The following is an excerpt from my book SharpShooting: Your Bronze Bow. In this chapter of Matthew (check out the archer below), Jesus is sharp shooting a common human cycle that people often get caught in: the deceptive cycle. It is so easy to get hooked into deception, even for a seasoned, healthy adult. This cycle sneaks in and begins to cloud thinking skills and limit creative trouble-shooting skills. It pulls a person down in every way, affecting well-being, perspective, habits, and relationships. This article gives 4 great tips for you to begin to sharp shoot your way out of it.

BREAK FREE from deception!

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“The human heart is prone to sin. When it is not surrendered and focused on Jesus, all manner of evil rises. It starts a little at a time, becoming a greater presence with each deceptive cycle. The conscience is seared and the heart desensitized. Relationships are broken. Then one day, you ask, “How did I get here?!

The enemy has crafty strategies to target body, soul, and spirit:

  • Body – he targets areas of your flesh and this world: comforts and pleasures.
  • Soul – he throws your aim off with status, possessions, and accomplishments.
  • Spirit – he deceives you to focus your crosshairs away from God.

Your mind is actively involved in all three of these human components. You engage in processes like: justifying, judging, wanting, defending, fighting, ignoring, shutting down, etc. All these are outlets of fear, insecurity, pride, and deception. The fix: “Humble yourself before the Lord, and He will lift you up.”

After humbling yourself comes the step of renewing your mind in Scripture. Following that, you must work out your salvation: do what the Word says! This is posturing correctly with God. Finally, God does what only He can: He literally forms you into His character as you partner with Him. The miracle: transformation.

Many life conditions are the result of hardened hearts, especially in close relationships. Hardness of heart breaks down intimacy. Relationships end.”

So, in summary, what should you do when you realize you are allowing yourself to function in some kind of deception, no matter how small. Here are the steps:

  1. Be very honest with yourself and with God. Humble yourself to look the cycle square in the eye and call it what it is. Stop justifying and explaining. Get beyond the power of deception by identifying it.
  2. Renew your mind in Scripture. Find something in God’s Word that applies to your situation. The Bible is full of directives and promises. The principles of the Word always set you free when you apply them. Ask God to show you what He wants you to apply from His Word.
  3. Work out your salvation: do what the Word says! There are many people who know the Word and talk about it. But they miss the power of the Word because they stop right there: knowing and talking. Jesus said, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” (Js. 1:22) Start doing what Scripture teaches.
  4. Intentionally participate in a miracle – your own miracle – by partnering with God. If you really want God’s character to be formed in you, and you really want to “get free,” it is critical that you become a pro-active partner with God. You do your part, and He will do His part.

His part? – the miracle: transformation! When you follow the above steps without quitting, and you get to this step, you will literally see yourself becoming the person you’ve always wanted to be. You will see the character of Jesus being formed in your heart and your choices.

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