Four lies Satan loves to thrust upon us, hoping we’ll take the bait
- Tirelessly and endlessly strive to earn God’s love, favor and acceptance
- Compromise your integrity in order to be accepted by others
- Find someone to blame and punish (either God, others or yourself) when you experience hurt or disappointment
- Allow any shame from your past to convince you that you can never change, essentially giving up on any hope for a better future.
Strive, compromise, blame and quit.
These are the actions and attitudes of a person who has given Satan their ear and allowed him to affect their mind.
The message of the Gospel is entirely the opposite.
For each of Satan’s lies, God offers a compelling rebuttal.
Here are four counterpoints to consider:
Rather than striving, the Gospel invites us to rest
Both Ephesians 2:8-9 and Titus 3:3-5 drive home this point: our salvation isn’t based on our efforts, but the efforts of Jesus.
His completed work means that we can now rest from any attempts to try and earn God’s favor.
Why is it that even though we know that Jesus’ work on our behalf is complete, we sometimes feel tempted to add to it?
The Gospel is about God taking our compromised, sin-stained lives and wrapping them up in the perfect righteousness of Jesus.
Through Christ, God raises us to the level of acceptability.
He never lowers His standard of holiness.
He meets us where we are, but fully transforms us based on Christ’s work on the cross.
And as we are reconciled to Him, He challenges us to live a life of integrity and holiness.
This is accomplished when we practice faith in His Word and reliance upon His Holy Spirit.
We won’t be perfect until we enter heaven. But that reality ought never cause us to become slack in pursuing the best that God has for us.
The Gospel tells us that on the cross Jesus paid the price for our sins so that God’s wrath would be fully satisfied.
The very last words of Jesus before He died were, ‘It is finished.”
In Christ, a person no longer has to worry about punishment.
Theologians have a word for the way God’s wrath was satisfied through Christ’s sacrifice: propitiation.
What it means is that Jesus’s death was enough to satisfy God’s wrath.
As a result, God no longer looks upon a believer with eyes of judgement, but rather He lavishes His love upon us.
Here’s a key thought: knowing that we are now at such peace with God can help us learn to be at peace with others.
Finally, the Gospel encourages us to move on from feelings of shame, guilt and failure in order to embrace the type of life Jesus described as being “more abundant.”
Here’s the truth: shame is a terrible motivator.
Shame makes us think, “I am what I am. I’m stuck. I’ll never change. My past will always dictate my future.”
But the Gospel message is wrapped up in the idea of “new.”
New life. New perspectives. New growth. New hope.
Satan would love for us to stay bound to the shackles of shame.
God wants to release us from our past to take hold of a possibility-filled future.
The genesis of our regeneration is found in salvation, and it is then sustained by our intentional interaction with three things: God’s Word, God’s Spirit and God’s Church.
These three components act as sunshine, water and fertilizer function in the life of a growing tree.
Here’s my parting thought:
Sometimes it seems to us that Satan has the words of life and liberation, while God only offers us restrictions and limitations.
In other words, Satan knows how to have fun and God is nothing short of a killjoy.
This is just one more of Satan’s lies.
We fall for such fabrications because Satan is very skilled at warping the truth, and we are, in our flesh, very weak.
But God doesn’t inhibit life, He enhances it. And His Gospel message serves as a testament to His desire to bless our lives with His wisdom and power.
He wants us to replace our striving with rest.
He desires to point us away from compromise and direct us to integrity.
He wants us to find peace in our spirit so we can cease from blaming and punishing.
And he hope we will give Him our shame in exchange for a hope-filled future.
As God so picturesquely declared to the prophet Joel centuries ago, He can restore the years that have been consumed by ravenous locusts.
Satan will never make you that kind of promise.