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Answering the Lies II

You posted watchmen at every gate, determined to mark the enemy before he marked you. Those cinematic sins wouldn't get past your gates, not while your watchmen stoically stood by keeping out drug addiction and adultery, bigotry and sexism, wastefulness and homelessness. But the Devil is no amateur adversary. He brought no battering rams or siege towers. No, he knew your blind spots, and subterfuge was his game. With only the subtlest of suggestions, he means to collapse the whole city.

But you are not without a helper.

So to the one berating herself on her weak show of faith, who feels the strain of demanding more and more of herself. To the one who knows that serving Christ should bring her joy but feels nothing but drudgery. Who wants to enjoy a hobby or dessert or TV show, but who can't sit down for fear that she's acting selfishly. "You should be doing better," the lies say. "You should do more."

Answer with truth.

  • "You are a sheep. You are not Jesus Christ. You are a sheep and as such, you aren't better equipped to arrive at perfection than those who've hurt you with their failures. It is your natural inclination to wander, not in bombastic ways but by doing what you ought in your own strength. Stop expecting from yourself what you can never achieve. Rather, admit your frailty, and tell those lies that Jesus Christ has met that standard already." Isaiah 53:5-6

To the one systematizing her triumphs, who is so enthralled by how well a book spoke to her or a wise suggestion took root that she writes up her success as the prescription that would cure others. To the one who wants order so desperately that she will lay her own grid of well-being upon her friends and spouse and parents. To the one who believes that lie: "You might have the key to cure others."

Answer with truth.

  • "There is no cure but Jesus Christ, and he is not a method or book or proverb. He is a person. It is his leading in your life that brought you this new insight, and it is his leading in others that will bring them along as well. Methods can save no one, just like new way of treading water won't save anyone lost at sea. You must grasp onto Jesus. Only he can save anyone from drowning. So name the orchestrator behind your method, and encourage naught but a firm grasp upon him." Philippians 3:4-9.

To the one second guessing all his choices, frazzled by every new crime and disease and catastrophe. Who fears the not-yet-known regarding a decision he must make. Who fears that if he plays his cards too soon, he'll miss some vital piece of information that would prove his play foolhardy. Who feels that if he were just given the space to ask more questions, talk to more experts, research more sites, then he could play his set of hearts or discard that two of diamonds. Who has come to believe the voice that says, "If you only got more, you'd have enough to decide."

Answer with truth.

  • "Your craving for more information won't be satisfied in hours of thinking or researching. No. Your craving can only be satisfied in crying out to the omniscient God who knows exactly how this decision will ripple in effect to those around you. He knows exactly what will happen and still desires you to will the decision into action. Call on him for the courage to act without knowing everything, and he will answer." Luke 11:9-13

To the one hurt by others words, offended and scandalized, sure that other's oversight or ignorance or stupidity or sin ought to be addressed. To the one fiery inside with the will to point and call what has been done to her unfair play! To the one drawing up battle lines and writing up proclamations because she believes that she holds the gavel, and it is her responsibility to sentence those who've hurt her.

Answer with truth.

  • "Do you not know that you live in a fog? And the work of the devil and the world and God's own righteous convergence with soul and mind and heart is invisible to your eyes. Do you see what he does and why he does it? No, you only see actions and hear intonations, but you do not know. That is why you don't hold the gavel nor do you have the authority to sentence. Give it up. Tell the Lord your pains and he will show you what they say about your heart. Then leave justice to the one who alone can decide these matters." 1 Peter 2:23

To the one stuck viewing himself out of others' eyes. Who is anxious after he hangs up the phone or leaves a meeting or clicks "post." Who is forever wondering how he will be viewed. Will they think him vain? Dramatic? Shallow? Sulky? A complainer? Might he be criticized or judged for what he has done or said? What will people say?

Answer with truth.

  • "Don't you know how fickle man's likes and dislikes are? Don't you know how easily they are swayed or how stubbornly they will dig in their heels? Will you leave your reputation up to men? Will you rise and fall with the ebb of their tastes when the Lord God has already seen everything you have done and everything you ever will do and already declared your position before him. Do not fear others learning that you are a sinner, because then they may also see God's grace in you." Romans 5:6-10

To the one who feels she is stepping on egg shells around her family or spouse or children. Who is bracing herself for an explosion or vicious accusation or dramatic remonstration. Who chooses her words ever so carefully to keep the dragons of wild emotions at bay. Who is always reframing her words to sound easier or kinder or gentler than they are. Who will take all manner of difficulties onto herself to prevent those she loves from having to handle their own disappointments or suffer through the consequences of their own behaviors or to experience the trials of life.

Answer with truth.

  • "Their suffering is not yours to prevent and you are not in charge of curing them of their discontented hearts. God will be with you when they shout at you. God will be with you when they accuse you. God will be with you as you endure their storms, the selfishness in their hearts at war with God. They are fighting to have their own way and there you stand before them. God will be with you as you suffer their suffering. And through this, you will grow nearer and nearer God's own heart as he suffers also for them." Isaiah 43:1-4

What use is it to say we have the sword of truth but we do not use it against both the obvious temptations and the subtle whispers of the devil who would see us fail in the invisible dark places of the heart?

(Click here for Part I of Answering the Lies )

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