Friday, October 10, 2014

The Biggest Lie

Tonight, I should be doing homework or going to sleep.  Instead, the battle within me rages on.

It seems like every day lately has been a fight.  A fight to keep my mind fixed on God and what He has, rather than on the fleeting things of this world.  A fight to have a positive attitude and outlook.  A fight to stay awake after long nights of studying or sharing life with the girls.  ...Always fighting to stay on track or get ahead.  The joy and excitement for life that I so desire seem to be hidden, lying somewhere beneath a blanket of stress, exhaustion, and lies.

How long will this struggle continue?  How long will I buy into the lies that have me tied down?

"What is the biggest lie Satan tells you?"  I was recently asked this as I prepared to share my testimony with a group of high schoolers.  As I was planning to share about the love and faithfulness of God, His ability to heal our deepest wounds, and the relentless love of our Father, I knew very well how I would answer that question if it came up.

"You are not good enough. You will never be good enough."  That's it.  That is the lie Satan loves to tell me over and over, any chance he gets...because I have chosen to accept it.  To own it.   Sometimes, it comes in more specific terms.
                  You are not smart enough. Why try?
                  You don't have the skill or the stamina that that task requires.  Why even begin it?
                  You are not what he's looking for.  Why even dream of or pray for that man? That life?
                  You are not spiritually on track.  Why would God use you?
                  You are not organized enough.  Or lively enough.  Or athletic enough.
                  You just don't have what it takes.  Give it up.
                  You will never be enough.

And then I wallow.  In confusion and doubt and self-pity, I begin to doubt the way God made me, and it's only downhill from there.

Why?  Why do I believe this?  Why do I repeat this cycle when I know they are lies?

For one, the lie is not so much about myself as it is God.  Satan's goal has always been to drive a wedge between us and God.  On the surface I am doubting me.  Go a little deeper, though, and it becomes clear that I am not trusting God--His wisdom in creating me, His love in choosing and pursuing me, or His character in keeping me.

Then again, I believe it's because there is an element of truth to these lies.  Hear me out.  Satan does not just pull things out of thin air.  He takes what is true and distorts it.  He twists it, not beyond recognition, for then it would be useless, but rather beyond its intended purpose.  Just as Satan used skewed scripture to tempt Jesus in the desert, he uses skewed scripture to bring us to destruction.

"All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."  Truth.  The lie?  "You have fallen too short. The glory of God will not reach where you are."

"When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom."  Truth.  The lie? "Don't acknowledge or use the gifts and talents God has given you.  That's foolish pride."

"I have told you these things that you may have peace in Me.  In this world, you will have troubles, but take heart, for I have overcome the world."  Truth.  The lie?  "Life is gunna be tough.  Sure, He's got it in the end, but for just have to get through it however you can."

The list goes on, differing for each of us depending on the day or even the moment.

Yet.  There is hope.  There is help.  And it doesn't come from another fallible, fleeting human being.  Yes, God often uses other people as an extension of Himself, but we have immediate access to the Father.  I could go on and on about the importance of us saturating ourselves in scripture to combat the lies...but I think I'll just let the Word of God speak for itself.  Maybe these are the truths you need today, too.

2 Corinthians 4:7-10 ESV
But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.  We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.

Hebrews 4:15-16 ESV
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.  Let us then with confidence draw near the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

2 Timothy 1:7 NLT
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

Philippians 1:6 NLT
And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.

1 Corinthians 10:13 ESV
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man.  God is faithful, and He will not let you  be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

Galatians 5:1 ESV
For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. 

Psalm 27:13 NIV
I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

Too often, we get stuck at the part about man's depravity and forget God's sufficient grace.  We stop at us and never make it to God.  The results make complete sense.  For we were never meant to stop at us.  The intent has always been, and will always be, for us to return to God.  Over and over again if that's what it takes, until our knees are bruised and bloody.  Only after we return to God can we remain in God and stand firm in His truths.  When we do return, we get to rest.  We get to remain.

I've found my strength will never be enough to withstand the storm that rages in and around me.  But even the wind and waves obey our great God.  His ways are right and pure and good.  He will never leave us or forsake us.  And that's the truth.