“False prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words…
“Bold and willful, they do not tremble as they blaspheme… But these, like irrational animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed, blaspheming about matters of which they are ignorant, will also be destroyed in their destruction, suffering wrong as the wage for their wrongdoing. They count it pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, while they feast with you. They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed… Forsaking the right way, they have gone astray…
“These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm. They entice… those who are barely escaping from those who live in error. They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved. For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. What the true proverb says has happened to them: ‘The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.’” 2 Peter 2:1-3,12-15,17-22
Woe the sin that so easily entangles! While we prefer to assign this description of false prophets to others- those heinous, evil, undisciplined rebels with whom we want nothing to do- we cannot get beyond slaves of corruption without looking at ourselves. When we are willing to probe within, we recognize the insidious tendencies of our hearts to ‘return to Egypt.’ (Exodus 16:3; Hebrews 12:1)
We blame temper on its triggers, gluttony on addiction, indulgence on deprivation, and greed on desert. We confess ‘shortcomings’ with no true repentance, and excuse behavior as if we have a right to mistreat others and get our way. And all the while we have been, even if subconsciously, overcome by what enslaves us. Once shackled, we either don’t recognize our chains, or prefer to deny them. Overcome is overcome, rendering us incapable of escape apart from the freeing grace of God Almighty. (John 8:32,36)
To what false voices are we listening? What idols in our hearts need toppling? What irrational assumptions, deceptions, or insatiable appetites have we allowed to run wild and trip up our reason and right way? Do we need a step back to properly analyze false promises of freedom, and to re-steady our souls on reality?
Lord, overcome me in every part, and every way. Inextricably bind me to You alone. In the joyful freedom that is my salvation, may I see clearly with Your eyes, and love with Your love, so others can also be free.