Bible Reading: 2 Thessalonians 2
Philemon had been preparing hard for an international scholarship exam for the past 3 months. He downloaded resources online, treated past questions, did group discussions, and all of that. He was fully prepared.
Finally, the day of the exam came and Philemon made sure he got to the venue very early. He met a man dressed like a British Professor on his way to the exam hall who told him he got the time wrong and that the exam had held 2 weeks ago. Philemon was confused and disappointed at the same time. How? Why? When? He turned back and went home. Three hours later, Philemon’s friend called him to ask why he was not in the hall for the exam, that he just noticed Philemon’s absence while submitting his own script.
‘But, I met the Professor in charge this morning who told me the exam was held two weeks ago’ Philemon retorted.
‘No way! I just submitted my script and was shocked to find out you were not in the hall’ his friend replied.
‘Oh my God!’ Philemon broke down in tears.
Such a painful story, right?
Philemon was deceived because he chose to believe information from a ‘supposed’ authority (because of packaging) in charge of his exam, when in the real sense, the man he met knew nothing about the exam.
In our reading today, Paul encourages us not to give room to deceit, no matter how authentic it looks (v 2-3). We live in a generation where deception has been so much decorated to look like the truth; there are so many truth-like voices sounding out to us via different platforms (social media, workplaces, on our streets, and so on).
Like Philemon coming to the hall with confidence and truth about the timing of the exam, we step out in confidence of God’s words and the truth we believe, only to meet narratives of all kinds from ‘supposedly’ respected and popular voices: integrity no pay again o, better wise up! Faithfulness na foolishness jare, so you still dey trust your husband? Diligence for where? Better no kill yourself, Those who cut corners are now the smart and celebrated ones…
It is important to however note that the success of deception is not because of its strength, but it is actually because of our failure to seek and embrace truth.
And with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved 2 Thessalonians 2:10 NKJV
So where do we stand in all of this?
Verses 13-14 of our reading tells us that we are the beloved of God and a part of God’s original plan of salvation and we have been invited to the life of the Spirit through the gospel, ‘to the end that we may obtain and share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ’. This glory is expected to be revealed in all we do; business, academics, career, ministry, marriage, and so on.
Again, Paul makes it clear to us that the word of God is our final authority and the truth that we must keep embracing. Any prophetic revelation of spirit or philosophy (dressed like the British Professor) giving us a different narrative not founded on God’s truth should not be allowed in our hearts.
Embracing truth is an active word and not passive, hence when we refuse to seek truth, we are automatically giving room to deception already.
What can we do in the face of all the deception in our day and age?
We must embrace truth by seeking it and holding as tight as we can to it. It sounds simple, but it’s actually the only way to guarding ourselves. Read your bible; get helpful resources and consume them; be actively connected to healthy communities (probably if Philemon had checked the message posted on career and business people’s forum’s Whatsapp group or on his Life Group page, he would have seen that the exam will be holding)
Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle. 2 Thessalonians 2:15
We must also always cultivate the habit of calling to remembrance God’s truth that we have learned about our lives, our career, business, family, and so on.
Do you not remember that when I was still with you, I told you these things? 2 Thessalonians 2:5
So if you were Philemon, what will you do? Will you go back home and lose the opportunities in your life because of deception? What voices are influencing your life? What sources are guiding your decisions? Is your life positioned and inclined towards upholding and walking in God’s truth?
Something to Pray
…comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work. 2 Thessalonians 2:17
Pray that your heart may be established and kept unswerving in every good work and word.
Mr. & Mrs. Aluko
Mr & Mrs Aluko serve as Volunteer Leaders at Sycamore