Weekly Devotional | The Solution to Self-Deception

This devotional is based on C.J. Mahaney's sermon, The Solution to Self-Deception, given on March 13th, 2016.


Day 1: A Wise Command with a Warning


  • “It is self-deception that merely hearing God’s Word is evidence of saving faith and that it is sufficient to satisfy God.” CJ Mahaney
  • “No matter how extensive one’s scriptural knowledge, how amazing one’s memory, it is self-deception if that is all there is. True knowledge is the prelude to action, and it is obedience to the word that counts in the end.” Peter Davids

Questions and Reflections:

  • How do you typically measure your progress in the faith? Is it by your growth in knowledge or by grace-motivated obedience?
  • Read Luke 10:25-28. Does James’ emphasis on obedience to the word fit with the Greatest Commandment? Does knowledge of the word fit with it too?

Prayer Recommendations:

  • Read 1 John 5:1-3. Ask that God would reform your understanding of Christian maturity. Thank him that he views us according to Jesus’ perfect obedience on our behalf!


Day 2: A Startling Illustration


  • “As for the man with the mirror, off he goes, but his friends meeting him on the way could tell him that the mirror is not the comb and that without this aid to gracious living, his devotion to the mirror itself is without value.” Alec Motyer

Questions and Reflections:

  • What do you typically seek from the Word on a regular basis? Information only, or transformation? What’s the difference between the two? What’s the relationship between the two?
  • Read 2 Corinthians 3:18. How does the Holy Spirit transform us?
  • In light of this passage, what (or rather who) should we be looking for when we come to the Scriptures?

Prayer Recommendations:

  • Read Romans 8:29-30. Thank God for how gracious his plan for our lives truly is! Ask Him to more clearly reveal Jesus to you in your regular times in his Word.


Day 3: A Compelling Example


  • “What we believe about the nature of Scripture affects how we use Scripture.” George Stulac
  • “The law is not some legal code; it is the transformative and living speech of the living God, with whom one has a relationship. So here the gazing into the perfect law of freedom is not a scholastic analysis of a legal text independent of its author; it is a listening to the redemptive story because it’s the living speech of the author.” Dan McCartney

Questions and Reflections:

  • Look back to James 1:18 and 25. What words and phrases does James use to describe God’s Word? How might James’ understanding of Scripture influence his love for it?
  • What do you consciously think about when you come to the Bible? Do you remember that it is God’s personal Word lovingly intended for you? How might you more deeply enjoy the Word if you remembered this one truth before every devotional time?
  • What are other truths about God’s Word that you could ponder? Write them down on a sheet of paper. How does this build up your love for God and his Word?

Prayer Recommendations:

  • Read 2 Peter 1:16-19. Observe how Peter compares his experience of hearing God’s voice at Jesus’ transfiguration to the authority of the Scriptures. Thank God for the miracle of his inerrant Word and for giving us such unrestricted access to it!
  • Using Psalm 119 as a springboard, write a short prayer praising and thanking God for his Word.


Day 4: The Wisdom of “One”


  • “One bit of Bible prayed over, and bedewed with the Spirit, and made alive, though it be only a short sentence of six words, will profit you more than a hundred chapters without the Spirit.” Charles Spurgeon
  • “Just as we don’t change all at once, so we don’t swallow all of the truth in one gulp. We are simple people. You can’t remember ten things at once. Invariably, if you could remember just one true thing in the moment of trial, you’d be different. When you actually remember, you actually change.” David Powlison

Questions and Reflections:

  • We can often get overwhelmed by the pursuit of holiness. What is it that most intimidates you about your Christian walk of transformation? What about God’s promises in Philippians 1:6 and 2:13 can comfort you?

Prayer Recommendations:

  • Reread Philippians 1:6 and 2:13. Thank God that no part of our sanctification is ultimately without the empowerment of a good, gracious, and patient God! Ask that God would reveal to you just one bit of truth from James 1 that you can apply to your life.


Questions for Group Discussion:

Why do our fresh resolutions to obey the Word often fail to produce the change we desire?

Think of one command of scripture that you are obeying more now than you used to. How did you move from being a hearer of the word to a doer in that area?

In the past or currently, what are reasons that have caused you to go away from the word and “at once forget” what its pages clearly showed you about yourself?

What areas of sin are you prone to conveniently forget when you walk away from the mirror of the Word?

What aspects of God charaacter do you tend to forget when you walk away from the Word?

  • Consider again David Powlison’s words, “if you could remember just one true thing in the moment of trial, you’d be different. When you actually remember, you actually change."

Look over the first chapter of James. What is one way that you can be a doer of James 1 rather than simply a hearer?

Consider again 2 Corinthians 3:18. It has been said that “You become what you behold.” Together, pray for God to help you to behold Christ in his Word.

Consider singing the following songs together

  • Behold Our God
  • Speak O LORD
  • O Church Arise