I am told that the greatest of all deceptions is self-deception. God will not allow any of His disciples the privilege of self-deception forever. Sooner or later He will force the mask off and let us see ourselves as we really are. He is the great mask remover.
I remember the story of Naaman and Elisha but do I remember Gehazi? He is just as much a part of the story as the other two (II Kings 5). Naaman, the Syrian leper, came to Elisha to be cured. Elisha told him to dip seven times in the Jordan River, which he did, and his flesh became as the flesh of a child.
He wanted to reward Elisha for his cure, but Elisha refused. Gehazi, Elisha’s servant, ran after Naaman and asked for the silver and clothing that had been refused. Elisha rebuked Gehazi for his disobedience and he became, as Naaman had been, leprous.
The tragedy of Gehazi was that he never recognized he was first a leper in heart. He assumed that because his environment was right, he was right.
Elisha was always before him, the prophetic school around him, and the service of the Lord always by his side. With such surroundings, who could possibly be ungodly?
The truth is, with such surroundings it is easier to be self-deceived! Self-deception always works on the principle that God is as blind as people are; we think that because they do not see the truth, He does not see either.
However, Gehazi reminds me that God sees all too well, and sooner or later people will see what He has been seeing all along.
What is God telling me here? I must root out inward leprosy lest God make it painfully public. He will help me do it, for what I voluntarily expose to Him, He will never expose to the world (I John 1:9).
“ Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says”. James 1:22 NIV