"There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death" (Proverbs 14:12).
Self-deception is the worst kind of dishonesty, because it is so convincing. Subtly, it convenes our mind and emotions to ally around a lie. For example, self-deception whispers into the ear of our heart, “You are so smart and capable” but forgets to include Christ’s influence in its instruction. Then, we wander down a prayer-less path, forged by our own strength, only to discover we missed God’s best by a mile.
In reality, we are only as prosperous as our Lord allows. He makes our path straight and successful, as He defines success. “I guide you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths” (Proverbs 4:11). To which voice do you adhere—your own or your Savior’s? Perhaps His plan is for you to make less money and have more family time. Maybe you turn down this promotion and trust Him for a better one in a different season.
“The pride of your heart has deceived you” (Obadiah 1:3).
We can talk ourselves into anything, especially as it relates to money. I can easily justify a new house, car, kitchen, furniture, floors, or grill. But do I really need to upgrade--or just repair what I have? How can the Lord trust me with something newer if I have not been a good steward of what He has already given me? Trustworthy people can be trusted with more, but the untrustworthy lose opportunities. Therefore, manage well your present possessions.
Self-deceivers are self-destroyers; so avoid self-delusion by being accountable. Give others permission to ask you uncomfortable, even hard, questions. Better to be embarrassed sooner rather than humiliated later. Humility invites the inspection of loving friends into our lives. You do much better when others provide loving accountability.
“The heart is hopelessly dark and deceitful, a puzzle that no one can figure out. But I, God, search the heart and examine the mind. I get to the heart of the human. I get to the root of things. I treat them as they really are, not as they pretend to be” (Jeremiah 17:9 msg).