What is spiritual delusion?

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Very few Christians understand the nature of this beast. The subject matter is big. Being aware of the short attention span people have these days to read long articles I’ll keep it as short as possible.

Spiritual delusion can be quite broad and obvious for the spiritually trained individual depending upon the context. But even for those advanced in their spiritual life, it can be very obscure. The reason for this is because the more spiritually advanced a soul becomes the more the devil needs to up his game at hiding himself. Like a virus hides on a computer going undetected, spiritual delusion can be like this for most of us. It takes a good expert at helping us find and destroy this debilitating spiritual disease.

The obvious delusion is when someone says they’re Christian but do not believe in the Churches teachings. For example, they attend the Liturgy every Sunday, but they don’t believe in the Holy Eucharist as the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. That’s a delusion.

Another sign of delusion is people whose way of life does not match their reading or engagement in Church study groups and activities. Then there are those whose way of life is seemingly good aligning well with their reading and studies of the faith, but something is missing.

They’re suffering from spiritual pride and believe themselves to be worthy and holy. They often take extreme right-wing (or liberal) theological views and view themselves as being endowed with Graces by God. For example, I once had a couple who I tried to correct tell me that God had given them the grace to be able to discern the truth. That’s an example of the sort of delusion that is extremely common. This kind of sickness is worse than the ungodly state we were in before. It is a very difficult virus to treat.

Another form of spiritual delusion would be a person who believes God speaks to them or have spiritual visions. There’s nothing wrong with that, but if their way of life doesn’t match the visions they’re having, or if there’s no transition from worldliness to some level of holiness, then that is also is a spiritual delusion or demonic activity. We have to be careful with that one because you’re not required to be absolutely perfect before your visions are believed, only that there must be a change in you especially if beforehand you were very worldly prior to it occurring.

Other forms of spiritual delusion involve being very legalistic, teaching others without being asked and by that I mean in a setting that would be inappropriate or out of context. As Christians, we are called to teach the faith, yes, but the context in which it is done must be scrutinized. For example, at a retreat, suddenly turning around and teaching others at dinner and telling them how they should behave is a type of delusion.

To get the virus of delusion we must first be willing to admit we are deluded. It can frighten us to stand in this light, and if that’s what you felt when reading this then there’s a good sign you’re afraid to stand in the light, be converted and healed. Spiritual delusion is so dangerous that it can lead to mental instability, depression and/or suicide. Spiritual delusion usually affects people in their very first few years of converting to the faith. Whether or not we came from another religion or returned to our church recently after years of not practising, spiritual delusion affects all who have a newfound enthusiasm for the Church.

Remember that while God is always active so is the devil. Noticing your new enthusiasm, like a rat that chews on the wires of a new computer, he’s going to disrupt your conversion. He will go away and get more spirits so wicked that you will end up worse than before and will make a desolation of your house (soul) so much more severe than the previous worldly state. This state of delusion will be difficult to get rid of.

If you feel that you’re surrounded by icons, relics, have an obsession with miracles, but your way of being or life does not reflect all of that, it might be time to seek out a good spiritual father. Don’t feel embarrassed about confronting the demons, because many of the Church fathers and great saints suffered from spiritual delusion which is why they were able to instruct others about it.

We all suffer from this to some degree and sadly in some, it can last a lifetime if not treated and stamped out early.

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