Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching. Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you.
—1 Timothy 4:16
Years ago, I watched a TV show in which a so-called magician revealed his secrets. I had always wondered about how these entertainers performed certain tricks, and it was fascinating to me.
At the same time, it reminded me of how the devil is a master manipulator. He wants to trick us, and we need to be aware of that. He tries to dazzle us with a lot of deceptions and temptations.
The Bible reminds us, “Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching. Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you” (1 Timothy 4:16 NLT).
As Christians, we need to know what we believe. False teachers can trick and mislead us, especially when we are new in the faith and don’t have spiritual discernment.
The apostle Paul wrote, “Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. . . . Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth” (Ephesians 4:11–12, 14 NLT).
The King James Version renders the last part of the passage this way: “They lie in wait to deceive.”
That is how Satan is. He sizes us up, waits, and looks for the right opportunity. And then when he sees the opportune time, he strikes. We need to be aware of his tactics and make sure that we are spiritually mature. And we need to be firmly grounded in what we believe.