Did you know that if you say “green beans” very slowly it sounds like “gullible?”
Okay, so that’s not exactly true, even though it can be a little funny if someone falls for it. To some people it’s obviously false, but others just have to try to it to know for themselves. If they do, they quickly realize the trick and, though perhaps feeling a bit foolish, laugh along with no real harm done.
If only deception in life were so easily detected and easily overcome.
WHAT’S THE HARM?
Unfortunately, as we talked about last week, it can be pretty easy for us to slip into passive living, to let our guard down, to fall for a slick deception, and slide down a path that leaves us feeling exhausted, discouraged, and ultimately experiencing quite the opposite of the freedom Jesus promised.
If we truly want to walk in freedom and victory in our lives, we need to take some time to consider the process of believing something. If we know this process, we can begin to put it to work in our favor, making truth a priority in our hearts and lives. But if we don’t understand how we fall for the lies in our lives, then we’ll not be able to take the steps necessary to break free of those lies for the sake of truth and freedom.
The biggest reason we fall for deception is that we, by default, tend to operate under the philosophy of “what’s the harm?” This leads us to making decisions in the heat of the moment based on common sense and instant gratification. And as much as we’d like to think our intellect is healthy and our impulses harmless, that is rarely the case.
Let’s look for a moment at what David had to stay about this mentality.
“Blessed is the one who does not
WALK = the way you live your life
IN STEP (counsel) = way of thinking
WICKED = godless
This first person David describes could easily be defined as someone who lives by the question “what’s the harm?” This is a person who lives their life passively and does what makes sense based on their circumstances and the influence of the people around them. People who are godless. This doesn’t mean that they hate God; they simply don’t factor Him or His truth into their decisions.
And when we live our lives according to common sense, following advice of people who don’t know God, it takes us somewhere:
STAND = more intentional
WAY = where they are found
SINNERS = people actively choosing to sin
Walking is somewhat passive. You’re moving along with everyone else, going with the flow. But standing means taking notice. Stopping, looking around. It’s more intentional. This is a person who has been going with the flow and now is stopping to take notice and engage in the culture around them. And this culture is not the people who don’t know God, but rather, people who are actively choosing a sinful lifestyle. It’s easy to find yourself in the place where sinners are when you’ve been living according to the philosophy of those who don’t know God.
SITS = identifying with
SEAT = going to where they are
MOCKERS = hate God
This is where a person begins to make themselves comfortable. Sure beats standing, right? But look at where they are now – they’re not just sitting anywhere, but actively going to where “mockers” are. And what kind of people are mockers? They are people who hate God. It’s in the way they act, the way they think, the way they talk.
This is a person who likely did not intend to end up here. How did it happen? Slowly, subtly. Deceptively. And it started with not paying attention to the way they chose to live their life and the counsel that directed their choices.
HOW TO BELIEVE ANYTHING
STEP 1: LISTEN
Do you know that there's a difference between hearing and listening? Listening is intentional. It’s when you’re engaged, paying attention to what’s being said. It’s the difference between two students in a class room who, at the end of the day, leave with two completely different takeaways. One is confused, one is inspired. And it’s because one was paying attention, and one was only physically present.
Because deception is all around us, because it’s the rule and not the exception, it’s crucial that we learn to pay attention to what we’re thinking about. What we’re thinking about indicates what we’ve been listening to. Ironically, though, listening to lies in this sense can even happen passively, because the real effort required is in choosing to listen to the truth instead.
We see this in the story of David & Bathsheba, which we discussed last week. Many people think David’s first mistake was in lingering and looking at Bathsheba, but I believe the first mistake David made was in not fulfilling his responsibility to lead his army in war. David wasn’t where he was supposed to be, so he saw what he wasn’t supposed to see, and did what he wasn’t supposed to do.
This is why we need to look at what’s right with our decisions, rather than what’s wrong with them. By believing it was his right to enjoy himself, or by believing he deserved a break, or maybe by believing he’d just join them later and it wasn’t a big deal, David made one small compromise, and that compromise led to some pretty huge repercussions later, including multiple deaths. Each step you make, each decision you make, is crucial. And it all starts with what you choose to listen to: you or God.
step 2: dwell
Once we reach this point, it’s extremely hard to back-peddle our way out. Remember how the lies get their power? From us. And if we’re dwelling on the lies, it’s because we’re trying to find a way to believe them. And we will – we’re really quite good at it.
In contrast to dwelling on lies, scripture directs us to dwell on truth.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true,
whatever is noble, whatever is right,
whatever is pure, whatever is lovely,
whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent
or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Submit yourselves, then, to God.
Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
If we, instead, dwell on the truth and focus on Christ, then the lies of the devil will have no power over us. The trick in this is to know the truth. If we are not listening to the truth, we will not be able to dwell on the truth. Again, we see the importance of being proactive and thinking ahead. If we want to have the victory later, we need to prepare now. As we choose to listen to and dwell on the truth now, it will equip us to recognize and reject the lies when they come to us. But if we do not plan ahead, we will fail.
STEP 3: BELIEVE
We can only listen to and dwell on something for so long before we believe it, and this is true both ways. You can only dwell on the truth so long before it takes root in your heart, and you can only dwell on a lie so long before it begins to dig deep and create problems. And, by the way, lies and truth are mutually exclusive. When we believe a lie, we are rejecting the truth. If we want to be immune to lies, the solution is found in believing the truth.
step 4: act
Belief always results in action. We can say we believe the truth all we want, but the evidence of our belief will be found in our actions. When we believe a lie, the result is sinful behavior, which leads to bondage. When we believe the truth, the result is godly behavior, which leads to freedom.
Therefore, every area of bondage in our lives can be traced back to a lie.
WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE?
This week I want to challenge you to take some time to seek God and ask Him to open your eyes to see any areas of bondage (sinful behaviors) in your life, and ask Him to reveal what lies you may have been listening to and believing that brought you to this point.
Next time we’ll look at how to figure out the lies at the root of our bondage and how to replace them with God’s truth. Then the real fun begins as we will begin to look at the most common lies we believe and the truth that we need to know so that we can find freedom.
Lies Women Believe & The Truth That Sets Them Free by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth.
You can purchase the book and accompanying study guide here.
In a word: passionate.
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iced skinny soy mochas.