Dr. Dan Hayden

We make decisions every day about what we will do, and what we will not do. And therein lies the dilemma of the human experience: Our lives revolve around alternative choices–forks in the road—and consequently those choices determine our destiny. Some choices are minor and neutral but others bear more weight. Some are downright crucial.

Like dominos tilting toward other dominos, most decisions set us on courses of action that influence other decisions, which eventually tumble toward a concluding destination or result. We all want to end up in pleasant places. But not all decisions have beneficial results and sometimes the consequences take us by surprise. Most often, though, we know what the result of a bad decision will be, but we intentionally indulge ourselves anyway. Eating wrong foods or devouring too much is like that. My doctor recently lectured me on eating better to remedy my borderline diabetes. He said, “Dan, if it tastes good, spit it out.”

So in the crucial decisions of life, why as believers in Jesus Christ do we do what we do? Well, it’s because our actions result from our thoughts. If we think like the world, we’ll act like the world. If we think prayerfully on Christ and His Word, our actions will reflect those thoughts. Salvation in Christ is supposed to change our thinking and enable us to make spiritually beneficial decisions. That’s what is supposed to happen. But I have noticed that in today’s American church it rarely does.


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Dr. Dan Hayden

Con men have elaborate schemes to delude their prey. The idea behind a con is to make something look legitimate when in actuality, it is not. Care is taken to cover every potential loophole and to answer every possible objection. Good con artists are articulate and smooth in the way they present their cons to unwary prospects. They often give the impression that to question them is naïve and foolish.

It is not until the con men are long gone and the dupe is left holding the bag that the real truth begins to dawn: I’ve been had! It’s unsettling to be conned. A person is stripped of his or her dignity and oftentimes left in a despairing emotional heap.

The New Testament has a word describing this kind of experience. It is the word, “deceive,” which is sometimes translated “beguile” or “delude.” This is the word used by Paul when he warns the believers in Thessalonica:

Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction (2 Thessalonians 2:3 – ESV, emphasis mine).


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