“Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God” (Hebrews 10:7)
LIAR-LIAR, PANTS ON FIRE
When I was young, we played many games. If you were caught in a lie or cheating, we would yell out, “Liar-Liar, Pants on Fire, Nose as Long as a Telephone wire!” The Castaways recorded Liar-Liar – in 1965. When I think about the global depravity, this song should be the New World Order Anthem.
People today never lie; they miss-remembered or miss-spoked. Never an apology or a correction to the record. With the damage done, lives ruined, the news cycle marches on.
“But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath. But let your “Yes” be “Yes,” and your “No,” “No,” lest you fall into judgment.”
Half of the truth is the worst part of the lie. The problem with half-truths is that when we believe them, we receive the consequences of that decision. Half-truths are enticing, pleasant, and the more natural path to take. Satan told Eve half of God’s truth, deceiving her into partaking of the fruit of the tree. That decision resulted in the fall of man and the curses pronounced upon Satan, Adam, and Eve. Everyone today is experiencing the ramifications of their decision, each day we live on earth.
Satan later tried this deception on Jesus in the wilderness, but Jesus wisely used the WORD to overcome the temptations. Jesus replies to every lie by speaking the Word of Truth; “For it is written . . . Worship the Lord thy God” (Matthew 4:10).
I think Alice-in-Wonderland said, “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.” I am sure she was referring to the rabbit hole roads in her fairy tale. Maybe this is what people are miss quoting when they say, “All roads lead to Heaven.” It is vital to understand what happens with this kind of Half-Truth-Thinking.
Satan’s greatest weapon is man’s ignorance of God’s Word! Additionally, half of the truth is the worst part of the lie. With every temptation, there is a lie involved. (1) The Prove It Lie, (2) The “For It Is Written” Lie, and (3) The Short Cut Lie. The devil deceived Eve in the garden with these lies while Jesus was victorious in the wilderness.
The temptation is familiar to us all. We will face it for the rest of our lives. There is no escape other than through Jesus. Spiritual maturity only causes Satan to increase pressure. The devil attacks us in all areas of our life, trying to deceive us and draw us away from our walk with God. The Word of God helps us to overcome the things of this world.
The devil tempts us in these three areas:
“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
Understand, these lies are to tempt us to deny our Christ. But know that what comes out of the mouth of God is the number one priority in life. Speaking His TRUTH will protect our lives and bring glory to Him. Life should be about uninterrupted fellowship with God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Falling for lies, consumed by the things of this world, will not fulfill God’s purpose for our lives.
Matthew gives an account of the Temptation of Jesus in the wilderness. In using the SHORT CUT LIE, Satan’s offer was that he would give Jesus all the kingdoms of the world if He would bow down to him. Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve’” (Matthew 4:10).
Jesus had come to save the world and to repurchase it from the grip and control of Satan. But it would take a horrible death on the Cross to accomplish that. Satan was essentially offering Jesus a shortcut. “You don’t have to suffer and go to the cross just compromise, and I’ll give you everything right now,” Jesus responded in each case by quoting scripture and by resisting the temptation.
We cast the final vote to sin or not to sin. No one can throw it for us-regardless of the pressures we may be facing.
God does promise to deliver us when tempted. However, He does not guarantee that trials will no longer be part of our life. Satan knows our areas of weakness. If we have fallen in one area before, rest assured that he will come at us again from the same angle. Jesus encourages us: “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life” (Revelation 2:10).
Our best example of how to resist temptation is how Jesus endured the enemy. After fasting forty days and forty nights, Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil, and He answered every temptation of Satan with the Word. David wrote, “Your word I have hidden in my heart that I might not sin against You” (Psalm 119:11).
Strength in overcoming the wicked one comes through the Word of God. And then, our victory is through prayer. Paul says, “praying with all prayer and the Word along with supplication in the Spirit…” (Ephesians 6:13-18). Again, the real power against the enemy and the world is prayer and supplication (petition) in the Spirit. As you stand in the name of Jesus, you will come to know, through God’s Word and in prayer, the power and the victory over the temptation that is trying to pull you down into a pit. James exhorts us, “Therefore, submit to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).
JESUS WAS TEMPTED THREE TIMES
These three sins, “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life,” are depicted in Jesus’ own temptation in the wilderness in Matthew 4:1, as well. Here, Jesus was tempted to sin against God by pursuing worldly things rather than God. He was tempted by His physical needs, the lust of the flesh, when He was tempted to turn the stones into bread.
Next, Jesus was tempted to do something spectacular by throwing Himself off the temple and having His angels recue Him, the lust of the eyes.
Finally, Jesus was tempted to receive all the kingdoms of the world if He worshiped Satan; this is idol worship and the pride of life (See Matthew 4:1).
THE THREE LIES THAT DID NOT STUMBLE JESUS
THE PROVE IT LIE: Here in Matthew 4:1-11, we see the account of Jesus’ temptation by Satan. The first temptation from Satan suggested that “If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread” (v.3). This lie was the temptation to allow the flesh to rule over the Spirit.
But He answered and said, “It is written, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (v.4).
THE “FOR IT IS WRITTEN” LIE: The second temptation was when Satan took Him up to the pinnacle of the temple and was told to throw Himself down and let the angels save Him. Here Satan took a verse out of context and tried to get Jesus to test God inappropriately.
Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the LORD your God” (v.7).
THE SHORT CUT LIE: The third temptation Satan offered was that he would give Jesus all the kingdoms of the world if He would bow down to him.
Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve’” (v.10).
Jesus refused the devil’s temptations because God sent Him to fulfill His purpose. But it would take a horrible death on the Cross to accomplish that. Satan was essentially offering Jesus a shortcut to fulfilling His mission. “You don’t have to suffer and go to the Cross, just compromise, and I’ll give you everything right now!”
Jesus responded in each case resisting the temptation using the Word of God. Jesus was to be obedient to God’s will and buying into Satan’s short cut lie would defeat His plan of salvation. Nothing but the Cross could save humanity. Short cut lies present themselves to Believers in this world; however, ask: “What would Jesus do?”
Praying and speaking scripture are two of your most potent weapons.
Since we are to be doers of the Word and not hearers only, now’s a proper time to put into practice the teaching of Christ. Let us not make the mistakes. Eve did in the Garden. Best to respond to our temptations as Jesus did. Remember, we have put on the mind of Christ, so we should think, act, and answer the same way Jesus does.
The following are a few lies that we meet during our lifetime. I will start us off, but I encourage you to continue with your list. Only you and God knows what temptations you face.
THE LIE: The devil tricked me, and so I did it.
IT IS WRITTEN: “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded” (James 4:7-8).
IT IS WRITTEN: “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).
IT IS WRITTEN: “We know that whoever is born of God does not sin, but he who has been born of God keeps himself, and the wicked one does not touch him” (1 John 5:18).
IT IS WRITTEN: “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11).
THE LIE: I will never change.
IT IS WRITTEN: “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31-32).
THE LIE: I do not have the strength to do what is right.
IT IS WRITTEN: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).
IT IS WRITTEN: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
THE LIE: This trial will never end.
IT IS WRITTEN: “There has no temptation taken you, but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).
IT IS WRITTEN: “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:6-7).
THE LIE: My friends are not going to influence me because I am strong enough to handle it.
IT IS WRITTEN: “He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed” (Proverbs 13:20).
IT IS WRITTEN: “For a righteous man may fall seven times and rise again, but the wicked shall fall by calamity” (Proverbs 24:16).
THE LIE: I do not have enough faith.
IT IS WRITTEN: “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17).
IT IS WRITTEN: “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:1-2).
IT IS WRITTEN: “REACHING forth unto those things which are BEFORE, I PRESS TOWARD THE MARK FOR THE PRIZE OF THE HIGH CALLING OF GOD IN CHRIST JESUS…,” (Philippians 3:7-14).
“For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us. Now he which established us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God, who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts” (1 Corinthians 1:20-22).
“So, shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11).
“Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: That by two immutable things, in which God couldn’t lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us” (Hebrews 6:17-18).
Lord, help me to learn this lesson – to know how weak I am, and to say so, so that any good thing I do may reflect glory to you. Teach me how to use Your Word and be like David – ready to do battle in one moment and to sing Your praises in the next. I offer this prayer through Jesus Christ, and in His name. Amen.