Pants on Fire
Updated: Jan 15, 2021
For so many, 2020 was the year of COVID frustrations, dilemmas, and cancellations. Yep, me too. But it will go down in my memory bank as something else--the year of the liar. This title does not reflect my experience with politics or personalities. It reflects the way Satan has used the mess of a pandemic to plant deep thriving lives in the hearts of many I talk with. Lying is his stock in trade, so this is no surprise. It is, however, sad.
Satan's lies tend to run in varieties, all with motives that Jesus himself clued us into. In John 10: 10-11, Jesus explains the contrast between His desire for us and our Enemy's desires; "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep."
In order to steal joy, kill hope, and destroy our view of the purpose in God's plans for our lives, Satan works us. He is most effective when we are hurting, afraid, or insecure. That is why 2020 has been a fun ride for him. He can take all the wierdness of the world we're in and twist it into lies about ourselves, our Savior, and our relationship with Christ. There are other flavors of lies he tries to land, of course, but those three are his favorite brands. In terms of marketing presence, by all accounts, he's doing pretty well with them lately.
What kinds of lies does Satan plant regarding ourselves? He tells us we're useless, worthless, and alone. He jackhammers at our sense of purpose, or the way we pursue God's plans for our lives. He gets us to worry about what other people think, how we look, what we have, who likes us, or what our future holds. In 2020, he caused us to think about our mortality and cycle around about how we can protect ourselves from something we can't truly protect ourselves from. By the way, Satan loves the cycling part. Get on the merry go round of anxiety, and he is thrilled with his progress. That plants his lies even deeper, so eventually they may bloom into full-blown depression.
Undermining the truth of God's omnipotence, omnipresence, and omniscience is another favorite strategy. The big lie Satan goes for in every set of tough circumstances deals with God's presence. He likes to tell us we are all alone, abandoned, and on our lonesome. When struggles come, he says we've been forsaken. Scripture continually reminds us this is not true, but when we listen to feelings and the nasty voice of a liar more than God's words, the garbage sinks in. Satan works to twist the truth of God's sovereignty in times like 2020 too. Instead of affirming, as God does, that our Savior works in mysterious ways for our ultimate good, in these situations Satan tempts us to use our own perspective as our guide. We elevate our own view to the point that we believe our brains are bigger than God's. If we don't get it, well, it just can't be possible.
Last, but not least, Satan attacks our relationship with God. The most popular lie here, at least among those I work with, and myself, is that my own efforts have something to do with that relationship. In other words, if I am better at this, work harder at that, am able to check this or that spiritual discipline off my list, well, that means that God will like me better or love me more. Call that works theology, or call it conditional love, or call it a lie from the pit of hell--whatever you choose to call it, it is not true. The blood of Jesus Christ alone saves me from my sins. The Five Solas set this lie right. Salvation comes by grace alone, by faith alone, through Christ alone, according to Scripture alone, for God's glory alone. That proverbial boatload of truth must sail on our hearts continually to keep us in the right channel.
So, if Satan has been at you, and the events of last year fueled his fires in your life, take some time to tell him to go to Hell (that is the place he belongs after all). Instead of listening to him, feed yourself the truth of God's Word in a new way this year, connect with your Savior in prayer, and spend time with the Body of Christ, which is the Church. Call out that liar, liar, and let truth grow.