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They are smooth. They are slick. They flatter me.

What’s the problem? I need to be discerning. There are those who want to deceive me. They want to lead me astray.

I have a lot to learn here. There is a rabbit hole. I seem to keep jumping down it, expecting a different outcome. It isn’t working.

Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them. For such men are slaves, not of our Master the Messiah but of their own appetites; and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting. For the report of your obedience has reached to all; therefore I am rejoicing over you, but I want you to be wise in what is good and innocent in what is evil. The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. | Romans 16:17-20

What is the good news? Jesus leads me, through the Holy Spirit, into His Truth. Jesus is the Truth. I can take refuge in Him.

Jesus is clear that I can tell a tree by its fruit. “So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit.” (Matthew 7:17)

How do I know there is a problem? One clue is the fruit of dissension. Dissension here (from the Greek) means divisions which wrongly separate people into pointless (groundless) factions.

Uh Oh! I see a whole lot of this going on. I get sucked into it many days. Ye Gads!

What am I to do about it?

Paul is clear. Turn away from them. They have set a trap for me to hinder me in my growth in the Messiah. I need to be wise. I need to focus on the good.

Deception

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