A lie believed as truth will affect your life as though it were true. (read that one more time please)
I once did a little experiment on a Sunday morning. At the start of the sermon, I told all the people that I had secretly placed four $50 bills underneath seats in the church. I explained it as random act of kindness and I fully convinced them that this was true.
Of course it wasn’t true. It was 100% false. It was a flat out lie (which I've already repented about and confessed :) ). But the fact that it was a lie didn’t matter. What mattered is that people THOUGHT it was true. The reality of it being a lie wasn’t as important as the perception that it was true.
Because they thought it was true, you can only imagine what happened next. People were on the floor, looking underneath seats, fighting to get to the empty seats … It was quite the sight! And of course up on stage, I did my best to hold a straight face as long as I could, but eventually I couldn’t do it anymore. I was laughing hysterically to see the way this “perceived truth” – aka, this LIE – was making people behave in church.
Unfortunately this same thing may be happening to you as well. The only difference is that the liar is much more dangerous and so is the lie. The Devil is “a liar and the father of all lies”. The very first sin on earth was committed because Eve believed a lie that the Devil told her: “Eat this and you will be like God.” She believed that it was true. And because of that, she acted on it and we’ve all been feeling the effects of it ever since.
Believe me, Satan hasn’t stopped lying. He tells us such lies as “You aren’t good enough” or “You can’t possibly change.” “This person is against you” or “there’s no way you can fix this.” He tricks us with the lie that satisfaction and happiness come from material belongings and personal accomplishments or momentary pleasure. He deceives us into thinking that we are “too busy” to spend time with God or that that time with God “won’t really make a difference anyway.”
NO MORE LIES! Jesus said, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” [John 8:32]. We must learn to recognize the devil’s lies, reject those lies and replace them with the Truth of God’s Word. Only then can we live the way we were meant to live.
But how? How do you do that? How do you combat the lies of the devil – especially the ones you’ve been acting on for years?
Here’s my theory in life: IT'S ALWAYS EASIER TO REPLACE THAN TO REMOVE.
I believe that about just about everything in life. It’s easier to replace a bad habit than to remove it entirely. It’s easier to replace fattening foods than to remove them completely from my diet. It’s a whole lot easier to replace a bad relationship with good relationship, than it is to go cold turkey without any relationships at all.
Don’t try to remove the lie; try to replace it instead. Removing the lie means trying to convince yourself that it isn’t true and forcing yourself to believe it. The devil says “you can’t do it” and you say “That’s not true. I think he is lying. I think I can do it. What does he know anyway?”
That might work for a little, but not for long. He will always win that battle because it is you and against him. Your smarts vs his smarts. Your truth vs his lie. He wins.
Instead, try to replace that lie with truth. Where do I get that truth? THE WORD OF GOD.
He says “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)
He says “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.” (Luke 18:27)
He says “He who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do” (John 14:12)
This Sunday is the second Sunday of Lent in the Orthodox church. This is the week during which we read the story of Jesus being tempted in the wilderness by the devil - see Matthew 4:1-11. If you study that story, you’ll notice three things:
- The devil tempted Jesus by feeding Him lies and half truths
- Jesus responded with Truth from the Word of God (“It is written…”)
- Jesus wins the fight – Truth of God beats lies of devil every time
For discussion: what lies are you being fed by the devil and what are you going to do to combat them today?