The very nature of deception is selfish pride! To deceive someone, you have to care more for yourself than you do God or the other. Deception is the purposeful attempt to hide reality, and it leads to delusion and darkness. Always.
No wonder the first deceiver was found in the Garden with two very young creatures who weren’t ready for what their Creator had ALWAYS intended to give them! And no wonder, when confronted with this deceiver, they failed to trust Him Who had never done them anything but good. They were young and naive and the deceiver was both slandering and accusing their Creator, was actually intent on their destruction as a way to hurt his, and their, Creator.
And the great lie was that God was trying to withhold something good from Adam and Eve. This was a deception since it has ALWAYS been God’s intention to share EVERYTHING He has with us WHEN we were ready!
Just look at today’s Gospel Lesson in Luke 12:32-40:
The Lord said, “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give alms; provide yourselves with purses that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Let your loins be girded and your lamps burning, and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the marriage feast, so that they may open to him at once when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes; truly, I say to you, he will gird himself and have them sit at table, and he will come and serve them. If he comes in the second watch, or in the third, and finds them so, blessed are those servants! But know this, that if the householder had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have left his house to be broken into. You also must be ready; for the Son of man is coming at an unexpected hour.”
Wow! Did you hear that? “It is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom.” With this, the Lord Jesus reveals an amazing gift and lays down an equally terrifying opportunity. The gift is plain. The Father wishes, and has ALWAYS (notice this consistent emphasis) intended, to give you EVERYTHING He has. His humility, generosity, and love are boundless. He has ALWAYS intended to share with you everything He is and has. He has NEVER wished to withhold anything from you. The lie told our first parents is the same, tired, lie we fall prey to today. That lie says “God is not good.” “God is holding back.” “God just wants you to be subservient to Him.” “God doesn’t exist.” Lies, all lies. And lies with one intent: steal from you and wage war against God by destroying the objects of His love. God has been slandered and lied about. God’s eternal Life will work backwards AND forwards in your life, filling all your past with His grace and love and extending your true life forever through your communion with Him!
And here is the terrible opportunity. God’s love for you is so profound and complete that He will not violate your free participation or lack of participation in His life. You “can” foolishly continue to be deceived. You can continue to be enslaved to the lie. You don’t have to participate in His life if you choose not to. BUT, you will also never escape the reality of His continual love and life. And rejecting His love and, out of your freedom, choosing to make yourself a slave to the lie, you will be forever tormented by your own foolishness! That’s why they call it “hell.”
Today, are you free from the subtle lies of the deceiver? Does your life reflect your growing maturity in your relationship with God and all around you? It can. All the spiritual “medicine” meant to heal every aspect of your life is here and available to you for the taking. All you have to do is exercise your will to embrace your Father’s good pleasure and all He has is yours! Your life is full of wonder and joy and all it takes to see this is being Orthodox on Purpose!
P.S. We’ve started 2018 with several goals: A new Book, A new video series on the Liturgy, and several speaking engagements around the country. And our first event in 2018 is in North Royalton, Ohio at St. Paul Greek Orthodox Church Jan. 26 and 27. I’ll be joining the Ancient Faith Grow-a-thon from there, so exciting days ahead and, as always, your prayers and gifts to support the work is so necessary!