The Bible often speaks of deception and warns us of its dangers. Twice in 1 Corinthians, Paul uses the phrase, “Do not be deceived” (1Co 6:9; 15:33). Writing to the Galatians, he says again, “Don’t be deceived” (Gal 6:7). James writes, “Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers” (Jas 1:6). Jesus said, “Watch out that you are not deceived” (Lk 21:8). Even the Old Testament warns, “Be careful that you are not enticed,” or deceived (Dt 11:16).
Over the course of time, the world’s philosophies and worldviews have a way of creeping into the church. They may slowly influence our thinking, eroding the biblical worldview we ought to have. Paul understood this point and said, “Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God” (Ro 12:2).
We, as Christians, need to exercise our minds daily by intentionally putting ourselves under the influence of God’s word. We don’t have to work to be influenced by the secular, unbelieving world around us. Chances are, if you go to school, go to work, listen to the radio, turn on the TV, browse the Web, check Facebook or Instagram, or even glance at the magazine rack in the grocery store, you will be within the sphere of worldly influence. So, renewing our minds, bringing them into line with the will of God, requires a level of commitment and intentionality (Ro 12:2).
Extremely dangerous, unbiblical ideas can be very subtle. In fact, I would argue the most dangerous ideas are almost always subtle. When false doctrines are obvious, we’re quick to notice and reject them. When they’re subtle, we may not notice them until they’ve already done their damage.