Two Truths and a Lie?

We often assume Satan is all about lying, and he is—John 8:44 says he is the father of lies. But often, he gets to us believe the lies because they masquerade as truth. It’s like that game we used to play as teenagers–two truths and a lie. You said three things about yourself that all could be true, but the person had to guess which one was the lie. The lies are easy to believe because, at least on some level, many of the taunts of the devil are quite true. God does call the weak, the meek, the lowly, and the poor, and we may easily identify ourselves in that way.

If we dwell on that alone, we might be tempted toward despair or self-pity. We want our lives to look better, so we end up defending ourselves and what the world sees as important—our status, our job, our cause—instead of defending the gospel.

But we don’t have to defend ourselves, because we know a more powerful truth. We know our standing is with Christ and that His word is true. We can defend the gospel while admitting we are weak, because our strength is not in ourselves, but in Him (2 Corinthians 12:9).

So next time Satan, or the world, tells you these things or similar thoughts—cling to your standing as a child of God. It is our only sure hope.

  • When you hear, I don’t belong here. It’s true; I don’t. Nothing on this earth feels quite right. But, this world is not my home, and soon I will be with Christ in heaven forever (Hebrews 13:14).
  • When you hear, I am worthless. It’s true; any of my good works apart from Christ are filthy rags. But my worth is found only in Christ and I can never do anything to earn His love or forgiveness or salvation; it is only by grace that I am saved (Ephesians 2:8-10).
  • When you hear, I look awful (or old, or ugly…). It’s true; outer beauty is fading. The cares of this world are many, and it can show. True beauty is found in the one who created us in His image.
  • When you hear, I just did that again. I am hopeless. It’s true; I do fail often. I am a sinner and I will never be perfect this side of heaven. But God does not treat us as our sins deserve (Psalm 103:8-14), He gives good gifts to his children when we ask (Matt 7:9-11), and He is pleased to give us the kingdom (Luke 12:32). My hope is in Christ alone. However, He does continue to sanctify me and I must be teachable in order to grow in Christ-likeness.

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Though Foes Assail Me

Have you ever looked at a picture so often, or heard a story told from your childhood so often, that it feels like you remember it, even though you were so young and probably wouldn’t remember it on your own?

If you tell a story often enough, it starts to feel real. It seems true. Even if it’s not. Have you noticed this? You can hardly tell the truth from the lie anymore.

A lot of us have lies running on repeat in our minds and don’t even realize it. Lies about ourselves, lies about what other people think about us, lies about God, lies about what God thinks about us…you get the picture. We think them so easily and so often, that we can hardly recognize them as lies anymore. They just become a part of our thinking. What are the lies you are believing? That you will never measure up? That you aren’t a good wife, husband, parent, or friend? Or at least not as good as _________? That you will never break this habit or that sin? That you will always be alone? That God could never really love you the way you are? That you will never get better? That you can’t go on another day?

Truth is reality from God’s perspective. Not ours. If we dwell on the lies, that is what will seem real. But when you tell yourself the truths of scripture, the lies will be choked out. Sometimes the darkness feels really dark. Like when you can’t see your hand in front of you when you put it up to your face. But the darkest darkness cannot survive the light of the gospel! When we are consumed with our own thoughts, God reality is still true. God says that he does not treat us as our sins deserve (Psalm 103:10), that we are made perfect by the blood of Christ (1 Peter 1:17-19), that we have the power to resist temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13), that we are never alone (Joshua 1:5), that God cares for little sparrows and will take care of us, too (Matthew 10:29-31), and that nothing will separate us from His love.

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It is so easy to listen to the voices in my head, instead of remembering that I’m in a battle and fighting to know the Truth instead. And believe me, it is a fight! The voices seem relentless, but Jesus’ love for me is more so. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. (John 10:27-28)

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:37-39 ESV)

4 Ways to Fight the Lies

1. Arm yourselves for battle. Be prepared before the enemy shows up so you can stand against his trickery and lies.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:10-12)

2. Take your thoughts captive. Sometimes the biggest battle is just recognizing the lies as soon as you think them, and saying No! Stop! Untrue! Go away! Maybe even out loud. Whatever it takes, however odd it sounds, however embarrassing it feels.

For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)

He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him. (Colossians 2:15)

3. Hide his words in your heart. There is nothing more powerful against the devil than the words of Christ. I can’t tell you how many times I have, in grief and distress, sung Jesus Loves Me or repeated one line from Psalm 23 over and over, because that was all I could remember at that moment. The more scripture we have hidden in our hearts, the better equipped we will be to fight the advance of the enemy.

“I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. Blessed are you, O LORD; teach me your statutes! With my lips I declare all the rules of your mouth. In the way of your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches. I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word.” (Psalm 119:11-16)

4. Persevere! You are a child of God. You have a God-given purpose, and your life belongs to him. Don’t let the devil tell you otherwise. Meditate on the Word and pray for wisdom. Sometimes, all you can mutter is “God, please help me.” I do it all the time and sometimes that is as far as I get. God still hears your childlike prayers, your weak cries for help, and the Spirit intercedes for you when you have nothing left.