Saturday, February 25, 2012

Perceived Truths are Dangerous

In the Bible Satan is identified as, among many things, the deceiver of the world, the father of lies, and the accuser of the brethren. It is clear by these names, and his tactics going back to the Garden, that he works in lies, deception, and accusation. Jesus, on the other hand, is truth.

The dangerous thing about Satan's tactics are that we usually react to what we perceive to be true, which isn't always what is true. So, if he can get us to believe an untruth we will likely live and think in response to that, thinking we are reacting to truth. I, for one, can be stunned (and discouraged) by the number of things I can think, believe, etc., that are inconsistent with what I believe in regards to my faith. Somewhere in all of that I have often believed a lie, though I think I it is truth. Unless we stop and take our actions and thoughts captive to our Christian faith we can continue in wrong and destructive and often negative patterns and thoughts for long periods of time.

A key to turning this around is to start to identify the lies we believe. A good way to start is to evaluate, with the Holy Spirit's help,
1) the things we do,
2) the priorities we hold,
3) the fears and concerns we have, and
4) the way we think about ourselves and others and life.
The object of this is to identify those areas that are not consistent with the professions of our faith about God, His love, His power, what He says about us, etc. Chances are, the areas we find where we are inconsistent with our faith statements may well be areas we have unwittingly somewhere believed a lie (which we perceive to be truth, so we act in response to it).

My guess is that the first two areas to identify inconsistency in (things we do, and priorities we hold) will be pretty easy. It is often easy to see the things we do and priorities we hold that are inconsistent with what we believe. The last two (fears and concerns we have, and the way we think about ourselves and others and life) will be harder—but what we believe in these areas are probably drivers for many of our external actions. The goal in this is to disarm the enemy's devices (which we are not to be ignorant of) and to replace lies with truths.

One example I used with our youth group was a fear they might hold deep inside. I asked them to see if that fear was consistent with what they know to be true about God—that He is powerful (creates a universe), that He is present (will never leave them), and that He loves them (died for them). Is their fear consistent with those things they believe to be true about God? It was easy to see it wasn't. Somewhere in there they had started to replace truth with lies which they perceived to be truth, and then started living in response to that perceived truth.

We can find the same thing in many areas. For example, many youth (and adults) are insecure, or feel little worth, etc. Is that inconsistent with a God who promises to never leave them, who loves them so much He considers them worth dying for, who made them in His image, who knew their mistakes and sin before the foundation of the earth and still gave them life? Usually, a lie has been believed about themselves or their relationship with God, and that lie is what they are living and thinking in response to.

If we can identify the areas our actions, priorities, thoughts, fears, etc. are not consistent with what we profess about God we can start to look for areas we may be living and thinking in response to lies and not truth. Then we can begin to use God's Word and the tenets of our faith to replace those lies with truth, and to stand in faith on truth instead of on lies. God did this with Sarah's unbelief when He asked if anything was too hard for God. He identified the lie she was believing and confronted her with it. Or the father Jesus confronted who had asked if Jesus can heal his child and Jesus responded by identifying the lie, replying basically, "If I can?! All things are possible (with God)! Believe!"

Somewhere the Israelites believed a lie (or lies) when they refused to enter the promised land. Joshua and Caleb tried to bring them back to truth (we can do this if God is with us), but they chose to live by sight and in fear, neglecting God's promises (which God took as rejection of Him). Over and over in the Bible we see this pattern—thoughts based on lies or half truths, God confronting them with the truth about Himself, and then a choice being before them of which they will believe and act on.

Christian, what lies have you unwittingly believed, that you are now living in response to? Is the enemy whispering accusations at you, reminding you of your failures and shortcomings? So what does God have to say about that? Do you remember that, despite your shortcomings, if you have faith in Christ's death for you they have been paid for and forgiven, and you are redeemed and adopted by God and He lives in you and He'll never leave you? Do you realize that He did that because He loves you and considers you worth it?

Christian, how are you acting? Is it in response to a lie? Have somewhere you believed a lie about yourself, or God's love for you, or His power, or His faithfulness and are you now acting out in response to that lie? What is the truth of the situation? Which will you believe and live in response to?

From the beginning this has been Satan's way. He first cast doubt on God's love, Word, and trustworthiness ("Did God really say?" and "You won't die" and "God knows that you will be like Him"). AFTER Eve doubted God's Word, His trustworthiness, His good intentions and love for her, THEN she entertained temptation—THEN she bought the lie that she could find pleasure (pleasing to the eye), provision (good for food), and wisdom (desirable to make one wise) apart from God. My guess is that, for all of us, we are seeking pleasure, provision, and wisdom in some ways inconsistent with our faith, because somewhere we have first allowed ourselves to believe lies about God's Word, trustworthiness, and love.

May the Holy Spirit lead you and guide you into all truth, that we may disarm the weapons of the enemy of lies, deception and accusation. God bless you, and thanks for reading.   —Erick

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