“No, I won’t do it again. God, help me to stop messing up and falling into temptation. I promise I won’t do it anymore.” Then, it happens one more time. You listened to Satan and his lies, or you bit the fruit that he taunted you with.
Has that ever happened to you? Have you prayed over and over again, saying you won’t do (fill in the blank) again? Maybe it was something small or maybe it wasn’t, regardless you knew better.
You know God told you not to, but you went and did it anyways.
This has happened to me time and time again, but I wanted to know what others have gone through. I asked the staff at Geeks Under Grace to see what lies they have heard and here were their responses:
- You can’t be forgiven
- You aren’t good enough
- You aren’t really saved or a Christian
- Jesus’ sacrifice wasn’t enough to pay for your sins
- You need to earn your salvation by being a good person and doing the right thing
- You can do everything on your own
- You need to clean yourself up before you come to Christ
- Feeling doubt and having questions means you can’t ever have faith
- You can find happiness in anything but God
- Twisting my ideas so that they sound like truth
- God gives us painful things to test or strengthen us
Have you heard a few of those before? I know I have, and have been duped for several of them. Feeling that we are worthless, we can’t do anything right or that Christs’ sacrifice for us wasn’t enough can make us feel depressed. Sometimes we feel that we are the only ones that go through this, but if we read the following verse the first sentence tells us we are not alone.
1 Corinthians 10:11
The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.
We all have a way out, as this verse explains, but do we always take it? Can we get confused between God’s voice, our own thoughts and Satan’s? How can we decipher a lie from the truth? Let’s look at some practical examples to make it more meaningful.
When you are going about your day, you have to make decisions. Each one is decided based upon your values, morals and upbringing. Whether you believe it or not, you do what you do because of the way you grew up and what you’ve learned thus far in life. To see what is affecting the choices you make, start by looking at how you spend your time. Do you waste time doing meaningless things and filling your head with negative media, music or people? Or do you find time to be in God’s word, presence, or absorbing positive content that’s enlightening.
Think about it for a moment. People who often commit crimes or do illegal activity are constantly around adverse influences. For example, they might be listening to music or hanging out with the wrong group of people who eventually lead them to do something stupid that they knew they shouldn’t have done.
Overcoming The Evil One
The devil will do the exact same thing. He will whisper lies to you, sometimes at the most unexpected moments to see if you will take his bait. He tried the same trick with Jesus Christ when He walked the Earth, but our Lord had something to say to the religious of His day.
For you are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies.
His first lie to mankind was to Eve who ate the fruit (Genesis 3:4-5), and he hasn’t stopped since. So how do we overcome our enemy, who constantly is looking for a new victim?
There are actions that you can use to get past these lies when they come, and believe me they will happen. God doesn’t bring temptation to our lives, but there will come a point where you feel weak or maybe you’re minding your own business and you hear something that is leading you to doubt God’s word and promises.
Here, I will share some of my own personal strategies that I have learned over the years that have been effective in evading his traps.
Cut off harmful relationships – If you don’t take control of it, someone or something else will. We are products of our environment, and Satan hangs around the wrong ones. Places like clubs or bars always have a good combination of sin going on (drugs, drinking, sexual immorality, foul language, violence, etc.)
Get around people who will remind you of God’s truth – His truth sets us free (John 8:32), but if we never hear truth then our mind is full of disbelief, confusion and erroneous thoughts. Even successful people (however you define success, whether it’s money, fame, genius, etc.) know that they cannot be listening to anything contrary of the path that they are on. A business person is not going to listen to a teaching on how to be poor, or how to barely get by. No, they will be filling their MP3 players with podcasts or audiobooks on how to become wealthier or understanding new investment strategies. What are you striving for in life? You can’t get there listening to lies.
Be honest with your authorities – If you did mess up and sin, you need to come clean with it. Power is unleashed when you admit your failures to someone that you can be accountable to, whether it’s a spiritual leader, your parents, spouse or close friend (James 5:16). Don’t be afraid to say that you’re dealing with feelings of hopelessness or thinking that you will amount to nothing in life. You are not alone in feeling this way, but when you talk about it Satan loses his entire grip on your mind.
Submit your thoughts to Christ – (2 Corinthians 10:5) – We need to submit our minds to Christ. If you need to pray at that very moment for strength, then do it. Don’t feel ashamed of asking God for help when your weak and you just don’t have the willpower to say “no” to that lie.
I hope that I have given you some methods that you could use to conquer the battle of truth and lies. Even if you mess up, just ask God to forgive you and move on with it. Start dealing with those lies that you’ve believed all your life, and make changes. It’s a daily process, one step at a time. You might not see a drastic change overnight, but you will see progress as you acknowledge that you have been accepting Satan’s lies, but now you’re going to live out God’s truth.