It is easier for us to believe the devil’s lies than to believe God’s truth. Even as Christians, it’s all too easy to fall into the lie, sometimes even without thinking about it or questioning it. Why is that? Could it be because all too often the lies match up with what we are feeling? Let me give you some examples of what I mean.
When we do something we know we shouldn’t do and we are feeling guilty about it, the liar says, “God doesn’t love you! How could he love such a disappointment as you?” And we tend to believe it because in our shame and guilt we feel unlovable. The lie matches up with the feelings, so we tend to believe it without question.
Or, when we are struggling with discontentment. Our feelings tell us our lives would be so much better if only we had [insert your particular temptation/s here]. And straight on the back of that feeling, the liar whispers to us, “Did God really say you must not [insert your temptation here]? If that’s what would make your life better, he’d want you to do it, wouldn’t he?” It’s powerful because the lie confirms the feelings, and the feelings make the lie sound so believable. And that isn’t by accident – the liar is a crafty, clever deceiver. He is well practiced at his work of creating havoc and heartache, bringing humanity down to the pit, and most especially those who belong to his enemy, Jesus.
So, what is the remedy? How are we to fight back against such a clever liar?
We answer the lies with truth.
That is, we fight back by trusting God’s Word, the Truth. This is what Jesus did when he was tempted in the desert (see Luke 4:1-12) and it’s what he wants us to do as well.
See, though our feelings are real, but they are not always true. So, from our examples above, though we may feel unlovable, that feeling is not the truth. The truth is God so loved me that he gave his only Son (Jn 3:16) and when he looks at me he see his precious child (1 Jn 3:1). Or when tempted to turn our back on God and fill up on this world’s pleasures to satisfy our discontent, we need the truth that reminds us this world cannot give us all we desire. For the truth is that in God alone there is fullness of life (Ps 16:11), and he alone offers life to the full (Jn 10:10). And as we trust the truth of his word, so we lean on him all the more.
We need to answer the lies with truth. That’s why we need to be people who read his Word. We need to listen to it. We need to meditate on it. We need to talk about it when we gather together. We need to feast on it daily as the spiritual food it is that keeps us spiritually alive. And we need to preach the truth to ourselves: when the liar comes with his whispered questions and clever deceptions, we need the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God to slay those lies with the truth (Eph 6:17).
We’re in a battle. But we have the weapons we need to stand firm and fight back: the Word and the Spirit!
Rev. Karen Reid