The Secret to Withstanding Deception

“I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments. For though I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in spirit and delight to see how disciplined you are and how firm your faith in Christ is.”—Colossians 2:4–5 (NIV)

“God, please give me a sign!” You’ve probably prayed this prayer before in frustration or desperation. You’ve got a big decision, or you’re in a situation where you can’t seem to find your way out. Meanwhile, there’s a flashing sign in front of you that you don’t notice through all of your complaints.

We pick up our study through Colossians 2 with a warning to the Church in the city of Colossae. Paul outrightly states that he’s writing to them so they won’t be deceived. It’s a sign! Deception is coming, and he’s getting their attention with these words.

In the preceding verses, Paul wrote that he’s contending for them in order that they will know Christ more deeply. It’s in this knowledge and understanding of the mystery of God that prevents them from deception.

He goes on to comfort them with the fact that he’s with them in spirit, even though he’s not physically present with them. You’ve probably received a note or a gift from someone who has passed away. That gift is a tangible reminder of your loved one’s presence. This letter is similar for the early church, and for us today.

In fact, all of Paul’s letters, and every other author’s writings that make up the canon of Scripture, are a comfort of God’s presence with us. Even though He’s physically absent, God sent us His Word and His Holy Spirit to be with us always. Jesus promises this to His disciples after His resurrection and before He ascended into heaven when He said, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20 NIV).

In the last part of today’s verse, Paul expresses his delight in how strong their faith in Christ is. He encourages them to continue with their discipline because that’s a tactic to stand firm against any fine sounding or reasonable arguments. Just like a deeply-rooted tree can stand firm in a storm, so a believer who has a deep knowledge and understanding of Christ can remain strong against deception.

Jesus is our ultimate source of strength and graciously provides us protection. As we stay close to Him, we’re comforted by His presence, we can be more aware of any warning, and we can remain steady in any storm.

DIG: Evaluate how disciplined you are and how firm your faith in Christ is.

DISCOVER: Is there any blind spot or warning sign in your life that you haven’t noticed? Yield to it today.

DO: Thank Jesus today for being Immanuel, “God with us” and pray that you may be able to hear Him more clearly and know Him more deeply so you may be able to stand firm through the storms of life.