Fatigue. Anxiety. Stress. Temptation. Fear. Despair. Lies. Revenge. Sound familiar? These eight lies are the devil’s favourite schemes for distorting our view of reality. He wants us to believe that it’s okay to stay in a place of suffering forever, okay to believe there isn’t anything that can be done, okay to live in defeat. Perhaps no other temptation is as easy to embrace as a simple lie, yet accepting even one of the enemy’s most innocuous deceits initiates a slippery slope downward from the reality of God’s Truth to the pit of despair. (The truth is, Christ has made us Overcomers! Discover how to overcome Satan’s wiles with the spiritual armor God gives us in Ephesians 6).
The Father of Lies
The enemy wants you to believe his lies. But keep in mind who the enemy truly is. In just three simple verses, Scripture gives us an accurate picture of his character, of his tactics, and of his goal.
His history tells us he is a murderer and has only one desire. In John 8:44 Jesus tells his followers, “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning.”
His strategy tells us how he intends to deceive us. Jesus paints a picture of this plan as he continues in John 8:44: “[The devil] does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.”
The Truth in Scripture
The enemy’s power reveals his goal for us as we try to keep our eyes on Jesus. Peter explained this vividly to the Church in 1 Peter 5:8: “Your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”
If we know who the enemy is, the reasons why he is our enemy, and how he intends to defeat us, why are so many of us still choosing to believe his distorted version of reality? Why would we accept his lies about stress, anxiety, despair, and all the other struggles we have, making us think they can’t be overcome?
Doesn’t it seem far better for us to believe the truth found in Scripture? The truth that tells us the enemy has no true leg to stand on, that he’s already been defeated, that our struggles have already been resolved—that we possess the tools to be Overcomers?
The Truth Behind the Lies
As I mentioned above, sometimes the struggles themselves are manageable. We can manage our fatigue by getting a bit more rest. We can manage our stress by decompressing on the weekends. But sometimes the struggles go much deeper and are bolstered by the lie of justification. We’re afraid of this relationship breaking down, stressed out by the sheer amount of work we have to get done, or anxious about things that just haven’t fallen into place yet. The lie is this: we’re justified to stay fearful, stressed, anxious. Nothing could be further from reality.
God doesn’t want His children to stay stuck. The truth we find in Scripture tells us we should never believe the lies the enemy tells us, and we should be guarded against him. There are far better things God has in store for us, and our part in the matter is to trust in Him and His truth, believe His promises to us, and rely on how much He loves us. Consider this verse from 2 Corinthians: “We have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God” (2 Corinthians 4:2).
Resisting the Lies
Justifying the lie and believing it’s the easiest way to get us through our struggles is living in shame and walking in craftiness. It’s not what God wants for us. We know God wants us to live in truth, to hold truth close, to stand on it. But other than the truth we can find in Scripture, what other truth is there? Well, we are told multiple times throughout Scripture of the God of truth. He can be trusted for this reason. David wrote in Psalm 31:5, “Into Your hand I commit my spirit; You have redeemed me, O Lord God of truth.”
Consider Isaiah’s words on the God of truth, “So that he who blesses himself in the earth shall bless himself in the God of truth; and he who swears in the earth shall swear by the God of truth; because the former troubles are forgotten, and because they are hidden from My eyes” (65:16).
Christ as the Source
We are also told that God Himself is truth and life. “And the Word [Jesus] became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). We see further affirmation when Jesus reminds us He is “the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Christ is our source of truth. We are assured of Christ’s desire for us to live in truth and our ability to live in truth.
Ephesians 6:14 commands us, “Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth.” A couple of chapters before this, Paul wrote that “the truth is in Jesus” (4:21). The truth we are meant to stand on—the truth of who God is, what Jesus did for us, and the lives He intends for us to lead—is meant to permeate who we are and everything we do, including the choices we make concerning the enemy’s lies. We can believe them or reject them.
The Encouragement of Truth
If we know truth and its ability to strengthen us, gird us, how can we plant the truth in our hearts so that we are prepared when the lies are aimed at us? When we are discouraged in relationships, stressed from work, or longing for revenge, we need to stand in the truth of God’s sovereignty as it enables us to overcome.
Resist the enemy’s lies. Stand on the truth of who God is: He is truth, He is grace, He is strength, He is mercy. He is the one who has already overcome, and by extension we have the tools and ability to overcome as well. Satan’s eight greatest deceptions—fatigue, anxiety, stress, temptation, fear, despair, lies, and revenge—can be overcome when we live in truth.
Pastor Olakunle Yusuf is the General Overseer, Grace Assembly Christian Church. For prayers/counseling, call 08023423396 or email: [email protected]. Shalom!