t willing to own personal responsibility for not helping Eve to avoid being deceived.
So often today dads are engrossed in work or play while their families are in deep spiritual trouble. Dads are the ones held responsible before the Lord for not protecting their families from this deception, but they are often apathetic and complacent regarding their responsibility—blaming others. Adam was simply the first of many. If each dad fully owned his responsibility before the Lord, I believe, we would not have a professing church that is living in deception, little different from the world, nor would we be living in a pagan nation that allows the daily slaughter of innocent babies. It is convenient to blame pastors and teachers for what is taught, or not taught, to our families and then embraced by them when it really is our responsibility to protect them from following the deception.
Adam was likely aware that Eve was speaking with the serpent and what was being said. He should have intervened. Since most dads are away from their families eight or more hours a day, how can they protect their wives and families from deception? Communication is critical to guarding our families. We need to be listening to our wives carefully and asking questions. As we listen to them, we must wonder: are there others who are tempting her or the children down a deceptive road that runs counter to God’s Word?
Also, a wife can be very spiritually sensitive, and if asked, she might have cautions about the direction her husband is walking. Does she see some inconsistency in his life, or is there sin that she desires to warn him about? A wife is can be like a modern radar array antenna, and we would do well to seek frequent feedback from her. Adam’s problem was in obeying Eve; his problem was not in listening to her. He just should have responded sooner to have prevented tragedy. Based on our e-mails, this is frequently the case in many homes today. Dads, if we want to avoid deception, may we ask our wives for their thoughts on the direction of the family and the dangers they see ahead.
In 1 Kings 13, God sent a prophet to prophesy against Jeroboam. God told the prophet to “Eat no bread, nor drink water, nor turn again by the same way that thou camest” (1 Kings 13:9). After speaking with Jeroboam, the prophet obediently returns via a different route. However, an old prophet who lived in that area went after the prophet and said to him, “I am a prophet also as thou art; and an angel spake unto me by the word of the LORD, saying, Bring him back with thee into thine house, that he may eat bread and drink water. But he lied unto him” (1 Kings 13:18). Here we have an account of how a man began by being obedient to God, but another convinced him to disobey. What was the outcome?
“And it came to pass, as they sat at the table, that the word of the LORD came unto the prophet that brought him back: And he cried unto the man of God that came from Judah, saying, Thus saith the LORD, Forasmuch as thou hast disobeyed the mouth of the LORD, and hast not kept the commandment which the LORD thy God commanded thee, But camest back, and hast eaten bread and drunk water in the place, of the which the LORD did say to thee, Eat no bread, and drink no water; thy carcase shall not come unto the sepulchre of thy fathers” (1 Kings 13:20-22). We are told in the following verses how, after eating and drinking at the old prophet’s house, he left, God delivered him to a lion, and he was killed.
The prophet was deceived, and it cost him his life. God had spoken to him personally, but he chose to ignore those words and heed another’s deception. We must obediently cling to the Word of God to avoid the consequences of being deceived.
Today obedience seems to be underemphasized. Yes, we are saved and sanctified by grace through Jesus Christ alone, but He calls us to a life of obedience. “Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him” (John 14:23). Obedience is powerful in our lives. It draws us into greater fellowship with the Lord, and it confirms in our hearts God’s truth, keeping us from deception. It gives our hearts confidence and assurance that the path we are walking is truth, and that we are not being deceived. “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself” (John 7:17).
I know in our family there have been times when the children have said, “You never told us not to do that.” That may have been true, but they had been told clearly what they should do. If we are obedient with what we should be doing, we aren’t in danger with what we shouldn’t be doing. God’s commands highlight our personal responsibility to obey. The more we are in the Word and reminding ourselves of His commands to us, the more we will feel that responsibility to obey. Obedience to the Word protects from deception.
Today God is still the same, and He holds us accountable to follow His Word. To do that we must be in His Word daily and study to show ourselves approved. If we are sitting under a pastor who is leading families astray, God is holding the fathers responsible for following deceptive teaching, and there may be consequences. “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth” (Hebrews 12:6). God has given us His Word. We are to be in it, and then obey it.
Let’s summarize how to protect our families from deception. First, we will acknowledge before God that we own full responsibility for protecting our families from deception. We can’t blame anyone else, and we must take this matter seriously. As we own the responsibility that God has placed on us dads, we will have a keen interest in studying His Word individually and with our families. There are no other options; we must be in the Word daily. We must continually talk with our wives and children, asking them questions. How are they being tempted, and what do they see in us that causes them concern? Finally, we must be committed to obeying the truth that God gives us. Through our obedience, His presence is revealed in our lives (John 14:21), and He confirms His truth. Dads, as we seek the Lord Jesus through His Word and obedience, we will be drawn out of a “going-through-the-motions,” stale religion into a dynamic, Spirit-filled walk with Jesus.