[by Dean Smith] Both my parents served in the Canadian military during World War II, and because of this I have always had a keen interest in that war.
As I was watching a program on the war a while back, I learned an important lesson on deception.
In John 8:44, Jesus describes Satan as the father of lies and in the devil’s first attack on humanity deception was the key to his success. Eve admitted to God she had been deceived by Satan in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:13).
Deception in its simplest form is having a person believe one thing, when something else, sometimes the complete opposite, is the truth.
During a program on the Military Channel, they interviewed a commander who said the key to deception is taking advantage of something a person already believes is true. He said, if they don’t believe it is true, it is very difficult to deceive them in that area.
For example, fraudsters are able to take advantage of people, because they believe there is a way to make a quick buck. People who don’t believe that are not so easily conned.
As the allies were making preparations for the D-Day invasion, they masterfully used deception to confuse the Germans so their major defensive forces would not be lining the Normandy beaches where the allied troops were landing.
They found out through their spy network that the Nazi leader, Adolf Hitler, believed any allied invasion would happen at Pas de Calais in France, which was the shortest point across the English Channel between England and Europe. With this information, the Allies planned to invade using the Normandy beaches, while at the same time convincing Hitler the invasion would take place at Calais.
At a port across the channel from Calais, the allies set their deception in motion.
- To launch an attack you need a massive army. So during the day, the allies brought truck-loads of troops into the base. Then under the cover of darkness, the soldiers were shipped out, and then returned to the base the next day. It seemed to any German spies in the area a constant stream of soldiers was pouring into the base.
- An invading army needs tanks, so they created life-size balloon tanks and slowly accumulated them. Any German reconnaissance planes would see an increasing number of tanks. They did the same with landing craft.
- And of course, every invading army needs a leader, so the allies brought in General Patton, arguably their best general, and paraded him around the base. They made sure he was in the local press, so everyone knew he was there.
After the Allies were done, the German commanders were convinced Calais, like they already believed, was the landing area for an invasion and planned accordingly.
And when the Allies began landing on the Normandy beaches — code-named: Juno, Omaha, Gold, Utah and Sword Beach — and reports were coming in from frantic German field commanders calling for help, they were initially told not to worry, that those landings were a ruse and the real attack was at Calais.
This was deception at its best and it worked because the Allies took advantage of what the Germans truly believed.
I believe Satan uses similar tactics when he tries to deceive us. He first determines what we already believe and then uses that belief to further deceive us.
So how did Satan deceive Eve?
When Satan asked Eve if she was aware of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, Eve quickly replied that she and Adam were not allowed to eat from the tree because God said they would die. Satan responded that she would not die and instead would have the same knowledge as God.
Satan’s lie suggests he knew Eve did not completely trust that God was giving her the truth. Maybe it was something she said in the Garden. Satan used this belief against Eve. She bit and within moments all of humanity fell into sin (Genesis 3:1-14).
How Satan deceives us
Satan takes advantage of similar beliefs or weaknesses in our life.
If we don’t believe God truly loves us, then Satan will take advantage of trials in our lives whispering in our ears that God doesn’t really love us or why would He allow such things to happen.
If we suffer from a spirit of rejection and don’t believe people like us, when someone walks by us at church and seemingly ignores us, Satan says, “see, they don’t like you.” We believe this lie, because we already believe it’s true.
Unfortunately, most of our perceptions of who God is comes from our childhood interactions with our parents. If we believe God favored your brother or sister over you, then you will believe God does the same thing and favors others over you.
If you couldn’t trust your parents to keep their word to you, then God is untrustworthy as well.
We are vulnerable because of what we already believe and this is the key to Satan’s ability to deceive us.
In Romans chapter 12, the apostle Paul writes that you are “transformed by the renewing of your mind” (vs 2). We are not changed by salvation, but by changing the way we think.