The story of the young and old prophet told in I Kings 13 is a shocking reminder of the fatal consequences of yielding to the spirit of deception. The harsh reality is that deception always results in a loss to the deceived; sometimes it is the ultimate loss – death.
After I had put in my resignation from my last job, my boss invited me to his office for a chat. I knew the discussion would centre on my resignation but I had no idea the extent to which he would go. However, before I left for his office, the Holy Spirit said to me: “Beware of the spirit of the old prophet.”
To say I wasn’t prepared for what transpired during the meeting with my boss was an understatement. There was nothing he didn’t say to dissuade me from the taking the ‘erroneous’ step I was about taking. He reeled out facts to make me see reason and change my mind. Most importantly, my nuclear family size puts me at a serious disadvantage for the mission I was about embarking on, he opined. I must admit that I would have given in to his seeming ‘brotherly’ advice had I not been forewarned by the Holy Spirit.
In order to accord my boss some respect, I told him I would get back to him. I allowed 3 days to go past just so he would get the impression that I reflected on our discussion before sending him an email. In the email I thanked him for his advice but informed him that I had decided to go ahead with my decision. Interestingly, barely fourteen months after I left the organization the prevalent evil wind in the organization blew my boss, who had promised heaven and earth if I stayed back, away!
The worse thing that can happen to any human being is to be deceived. This explains why there are several biblical injunctions instructing believers to make effort to ensure they are not deceived by the evil ones. As I write this article, the current CNN Freedom Project Documentary is Nepal’s Organ Trail. The documentary ‘highlights the brutal and exploitative organ trade in Nepal’ which sees the poor and ignorant villagers deceived to get their kidneys harvested with a promise that the kidneys would grow back! It is also noteworthy that the 276 Chibok girls abducted in April 2014 in Nigeria were deceived into believing that their abductors were actually rescuers! Had the girls known they were talking to terrorists, the Nigerian nation would have been saved the agony of the ugly incident.
The spirit of the old prophet (deception) is the dominant spirit in the world. As a matter of fact, it is the spirit of the end-time. In Nigeria, it has taken over the hearts and minds of most of the leaders. These leaders peddle all kinds of facts with the intent to deceive. The recent rebasing of the country’s GDP is one of such fact-peddling activity. In differentiating between fact and truth, John Paul Jackson – an American gospel preacher – said motive is what differentiates fact from truth. In essence, when the motive is wrong, fact remains a fact. It only becomes the truth when the motive is right.
How to Overcome the Spirit of the Old Prophet
To overcome the spirit of the old prophet, you must be able to discern outright lies, facts and truth. In effect, not yielding to the spirit of deception is a personal responsibility. You just have to take heed that you are not deceived. There are basically three steps to overcoming this destructive spirit:
- Sharpen your 5 senses
Nobody depends on another person’s taste buds to tell the sweetness or otherwise of food. Ensuring our senses of smell, taste, sight, touch, and hearing work well is something we should take seriously because they can save our lives.
If someone offers you water and it smells like urine, you will be foolish to drink it just because the person that offered you insists it is water! I know this sounds ridiculous but I am sure you got the point.
- Obey your instinct
This is your sixth sense. Malcolm Gladwell calls it ‘thin-slicing’ – the human ability to comprehend something without thinking. In relation to the tripartite personality of human beings, this is a product of highly developed minds. This underscores the importance of personal or self development.
I have been saved from countless fallacious investment proposals by my instinct. If you ask me why I didn’t get involved in any of the investments, I would not be able to articulate a plausible answer. I simply I didn’t feel right about them.
- Develop a relationship with God
This is the most important step to avoid being deceived. It is the seventh and perfect sense. This amounts to spiritual development.
Most deceptions are imperceptible to the 5 senses. In some cases your instinct may be beaten by well orchestrated deception. However, when you have and maintain a relationship with God evidenced by hearing His voice, you’ll never be preyed on by any deceiver. The corollary is that if you don’t yet hear God (through the Holy Spirit), you’re susceptible to all kinds of deception especially spiritual deception.
If I had not heard the Holy Spirit’s advice that I should ‘beware of the spirit of the old prophet’, I would have been swayed by the impeccable facts presented by my boss.
When you sharpen your senses, obey your instinct and have a relationship with God, your life becomes impregnable to the spirit of the old prophet.