For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as there are many gods and many lords), 6 yet for us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live.
1 Corinthians 8:5,6
“Let not the wise boast of their wisdom
or the strong boast of their strength
or the rich boast of their riches,
24 but let the one who boasts boast about this:
that they have the understanding to know me,
that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness,
justice and righteousness on earth,
for in these I delight,”
declares the Lord.
‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’
Says the Lord of hosts.
One of the reasons God emphasizes knowledge of Him over power so much throughout Scripture is because we can so easily be deceived and because there are an array of powers out there that are ready to take advantage of that. It was deception that led to the first sin after all.
There is an unfathomable, incomprehensible gap between any creature and its creator. However, God is not insecure in any way and so He has made creatures (angels, “sons of God”) with astonishing power and the power of choice also. These creatures have fallen and interfered with mankind in the past both before the flood (see Gen. 6) and after it (e.g. the giants of David’s day) and can do so again. Satan can appear as an angel of light and his followers as false prophets (2 Cor. 11:14) even today.
So, how do we avoid being deceived? Well firstly, you must be filled with the Holy Spirit. The only way of knowing whether the light that is in you is not darkness (Matthew 6:23) is by knowing what God is really like. No amount of power can assure you of this as Jesus pointed out when He spoke about the many who would come to Him boasting of miracles and yet who practiced evil (Matthew 7:22). Christ in you is your hope and when He is formed in you (Gal. 4:19) and you are relating to Him easily and continually there is nothing that cannot happen.
But how do you know that it is Christ that is in you and guiding you?
How do you know that it is not some other god/ devil or even yourself and an overactive imagination?
The Holy Spirit in you is quite a subjective experience, the outward signs that someone is carrying around this treasure are often not that obvious in the earthen clay of our physical bodies (2 Cor. 4:7).
The second check is the Scriptures. No matter how amazing your experiences or power, if you are doing evil then you could be deceived. The Scriptures stand apart from your experience and can act as an objective mirror to your internal realities if you let them.
Thirdly, the church, let godly people see you for who you really are and give them the freedom to speak into your life and correct you if necessary.
See also “Three Pillars“.