Thursday, June 30, 2011

To Tell You The Truth...

Jane’s mother had died from Alzheimer’s 5 years ago. It was one of the hardest times of Jane’s life. She took care of her mother every day until she died, and as each day passed, her mother’s forgetfulness became progressively worse. First, it was forgetting to pay the bills or forgetting where she put this or that. Then, she began to forget the name of her dog. And slowly after that, she began to forget the names of her grandchildren, one by one. Eventually, she couldn’t even remember that she had a dog or any grandchildren. Every day she saw them they were foreign to her, as if she had just met them.

Then, what Jane feared came to be. Her mother forgot her name. Her own mother did not ever remember that her first and only daughter’s name was Jane. Every day, it kept getting worse, and every day, Jane became more and more heartbroken. After her mother died, Jane decided that if she ever personally had Alzheimer’s, she wouldn’t want to live anymore because she couldn’t bear to hurt the people around her like her mother had unwillingly done.

A few months ago, Jane began to notice that she was becoming increasingly forgetful. Of course Alzheimer’s had crossed her mind since it was hereditary, but she didn’t consider it as a possibility because she was so young. I mean really, she was only 55, a slim chance for Alzheimer’s.

As the months continued to pass by, Jane’s forgetfulness became even worse. However, Jane just blamed it on the fact that she was getting old since she had already blocked the possibility of Alzheimer’s out of her mind. There was truthfully a great possibility that it was just an old age thing, and Jane chose to believe such.

But Jane’s children became increasingly worried about their mother’s forgetfulness, so they took her to the doctor. All of the doctor’s tests revealed that Jane did in fact have Alzheimer’s. This was devastating news to her children, but they didn’t want to tell their mother that she had this crippling disease because of what she had said years before after grandma had passed away- she wouldn’t want to live if she ended up with the same disease.

So the children decided to hide this from their mother. After all, they didn’t want to make her depressed for the remainder of her life. They loved her, and wanted her to be happy.

Just two months later during the annual family Fourth of July gathering, all three of Jane’s children became involved in a heated argument in which the news slipped out that their mother had Alzheimer’s. Jane was absolutely devastated (and seriously, way to ruin a fun celebration). She couldn’t believe that they had decided to keep this from her. She was so upset that her children had chosen to lie to her like this.

Wouldn’t you be devastated if this happened to you?
Think about this. Really, think about this. Take a few minutes and think about this. How would you feel if you found out that you were living a lie? That you were suffering from a disease that you couldn’t cure and that you didn’t know about until it was too late? Wouldn’t you want to know the truth, even though it would be incredibly hard to swallow? Even if you might be mad about it for a little while?

Well, to tell you the truth, that’s what’s happening to you right now.

Someone is lying to you about everything. Absolutely everything. You’re living a life where you’re believing lies.

That person is Satan.

Yes, he is alive and real. And yes, I know we don’t like to think about him. He’s a scary monster full of evil. If we don’t think about him or talk about him, then he won’t seem as real and scary, right? And then we can go on believing that we’re safe and that everything’s going to be alright- Full of ponies and pots of gold with rainbows!

True. But not believing in something doesn’t make it any less real. Let’s say that we’re going on a hike in the mountains, and I tell you that there’s a bear right behind you. I tell you that I’m pretty sure it wants the food you have in your backpack. However, you choose not to believe me because you don’t like to think that there’s a big scary bear behind you, about to eat your backpack along with your body if you don’t give it your food. In anguish, I keep telling you that this is absolutely true, but you continue to ignore me because you don’t want to believe me.  In the end, the bear eats you and your food.

You see, Satan is that bear. He’s behind you, waiting for the right moment to attack you and make you feel terrible about your life. As a matter of fact, he wants to attack you and he wants to see you feeling miserable, and the way he can do this is to make you believe that all of these lies are true.

Satan is just as real as the couch you’re sitting on, and the lies he’s telling you are as real as he is. My friend once mentioned something to me about this chart she has in her Bible about Satan’s deceiving plan for our lives, and it’s such an eye opening guide to the lies in our lives. The four D’s of Satan’s plan include:

1.     Doubt- part of Satan’s plan is to make us question God’s word and His goodness. He makes us believe that God is the one who’s responsible for all of our suffering and bad luck, which isn’t true. Satan makes it look like God is to blame.
2.     Discouragement/ Defeat- another part of Satan’s clever plan is to discourage us and to make us feel like we can’t do anything right. This results in us looking at our problems and believing that we are failures, when the truth is that God has confidence in us and He plans to use us for great things according to His glory. Satan knows that we have great potential, but he makes us believe that we don’t, resulting in a feeling of defeat and worthlesness. This makes it hard for God to use us for great things when we can’t even believe in ourselves.
3.     Diversion- this is also a part of Satan’s plan. With diversion, Satan makes us think that what’s wrong is actually right. This makes us constantly stray from God’s plan for us and impedes on the work that God is doing.
4.     Delay- the last part of Satan’s plan is to delay us from doing the work that God has planned for us to do. This is otherwise known as the ever-popular procrastination method. When we waste our time, we then have less time to do God’s work, which again impedes on the work that God is doing.

I’m sure you’ve seen this master plan of defeat carried out in your lives before. As a matter of fact, you’ve probably seen this destructive plan carried out every day. I remember many times in my life where these lies have existed for very long periods of time. For me, I can remember struggling with discouragement and defeat a lot. Just this past winter, I was going over a Baptism guide with my friend Lauren. I told her that I had tried to go through it the night before, but had just quit and come to the conclusion that I didn’t feel worthy of being baptized. I felt like there had to be something in the Bible that said, “you must be baptized,” or else I wasn’t going to do it. I ended up mentioning a few other ways in which I felt worthless and defeated, which included feeling like I was annoying and unwanted. After this, she proceeded to show me Ephesians 1:3-14, which says:

             3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, 9 he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.
             11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.

After reading this, I literally felt like God was speaking directly to me. The cool part about it was that Lauren wasn’t trying to make me feel better about myself or anything, she was instead presenting the truth to me in an effort to make me realize all of the lies I’d been believing, and it totally worked. This passage is still one of my favorite passages because I really feel that through this, God is directly speaking to everyone on earth. He is saying, “Listen to me. You’ve been believing a bunch of lies that have been hurting you for so long, and I want you to know that all of those lies are fake. It’s true- I do actually love you, more than you will ever know, and I have confidence that you can do absolutely anything. You have great potential, and I already delight in who you are in me. You are not worthless, you’re my child, and I think you are wonderful.”

Does this make sense? I really hope it does, because I know it’s true. I want all of you to realize that Satan hates you and that he is very active in your life, but that God loves you more than anything and that he happens to be 10,000,000,000,000 times more powerful than Satan.

And that is the reality. The scary, eye opening, and true reality. Satan is attacking you, and he has power, but always know that God's truth has ten million times more power than Satan ever could. 

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