One of the greatest ways an enemy can defeat an intended victim is to not present himself as an enemy at all, but actually someone who makes a lot of sense. If somehow the enemy is able to convince the one he is trying to defeat to believe lies about the support and protection available to the one the enemy is attempting to bring down, he has found a very effective strategy that does not require him revealing his true identity. The victim will slowly succumb to the lies if fear is successfully used to undermine the truth.
I have had a great succession of days not understanding this tactic the enemy of my soul has used against me. My God is unchanging. His love is unconditional. He is has promised never to leave me or forsake me. But I keep forgetting that this is war - that the chief mission of Satan is steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10) any hope or joy I may have. He has had me in a cauldron of fear, acting out of my unbelief.
I wrote down some of the lies that I have been believing lately. Maybe you are able to relate to some of these, too:
1) God will let me fall.
2) God will let me be ashamed or disgraced. (This is a big one I am dealing with right now.)
3) God cares for/loves others more than He does me.
4) God is not trustworthy.
5) God will not redeem the circumstances that cause me to be afraid.
Initially, I was able to shake these fears off with a little laugh. How absurd. My whole childhood experience in Congo living on a remote mission station defies all of those lies. And yet, as disappointing circumsTo tances that I hoped were fleeting have seemed to become reality with no indication of changing any time soon, I have taken on a posture of defeat before the enemy.
I have the privilege of teaching Scripture to precious fifth grade girls every week. We have been talking about the difference between fear and faith.
The enemy is a roaring lion prowling around seeking to devour me (1 Peter 5:8). He doesn't care how he accomplishes this devouring - whether he hides behind a mask of false identity or reveals himself as the fierce, heartless opponent that he is. His goal is to make me doubt the absolute sovereignty and watch-care of my God over me.
To every one of those lies I wrote in my journal this morning, I countered with the truth found in God's Word.
Lie #1: God will let me fall.
Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.
Too often I don't cast my cares on the Lord; I keep them to myself. I don't cry out for His mercy; I stew and fret and hold my anguish inside.
Lie # 2: God will let me be ashamed or disgraced.
All who rage against you will surely be ashamed and disgraced; those who oppose you will be as nothing and perish. Isaiah 41:11
Satan rages because he knows he is a defeated enemy. He knows that his doom is sure. But if he can convince me to believe that I am defeated, he strips me of my calling, my joy, my confidence. He knows that he is the one who is going to be ashamed and disgraced for eternity.
Lie # 3: God cares for/loves others more than He does me.
He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Romans 8:32
And this is where His mercy takes my breath away. Instead of rebuking me for my ungratefulness and myopic perspective when things don't go my way, His kindness leads me to repentance. How could I for an instant doubt His great love for me?
Lie # 4: God is not trustworthy.
He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong,
upright and just is he. Deuteronomy 32:4
I am the one not trustworthy in deciding what life circumstances are going to make me more Christ-like. I will default to my flesh and its comfort everytime. I have to remember that I just see through the mirror darkly right now. I am like an infant who does not know what is best for me. He does. And times of suffering turn into the moments of greatest refinement when I leave behind an ungodly habit or am reminded of how desperately I need him.
Lie # 5: God will not redeem the circumstances that cause me to be afraid.
Praise the Lord, O my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
2 Praise the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
3 who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
5 who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. Psalm 103:1-5
O Jesus, change my F.E.A.R. to F.A.I.T.H. Help me to use Your Word to combat the enemy and his lies. Restore joy, peace, and confident hope in me so that I can truly believe that