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Three times in the first chapter of James we are warned about being deceived. Specifically we are cautioned against deceiving ourselves. While the Lord does not desire for us to live in fear (cf. 1 John 5:13; 2 Cor. 5:1; Heb. 10:22-23; et. al.), it is dangerous and foolish to act as if we have no sin (1 John 1:8).

We deceive ourselves when we blame God for our sin and the consequences thereof (James 1:16). In the context of James 1:13-18, we learn that we are never to blame God when we are dealing with the consequences of our own sinful choices. God does not lure us into sin—He provides ways to escape from the temptations (1 Cor. 10:13).

We deceive ourselves when we hear the word of God but fail to act (James 1:22). It is one thing to know what is right—what is the will of God—it is quite another thing to actually do what is known to be righteous (cf. James 2:14-26; 4:17). The wise are those who hear the Word of God and subsequently obey (Matt. 7:24-27). We deceive ourselves into feeling righteous when we know things about the Gospel but fail to actually live them.

We deceive ourselves when we fail to control our tongues (James 1:26). Words are powerful. We all know this. The Lord compares the power of words to destroy to the terror of raging fires (James 3:5-6). If we use our tongues to brag on ourselves, but then use those tongues to curse, lie, etc. we are fooling ourselves about who we really are.

Bart Warren
South Green Street church of Christ
Glasgow, KY

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