Truth Exchange (7)
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith… 1 Peter 5.8, 9
Awash in the lie
What David wrote nearly two millennia ago seems especially true in our day (Ps. 12.1, 2):
Help, LORD, for the godly man ceases!
For the faithful disappear from among the sons of men.
They speak idly everyone with his neighbor;
With flattering lips and a double heart they speak.
Sometimes men’s lies seem harmless enough – white lies to cover up a misdeed, exaggerate a claim, or fake a personality shortcoming. They’re still lies; and the more we resort to such lies, the inured to lies we become. At other times the lies people embrace are large and very consequential – Nazism, Marxism, Jim Crow, secularism.
As in David’s day, we see the presence of the lie on every hand; we know, work with, and live alongside people who are prisoners of the lie. They seem happy enough, and they aren’t bothering anyone else. But they live in the fear of death; true happiness eludes them; an air of uncertainty hovers about them; and there is a disquiet in their souls that leaves them with the haunting feeling they’re missing something in life.
We know this, because the truth of God in Scripture tells us it is so, and we know it because we too struggle to stay clear of the slippery slopes of the lie. We will not be able to help other people until we first are able to recognize the various forms the lie takes in our lives and our day.
Forms of the lie
The forms of the lie are many, and all linked in one grand conspiracy to resist and, if possible, overthrow the rule of King Jesus. Obvious manifestations of the lie include the various false religions of the world, including liberal Christianity in all its forms and certain expressions of evangelicalism. These can make legitimate claims of having insight to truth; but each of them as an overall system ignores the glory of God and denies or diminishes the work of Jesus Christ, Who alone is truth.
The lie may capture us in more subtle ways. It may take the form of materialism, the pursuit of things and experiences as the true measure of happiness. Or people who have capitulated to the lie may be committed to pragmatism, to a view of life that is relativistic and utilitarian. They may have begun to put more trust in politics and government than anything else, or to believe the lie in the form of evolution as an explanation for life and the cosmos. Perhaps they have resigned themselves to some absurdist view of life – that life has no meaning and purpose, but that we must soldier on anyway. Or they may be captive to some form of “near Christianity” which is keeping them from the righteousness, peace, and joy of the Kingdom of God.
In all these ways and more the promulgator of the lie is prowling about and spreading his message throughout our society, titillating the desire for sovereignty in our peers and luring them away from the truth that is in Jesus. He is especially intent on flooding the Church with lies, so that we cannot pursue or enjoy the truth that is in Jesus Christ (Rev. 12.13-15).
Unmasking the lie
We must study to understand and unmask the various forms of the lie, and to help people find their way out of the prison house and death grip of the lie by embracing the truth that is in Jesus.
It is not loving to go about our business indifferent to the plight of people who live foolish, deceived, and doomed lives. We must, like the sons of Issachar, understand the times in which we live and the various manifestations of the lie (1 Chron. 12.32), so that we may reach out with confidence and love to the prisoners of the devil with whom we consort every day.
And we must, as the apostle Paul commanded, become able students of God’s Word (2 Tim. 2.15), so that we can wield the Sword of the Spirit against the sin-blinded perspectives, reasons, and justifications of those who can resist everything but the Spirit of God in their desperate attempts to preserve their presumed autonomy (Ps. 149; Jn. 6.63).
The love of Christ requires that we immerse ourselves more fully in the truth, live it out in every area of our lives – thus demonstrating the hope we have in Jesus – and then be ready to explain ourselves and the truth of Christ to everyone who will listen (1 Pet. 3.15).
In an age when lies abound on every hand, and everyone seeks only what is good in his or her own eye, Christians must shelter in the Word of God, rejoicing in the truth, and proclaiming the truth that is in Jesus at every opportunity, to all who will listen. God intends to stop the mouths of those who traffic in lies, so that the truth of Jesus may abound and bless. And we have a role in this, each of us in our own callings. We must adopt a stance toward the lie which says, as Solzhenitsyn did with respect to the Marxist encroachment on all of life, “Let that come, if it must come, only not by me!”
The first step is to recognize the lie and to fortify ourselves with the truth that we may resist the devil and send him scurrying. The next step is then to stand up to the lie at every opportunity, winsomely but firmly, by our lives and words and in the power of God’s truth. Let God be true, and let us make sure we stand with Him for the truth that is in Jesus Christ for all of life.
1. What is your responsibility in preparing to unmask the lie? How can you prepare yourself to be more consistent and effective in this?
2. Is your present approach to reading and studying Scripture sufficient to help you deal with the lie in its contemporary forms? Why or why not?
3. What are some ways Christians can work together to unmask the lie and advance the truth?
Next steps – Transformation: Find a prayer partner who will pray with you about becoming a more consistent and effective witness to those who are trapped in the lie in your sphere of influence.
T. M. Moore
You can download all the studies in this series, “Let God Be True,” by clicking here.
The devil is wily, and we must be cautious and always ready to resist him. Our book, Satan Bound, can help you understand his workings and rest in the sovereign control of Jesus over the devil and all things. Order your free copy by clicking here.
Please prayerfully consider supporting The Fellowship of Ailbe with your prayers and gifts. We ask the Lord to move and enable many more of our readers to provide for the needs of our ministry. Please seek Him in prayer concerning your part in supporting our work. You can contribute online, via PayPal or Anedot, or by sending a gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 360 Zephyr Road, Williston, VT 05495.
Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.