@robertkwendt || lead pastor
Have you ever been around a really good liar?
As kids we all tried to deceive our parents a time or two (or three).
However, there are some that can really master the skill of lying. Their stories are believable, convincing, and even can move us to action. While lying is definitely not a craft to boast about, it is a tool that Satan, the adversary to Jesus followers, definitely loves to use. In fact, he can be really good at even convincing us of what he's trying to sell.
In Genesis 3:1-7, we see a picture of his deception being put to use through his deception of Adam and Eve. In this story, we see Satan convince Eve of the very same lie he tries to convince us of still to this day.
His lie: you know best.
BELIEVING THE LIE MAKES US USELESS.
There is a word that sums up uselessness. That word is futility.
In writing to the early believers of Jesus in Ephesus, Paul explains a difference between those who follow Jesus and those who don't (the Gentiles). The word he uses to describe the difference...futility.
"Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds." (Ephesians 4:17 ESV)
Satan does not want to see people be like the followers of Jesus. In fact, his mission is to keep people trapped in being Gentiles. So...
Satan strives to make us useless by deceiving us to think we know best.
There is a principle in the business world known as the "Peter Principle." This principle describes that organizations will often promote an individual beyond their competency level. As an individual succeeds in their given position, they are promoted to a higher one. Eventually, they're promoted so high that they're overwhelmed and beyond his or her competency level.
In our lives, we often see this with various successes. As we achieve accomplishments and accolades, we look at what we've done as individuals to achieve such things. We promote ourselves over and over again. Eventually, we get to a place where we are overwhelmed. We realize we don't know what to do next.
We are beyond our competency level.
It is at this point that we have two options:
Option #1 — We let pride get the best of us and do not admit our deficiency. In fact, we work harder searching for answers. We deny help when asked. We may even demand, "Do _____________, because I am the boss and I know best."
Option #2 — We let go of our pride and seek guidance from someone else. We realize that we can only do so much on our own and need someone else to help us. At this point, we look for a guide.
Throughout our lives, Satan wants us to follow option 1. At the same time, God wants to be our guide (option 2).
What option we choose really impacts where we go next!
JESUS WANTS US TO FOCUS ON WHO WE ARE.
With Adam and Eve, God never gave up being their guide. He gave them instructions in the beginning, and he came alongside them and guided them again after they fell for Satan's tricks.
In fact, God went as far as to make an animal sacrifice for Adam and Eve so they may be properly clothed and cared for (Genesis 3:21). He sought after being their guide.
God didn't just make the sacrifice for Adam and Eve then, but continued to make sacrifices for His people. In fact, He even made the ultimate sacrifice through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ of Nazareth (see Romans 5).
This is a sacrifice that God never made for Satan and his followers but He has made for us!
In fact, God is jealous over us, while Satan is jealous of us. This causes for two messages to continually bombard us.
Satan wants us to hear the message of who we once were.
Jesus desires to hear the message of who we are.
WHAT MESSAGE ARE YOU LISTENING TO?
Throughout Ephesians 4:25-32, Paul talks about putting off our old self, being renewed through Jesus, and then putting on our new self.
As when we take a shower, there is a point where we have to take off our old smelly clothes, let the water wash us clean, and then put on our new fresh and clean clothes.
Jesus wants us to live in the confidence that comes with the fresh look and not the embarrassment that comes with the mess we once were.
We are called to put off our lies, anger, and stealing ways and to put on truth, peace, and generosity. We are to put off talk that tears down and put on talk that builds up. We are challenged to put off all badness and to put on all types of kindness.
Satan despises seeing such a change in us, so he continually whispers, "You're just your messy old self." He wants us to believe change isn't possible. He wants us to think we are not worthy.
Meanwhile, Jesus wants to know we are worth dying for. Forgiven. Full of hope.
Let me challenge you with this.
Reflect on a lie that Satan is challenging you to believe about yourself. Is it that addiction, that lie, that college mistake? Stop focusing on who you once were and start focusing on who Jesus says you are.
Now, read Romans 8 and let the truth of who you are in Jesus cover all your doubt and overwhelm Satan with God's truth.