We had a great Thanksgiving with the family. We put up the Christmas decorations early this year—well, early for us. They look great. We’ve had a fantastic dinner. The temperature is falling outside, but inside, we are warm and fed. Yet, as I sit in my lovely decorated family room, I am still grappling with a deep-seated desire for more. I’m not satisfied. I’m not content. The dissatisfaction is always there. I’ve been trying to keep it at bay. Sometimes I try to ignore it, but it finds a way to make itself known. Other times I openly given in and make plans for a side hustle. I think about starting a workout routine, I need to start dressing better. There’s so much more I want.
The notion that what I’m looking for will satisfy is a lie and I know it. But it’s such a good lie. It’s a lie I want to believe—a dream I want to have. It’s the blue pill from The Matrix. But again, by the Lord’s grace, I cannot give in to the lie. There’s too much at stake.
The power of some lies is not in their deception but in their appeal. Some are lies we want to believe.Tweet
I believe this is true of three dangerous, yet alluring, lies that the people of God are choosing to believe. It doesn’t take much to debunk these lies, yet their grip is still strong. They appeal to us deeply. These lies have the potential to reshape the public image of the body of Christ. Because of their wide spread acceptance we are looking less and less like the Christ from whom we take our name. We cannot afford to believe these lies no matter how appealing they are to us. We will prove unfaithful followers of Christ if we given in and believe the lies.
If we believe these three lies, we are at risk of changing the essential nature of the faith. The faith that was once for all handed down from the apostles. This requires us to remain vigilant and firm, so we don’t drift away. So what are these lies?
We Deserve Good From God
I like this first lie because of how deeply I believe in my own need to esteem myself highly. There is an innate belief that without a high self esteem, I cannot be successful. Only those who believe in their own inherent worth can achieve great things. You simply must believe in you. I have even heard a more sinister twist on this lie that says even God believes in you.
But this is where faith clashes with the reality of my own need. It’s where I must believe the things that are not seen and not the things that are seen. I am a sinner, and as such, I do not deserve good from God’s hand. Jesus didn’t give His life for me because of my inherent worth. He gave His life because he loved me despite my lack of worth. I receive worth only because He loves me. Any good I receive is by His grace and His grace alone. I have received much good from the Lord, but not because of me, but in spite of me.
In an attempt to maintain self esteem and faith we have reduced sinner to mean everybody makes mistakes, or that no one is perfect. But we are not making mistakes, we are rebelling against God. And we are so far from perfect we need not mention the word in our defense. To believe otherwise is simply entitlement, and it’s not possible to be grateful and feel entitled.
I struggle with this terribly. I recognize it in my latent anger and envy. When I feel it coming on, I must reset my thinking. I must choose to believe God. I must choose to believe the truth. My esteem must decrease as I esteem Christ highly for His gracious gifts. If I believe the lie, then what God gives me is my due. I can say thank you, but I cannot not be grateful. I cannot praise Him for the glory of His grace.
We Can Gain The Whole World If We Give God Glory.
Jesus asked the question, “what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” Yet we are in white hot pursuit of all this world has to offer and giving God the glory in a hashtag for having gained it.Tweet
We are under the delusion that we can gain wealth, power, and beauty and not lose our souls. It’s an appealing lie that God wants to give us the world. It’s grip is subtle, yet firm. We shamelessly display our excesses and vanity in pictures, memes, and video, baiting others join the chase for vanity. Then we naively give God glory for them all. Yet the Father warns us not to love the world, and that gaining it will cost us our souls. We have believed the lie when we are evangelistic about health and fitness, essential oils, fine foods, travel to exotic lands, and other vanities, even with Jesus in the hashtag.
None of these things are inherently bad. What is bad is the evangelistic zeal and praise we give to them. The uncomfortable truth is that we live our lives for Him who gave His life for us. Our lives are to be given in service to Him. We seek His kingdom, first, and trust that all those other things will be added to us. What we pursue is an indication of where our treasure is, and our heart is always with our treasure. We are ambassadors of a crucified Christ, called out of the world for the sake of the world.
When we believe this lie, our pursuits undermine our witness. Our health, prosperity, and good life do not make people believe in our God. It makes them believe those things are our god.
I’m Living My Best Life.
Well, I’m sure it’s no surprise this lie made the list. It’s catching like kindling in the body of Christ. The appeal is based in the despair of this world. It’s a branch from the root of the YOLO tree. If it is true, that you only live once, then by all means, eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow you die.
If you are living your best life, then it leaves Jesus asking, “who moved my cheese?”Tweet
The Lord has an eternal plan to withhold your best life for the time when you can enjoy it most. This life is 70 years, 80 if we have the strength, but in the next life we will live forever. That’s the hope of the resurrection in Christ. We are called to sacrifice and to serve in this life that we may inherit the promises of God in the next. We simply cannot alter the plan of God and move the hope of Christ from the age to come to this age.
The danger of this lie is that if we choose the best in this life, we will forfeit the next. The essential nature of faith in Christ is rooted in the age to come.
If Christ benefits us most in this life, then we are above all men most to be pitied. Trying to live our best life makes us pitiful witnesses for the resurrected Christ.Tweet
I’ve called these lies in order to be culturally relevant, but it’s important to call this what it is. These are the doctrines and philosophies of the world. These are the teachings that scripture warns us not to be taken by. As we have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so we are to walk in Him.