Monday, October 24, 2016

3 Little Lies: About God

We all know Satan is a liar. Jesus Himself tells us Satan invented lying.

But why do we still get caught up in his lies?

I think our main problem is we don't know how to spot them, or that they're so small, phrased just right, that we began not to notice they are contrary to what the Bible tells us (one of the reasons it is VITAL to have a daily time in the Word!).

And they tend to play on our emotions. Satan knows he can get to us easier through our feelings than our brains.

So for the next few weeks, let's take a look at some of the different lies we're told, and what the truth really is.

This week, let's take a look and see what three lies Satan wants us to believe about God.

1. If I mess up, God's done with me/I have to earn His approval.

"That in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves;
it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast." ~Ephesians 2:7-9, NKJV

You see this a lot in false religions. Buddhism teaches that, in order to end our suffering (nirvana), we must be good. The Quran teaches that good works are the only path to acceptance. Roman Catholicism demands penance for sins. According to Hinduism, the way to end the reincarnation cycle includes being utterly selfless. Mormonism takes another tack at this by denying our sin nature in the first place. Jehovah's Witnesses try to slide it by you by claiming to believe that only God's grace saves, but tacking on the conditions of being baptized and completely transforming your life* to faith.

Of all the major world religions (and I would hazard to guess all the world religions), Biblical Christianity is the ONLY one which teaches that while we are hopeless sinners, unable to do anything to save ourselves, God loved us enough to provide a way for forgiveness through faith in Christ's sacrifice.

But for some reason, we keep falling into this trap. Even though it goes directly against what the Bible teaches, we're so tempted to believe that, if we are just good enough, God will be happy with us. That in order to please God, to truly be accepted by Him, we need to do a whole bunch of good stuff.

If we continue on to verse 10, we read that yes, we as Christians are supposed to do good works. God wants us to be perfect, to strive to be like Him. But we don't earn His approval that way. It is through admitting our sinfulness and letting Christ clothe us in His righteousness that we receive grace. We please God by serving Him through good works, but it has NOTHING to do with His acceptance of us.

Where a lot of people get mixed up is probably the idea of consequences. God forgives. But that doesn't mean you won't suffer the consequences of what you've done.

God removes our sin as far as the east is from the west, and Jesus has paid the final price for our sins. But there's still the earthly consequences to bear.

Take a look at David. God forgave him for murdering Uriah and sleeping with the guy's wife, but he still had to suffer the consequences.

2. God can't help me with my problem

"Ah, Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for You." ~ Jeremiah 32:17 NKJV

We're talking about the God of the universe, right? The God Who made everything? The God Who the Bible tells us of, where time and time again He got His people out of the messes they created for themselves?

But it's so easy to think that the God Who sent water to flood the entire earth can't help with college tuition. Or that the One Who caused the sun to stand still at the plea of Joshua can't provide a godly husband.

I feel like with this one we often get caught up in our own thing, where we're convinced that it's God's will for us to do this or to attend that. Whereas the truth could be that God doesn't want us to go to college (crud, did I say that?) or that God wants us to get married later in life, or maybe not at all.

Nothing is too hard for God. He can help us with any problem we have. The problem is, it might not be in the way we'd hoped for, or He might want us to wait.

3.God doesn't really care about me.

On the surface, this seems like the most ridiculous, like we'd never believe this one. After all, almost all of us know John 3:16. God loved us enough to send Jesus to save us from our sins.

But we get caught up in the small day-to-day life stuff. Does God really love me enough to guide my path? Does He really love me enough to provide for my needs? Does He really know who I am, out of the billions of people on this earth?

He guided Ruth, a stranger in Israel, to the field of Boaz.

He provided food for the widow and her son during a famine, even though their supplies should've run out long ago.

He knew exactly who Gideon is, though he was the least of his father's house.

Are we really that different from them? If God could lead and provide for those women, why wouldn't He do the same for us? If He knew who Gideon was, why wouldn't He know who we are?

God always cares. He loves us more than we can imagine. But sometimes in the midst of our "small" problems, we forget that if God gave us a solution to our #1 really big "unsolvable" problem (our sin separating us from Him) then why wouldn't He care enough to help us solve our little problems we face in daily life?

God is merciful, though we may have to deal with consequences of our sins.

God is powerful enough to deal with all our problems, though His solution/timing may not be ours.

God is gracious enough to care about our problems, and has already solved our biggest one.

Satan lies about God, but he also lies about himself. We'll take a look at three of those lies next week.

*Of course, true faith in God will produce a transformed life, but it is not a condition of salvation. Faith alone saves, but changed lives are a result of salvation and one of the most powerful witnesses to unsaved friends and family!

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