How To Beat The Oldest Trick In The Book.
Here’s some juicy “tricks” or lies that all of us can learn to wisely reject:
- “I need to do something in order to earn a gift from God.”
- “I have to perform for the promise.”
- “I have to make this happen for myself, otherwise no one else will look out for my best interests.”
Sounds an awful lot like orphan thinking at it’s finest.
We can’t forget that the orphanic nature began in the heart of Lucifer when he rebelled against God. Lucifer thought he needed to reach out and take something (God’s throne) that he felt entitled to, instead of trusting in God’s goodness.
As terrible of a pitfall as these lies are, they are WAY too easy to fall into!
- Adam fell for it. Adam was a beloved son of God. He didn’t need to perform for anything. Unfortunate for him and for us, he gave in and did the “performance dance.” Falling for this lie brought about cosmic damage and the entrance of sin into our world. Jesus, the second Adam, had to come and sacrificially overturn the effects of the first Adam’s downfall.
It's amazing when we realize that temptation is less of a test of our willpower or more of a test of our relational trust towards God.
Here's a powerful description from author Kris Vallotton describing this process from his book “Fashioned to Reign”:
(Context: Satan tempting Adam and Eve in the garden to reach out and make something happen instead of trusting that God already had their best in mind.)
“We received through creation what the devil was striving for through self-promotion, jealousy and arrogance. The serpent was trying to get them to perform for what they already had! The moment they ate the fruit, religion came into the world.”
“The simple truth is that religion has more rules than God has. When we leave an intimate relationship with Jesus, we begin the downward spiral into escalating rules that lead to increased guilt. Most of us respond to this condemnation by working harder to feel better about ourselves. This becomes a cruel hamster wheel and an evil ecosystem that can only be broken through the power of the cross.”
- Abraham fell for it. This lie brought major hostility and conflict in Abraham’s family and we are still reaping the fruit of his decision with conflict throughout the Middle East. Any time we perform for a promise we are in danger of giving birth to a premature child. And preemie’s often cost twice as much to raise!
In Abraham’s case the premature action resulted in the birth of Ishmael, the son of “performance” instead of Isaac, the son of “promise.”
In our lives, premature, fear-based action on God-given dreams can happen more than we like to admit it.
I’ve done this with launching ministry ideas too soon, hiring the wrong person for a position out of desperation, saying something to impress someone only to uncover someone else in the process…all pretty ugly when you look back on it.
With the new Jurassic Park movie out, it’s the perfect time for us to glean some wisdom from a line in the original movie, “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.”
Our gifts, abilities and ambition can create things God never called for.
If the devil can’t get us to be BAD, he’ll settle for us being BUSY...busily trying to grab, scrap, or claw our way to something God has already set aside for us in His timing.
Our enemy tries to make us believe that God is keeping things FROM us when He is really keeping things FOR us.
- Satan even tried it out on Jesus in the wilderness! (Luke 4) “If you are the Son of God you should prove it by…”
I’ve definitely believed this lie many times over and there’s a good chance you have as well.
Just like bank tellers who train themselves to spot counterfeit money by working with the real thing, we can learn to quickly discern truth from lies.
We learn to do this not by mastering our enemy’s playbook, but by repeated exposure to our Father’s heart.
Here’s a truth that helps me slay those insidious lies all the time. When I hear the lie, I practice some “spiritual judo” with this truth:
“God has more for me than anyone could ever offer me and no one can take it away.“
We don’t need to fight others for our fair share of promise, favor or blessing.
God has more than enough sovereignly set aside for us.
Envy is the proof that we have not embraced our personal distinction or unique identity in God’s family.
We often give Adam and Abraham a bum rap for their falling for the oldest trick in the book. Yet, each of us have the opportunity every single day to avoid the very same pitfall.
- Let God’s Word speak truth to your heart and renew your mind this week.
- Practice some “spiritual judo” when you are tempted to believe a lie.
- Surround yourself with people who continue to draw out your redemptive potential.
You and I can learn to continually overcome the oldest lie in the book!
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