"This is an emergency call. The license key for your Microsoft Windows software has expired. To renew the license, please call..."
Have you ever received a call with this recorded message? It's just one of many phone scams that people are bombarded with every day. In this call, the message is alarming and designed to make the person being called think that he will be unable to use his computer unless he calls the number given to renew a license that doesn't actually exist. It sounds official but is actually a con, a deception, intended to make the person give credit card information to pay for this so-called license. The best way to deal with this kind of deception is to seek the truth by contacting Microsoft or an organization such as the Better Business Bureau.
Like these phone scammers, the enemy of our souls uses deception to lead people away from God and into sin. His deception began in the Garden of Eden when he asked Eve, "Did God really say that you can't eat from any tree in the garden?" (Genesis 3:1) He tried to throw doubt into Eve's mind, to make her think that God had said something which He did not. Eve responded that God had said that they could eat of any tree but the one in the middle of the garden and if they ate or even touched that fruit, they would surely die (Genesis 3:2-3). The enemy's deception was already working as Eve was adding to what God said, adding that they could not even touch the fruit. Then his scam really began as he told Eve that they would not die if they ate the fruit and made her believe that God was holding out on them (Genesis 3:4). Eve, along with Adam, ate the fruit, and sin and death entered the world.
Our enemy still uses deception to pull us away from God and into sin. He may plant doubts in our minds about what is right and wrong. He may make us believe that we are worthless. He may make us question the Word of God. And, he may place false teachers in our paths, teachers who teach doctrine that is false, packaging it to make it seem like it is good and comes from God. In speaking of end times, Jesus warned that false christs and false prophets will arise and they will lead people astray, even believers (Matthew 24:24). The apostle Peter also warned of these false teachers who will, in their greed, exploit us with false words (2 Peter 2:1-2).
So, how do we avoid being exploited, being scammed by these false teachers? We need to stay grounded in God's Word, keeping it in our hearts and minds. We need to stay connected with God, seeking His presence every day. When we have this relationship with God, when we remain in His Word, then we will be able to test any false teachings to see if they line up with His Word (1 John 4:1). When you receive what appears to be a phone scam call, the best thing to do is to just hang up. And, when faced with false teachings, teachings that don't line up with God's truth, we must "hang up" and reject them.