"[The devil] is a liar and the father of lies."
- John 8:44 NIV
When you and I go through dark and difficult times, as Jesus said we would (16:33), one of our greatest challenges is to refuse and ignore the lies that our greatest enemy, Satan, is likely to tell us. One of the reasons that the Savior spoke so much about our archenemy was that He wanted us to be aware of, and alert to, the devil's attacks and strategies. What are some of the lies that we might consider to be truth?
The first and greatest one is that God doesn't love us. We hear John 3:16 quoted so often that there's a danger we'll forget or discount its powerful truth: "For God loved the world so much that He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life." (NLT) If you are a parent, as I am, then you have a greater understanding of just how much love had to be involved in God's sacrificing His own Son, especially to die the gruesome death that Jesus did. In speaking of His own sacrificial act, the Savior told His disciples, "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends." (John 15:13 NKJV) When I hear or read these words, it's as if Jesus is telling me, "If you ever begin to doubt My love for you, remember that I willingly died for you." Then I often say out loud, "Thank You, Lord, that You love me!"
Another lie that we might hear from the enemy in difficult times is that because we caused our own problems, it's up to us to fix them. The truth is that failing to ask for God's help in times of adversity will only compound our troubles. Scripture says that when we go through trials, the Lord wants us to ask for His wisdom. James 1:5 (NIV) says: "If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you." You and I may not see any way out of our trouble, but our God always sees a way, and He will show us the way if we will ask Him in faith. Do you feel unworthy to receive the Lord's help? Then meditate on the Amplified translation of Hebrews 4:16: "Let us then fearlessly and confidently and boldly draw near to the throne of grace (the throne of God's unmerited favor to us sinners), that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find grace to help in good time for every need [appropriate help and well-timed help, coming just when we need it.]." Hallelujah!
When you and I are hurting, it can be tempting to believe the devil's lie that God wants us to suffer. If so, we can counter the enemy's lies with the truth of Scripture. Lamentations 3:33 (NLT) says that the Lord "does not enjoy hurting people or causing them sorrow." In fact, the Bible makes it clear that when we hurt, God hurts. "In all their suffering He also suffered, and He personally rescued them. In His love and mercy, He redeemed them. He lifted them up and carried them through all the years." (Isaiah 63:9 NLT) The Lord doesn't just walk through our troubles and trials with us, but He often lifts us up and carries us all the way through to victory.
It's not unusual for Satan to try to convince us that there's simply no hope for us, when nothing could be further from the truth. The Apostle Paul wrote that we belong to "the God of hope". (Romans 15:13) And he should know. He endured a multitude of painful tests and trials, but he never lost his hope in God. Paul tells us in First Corinthians about a time when he "despaired of life itself" because of the trouble he was facing. In order to regain his hope, he reminds himself of how God rescued him in the past, and how worthy He is of our trust. Paul says, "[the Lord] has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and He will deliver us again. On Him we have set our hope that He will continue to deliver us." (1 Corinthians 1:8,10 NIV)
If you are facing some daunting circumstances today, I urge you not to buy into the devil's lies. Instead, choose to put your trust in God and His promises, and watch Him work all things together for your good and His glory! (Romans 8:28)
Prayer: Lord, forgive me for the times I put more faith in the devil's lies than in Your Word. Help me to renew my mind to Your truth, and to act on it in times of trouble, instead of acting on my feelings. Thank You that as I make a quality decision to trust You in dark and difficult times, You will deliver me and prove Your faithfulness to Your promises once again!
- J. M. Farro