Saturday, July 11, 2015

If You Don't Kill the Lies, They Will Kill You ... Armor of God # 3

I've started watching the series Turn: Washington's Spies on Netflix.  Southwest PA, where I grew up, is full of colonial history, so this series definitely intrigued me.  The show chronicles the history of America's first spy ring.  I find it to be a very interesting show, but every time I watch it I'm reminded of lyrics from an old Charlie Daniels' song that say, "He's a snake in the grass, I'll tell you guys.  He may look dumb, but that's just a disguise.  He's a mastermind in the ways of espionage."  (I can now check off "Include Charlie Daniels lyrics in a blog post" off my bucket list).  Anyway, espionage is all about deceit, disguise, and lies when trying to defeat the enemy or gain the upper hand.

The Bible describes our spiritual enemy as a liar and the father of lies (John 8:44).  He is an expert at deceit.  If there was ever a "snake in the grass," it's him.  He's always scheming, always planning, always deceiving.  Jesus said that when our enemy lies, he speaks his native language (John 8:44), meaning that it is the natural thing for him to do.  My native language is English.  It's all I know.  It's all I speak.  Our spiritual enemy's native language is lies.  It's all he knows.  He is a liar.  There is no truth in him.

Although he is a defeated enemy, he is still waging war.  His weapon of choice seems to be deceit.  It's what he knows best and it's what can be most effective to keep us from living out our identity in Jesus Christ.  One author has said, "Look for the lie and that's where you'll find the enemy working because he is a liar and the father of lies."  

Think about the implications of that last statement.  Whatever lie you are believing about yourself, about someone else, about God ... whatever it is, our enemy is seeking to exploit that lie and feed that lie in an effort to keep us from living out our gospel identity.    He is constantly filling our mental tanks with deception in order to keep us from living out who we are.

Paul Tripp said this, "No one is more influential in your life than you are, because no one talks to you more than you do.  Whether you realize it or not, you are in an unending conversation with yourself, and the things you say to you about you are formative of the way that you live.  You are constantly talking to yourself about your identity, your spirituality, your functionality, your emotionality, your mentality, your personality, your relationships, etc."  

Truth, which is the first part of our spiritual armor talked about in Ephesians 6, is vital if we are to live out who we are as followers of Jesus.  Armor protects us.  Armor guards some part that is essential for survival.  So, if we are not "armoring" our thoughts with truth, our identity with truth, our spirituality with truth, our emotions with truth, our personality with truth, our relationships with truth ... then each of those areas of our life are left unprotected and our spiritual enemy will take full advantage of that, continuing to feed whatever lies we may lean toward.  

We do not live out what we know.  We live out what we believe.  For that reason, it is crucial to believe the truth about who we are as followers of Jesus because if we do not believe who we are, we will not live like who we are ... exactly what our enemy wants.

The best way to fight a lie is with truth.  It's simply not enough to ignore our enemy's lies or refuse to listen to them.  We have to replace the lies with truth.  I find truth in the word of God.  Jesus described the words of God as "truth."  (John 17:17).  Psalm 33:4 tells me that "The word of the LORD is right and true."  I may not always like what I hear, but the Bible is always going to speak truth to me.  It is used in my life to "teach me what is true and to make me realize what is wrong in my life.  It corrects me when I am wrong and teaches me to do what is right.  God uses it to prepare and equip His people to do every good work."  (2 Timothy 3:16 - 17) So, what I have to try to do every day is learn how to take the lies Satan throws at me regarding my identity, my relationships, etc. and replace them with truth.  Weed out the negative and feed the positive.  

The Apostle Paul touches on this in 2 Corinthians 10:4 - 5 when he says "The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world.  On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.  We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."

I absolutely love the quote from the movie Taken when Liam Neeson's character says, "I don't know who you are.  I don't know what you want. If you are looking for ransom, I can tell you I don't have money.  But what I do have is a very particular set of skills .. skills I have acquired over a very long career ... skills that make me a nightmare for people like you.  If you let me daughter go now, that'll be the end of it.  I will not look for you, I will not pursue you.  But if you don't, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you." Love it!

This is what we have to do with the lies that deceive us and keep us from living out our gospel identity.  We need to hunt them down and kill them.  We kill them with truth.

So, for instance, when I feel like I have nothing to offer ... that's a lie.  God's word says, "For we are God's masterpiece.  He has created us anew in Christ Jesus so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago." (Ephesians 2:10)

If and when I feel like my worth needs to be based on my performance and what I do ... that's a lie.  God's word says, I "have been given fullness in Christ ... made alive with Christ."  My worth is because of Him not because of what I do. (Colossians 2:9 - 15)

The more we fill our minds with truth, the less room there is for a lie.  But, it's important to remember that we can't just know the truth, we have to believe it because we live out what we believe.  So, there are times when I think we literally need to speak these truths aloud ... not simply so we can hear it, but so the enemy can hear it as well.  We remind him of who we are.  We take a stand ... we stand our ground and say "This is a lie and I am no longer being held captive by it!"

Our enemy wants to keep us from believing who we are as followers of Jesus because if we don't believe it we won't live it.  So, he feeds the lies.  But, you are not powerless here.  As one speaker said, "Either you have control over your thoughts or your thoughts have control over you.  There is no middle ground."

If you don't deal with the lies, they will not go away.  They will not get smaller.  John Acuff wrote, "Every time you believe a lie about yourself, it gets easier to believe it the next time ... if you don't kill the lies, they will kill you."

So a few questions ... 

  • How do you view yourself?
  • What are the things you regularly say to you about you?
  • Do you see yourself in need of grace?
  • Do you find yourself seeking approval through what you do?
  • Do you believe God at His word?

The enemy's lies will completely mess up our thinking and weaken us if we believe them.  God's truth will strengthen the core of our being.  When we stand in His truth, we can live out His truth.

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