Followers of Jesus are to live differently. We are to pursue holiness, love others, make disciples, and more. Probably the attribute that should best describe us is that we admit we frequently fall short in all of the above areas. Fortunately, Jesus loves and forgives us, despite our misdeeds. The bad news is our enemy seeks to capitalize on our failures and twist them into lies to permeate our psyche. But we don’t have to live that way. Don’t buy the lie.
When it comes to being a disciple of Jesus and fulfilling Jesus’ commands to make disciples, are you ever plagued with any of the following thoughts?
- You don’t know enough.
- You’re not as smart as ___________.
- You’re not a people person.
- You don’t have time to spend with God.
- You don’t have time to invest in people.
- If you fail, God will stop loving you.
- God is disappointed he made you.
- God is mad at you.
- It’s OK to ignore your family to make disciples.
- It’s OK to ignore your health to make disciples.
- Rest is a misuse of time.
- The Bible is too confusing—don’t bother reading it.
A proper response to each of the above would require a book (perhaps a future project?). Let me offer a quick thought on each and invite you to CONTACT ME if you have questions or want to discuss a specific lie.
You don’t know enough.
You will never know all there is to know. Nobody does. Study, learn, and ask questions for the rest of your life. When asked a question and you don’t know the answer, say, “Great question! I don’t have an answer, but why don’t we both do some research and meet next week to review what we learned.”
You’re not as smart as ___________.
Here’s the reality: there will always be someone smarter than you (and more talented, better looking, in better shape, funnier, more caring, etc.). God has placed you into the world at this time in history, in your family, where you live, etc. for a reason. Trust God, and do your best. Stop trying to be perfect. You’re not.
You’re not a people person.
That’s OK. You’re still called to love others and make disciples. You may not host a lot of parties, but meet others for coffee, set up a video chat, invite those you disciple over for dinner. Build-in some rest time before and after to help you be as effective as possible and to recover.
You don’t have time to spend with God.
You may be looking at things incorrectly. If you had the opportunity to meet one of your heroes, you would make time. If a team or artist or intellectual you admire has an event, you’ll figure out a way to go. You don’t have time to do a lot of things, but you prioritize them.
You don’t have time to invest in people.
Similar to the reply above, decide what matters most. If making disciples (investing in others) has value, put that on your calendar and take something else off.
If you fail, God will stop loving you.
This lie is straight from the pit of hell. Satan is a thief (Jn 10:10), an accuser (Rev 12:10), and a liar (Jn 8:44). He wants you to doubt God’s love. God says nothing will prevent him from loving you (Rom 8:38-39). Christ came to earth while we were sinners (Rom 5:8), not after we cleaned ourselves up.
God is disappointed he made you.
God loves you and made you unique. There is no one else just like you. You are one of God’s masterpieces.
God is mad at you.
God may discipline you, but that’s because he loves you. He is your heavenly father who will never leave you or forsake you (Heb 13:5).
It’s OK to ignore your family to make disciples.
Focus on loving and serving your family first. It is unhealthy to help the world but ignore your family. Focus on your family.
It’s OK to ignore your health to make disciples.
You cannot function at optimal capacity if you are physically or mentally unhealthy. Eat well, rest, exercise, sleep, and seek to resolve conflicts.
Rest is a misuse of time.
The Sabbath is God’s gift to us (Mk 2:27). Even our phones and computers operate better when we restart them. Give your mind and body rest.
The Bible is too confusing—don’t bother reading it.
There are challenging portions, but the Bible’s overall story arch is simple: God loves you, is with you, and invites you to follow him. Use resources to help you with the hard parts, and if you don’t like to read, listen to the Bible.
My Bottom Line Bible summarizes every Bible chapter, includes a devotional, and will read the Bible text to you.
Don’t buy the lie. Trust Jesus, instead. Jesus models the heart of God when he responds to Peter after Peter denied him three times. He invited him to feed his sheep (equip them to feed themselves…or “make disciples”) and to follow him (Jn 21). At this moment, God extends his hand to you and invites you to follow him. Take that, devil!
Note: The post “Lies Pastors Believe,” by J.R. Briggs, inspired this article.
QUESTION (leave a comment below)
What other lies debilitate people?