Some days, I talk to so many people, I could not begin to tell you or remember myself. I am sure you are the same way on any given day. Some conversations are just a few words; others are paragraphs, and others maybe hours long. It just depends on our time, the circumstances, and the choices we make; those dialogues whether short or long can impact us greatly. A few words “fitly spoken” (as the Bible puts it) can be like apples of gold; they can set us on track for a day that is terrific or tumultuous. Conversations can build and encourage or wreck and destroy.
Many times, I have shared the conversations of my childhood and how tormenting they have been in my head and heart. Those foul lies carved canyons of pain through the bedrock of my soul. It was not the people that meant to cause the hurt; it was the devil and his desire to permanently alter who God had intended me to be. Satan’s desire was for me to live in shadowed gullies of guilt and ravines of refuse. I had believed those lies far too long; I lived without inner joy.
As we were studying Genesis 3 in a recent Bible study, my friend, Donna, taught about Eve “dialoguing with Satan”. Eve’s doubts grew larger and larger until what she believed caused her to act out the lie she was caught up in. From that study, the Holy Spirit took those thoughts and expounded upon them until I was overflowing with truth. I had only known in word, but not in the “love that surpasses knowledge” part that grips your innermost being and rocks your world permanently. It happens when Buddy teaches or at times when I’m listening to my iPod—the Holy Spirit catapults me beyond what is said to what God wants me to know.
I am sure it is the way I was created—I have to tell the wonderful things I find, see, or am blessed with. I can’t help it! So here it goes, I must share it with you…it’s been brewing in my heart for weeks. I pray this is the time to share it, and that the Holy Spirit would have it resonate deeply within your core, that it will ring forth with truth, and that it will shake your world and clang the truth so loudly from the tower of influence you have been placed that everyone you know will know it too. It has been hidden far too long; we have been deceived for too many decades.
In the story of Genesis 3, Satan comes to Eve and speaks in such a way that causes Eve to doubt God’s goodness. Satan “acts” like he cares more for her than God did. Eve hears Satan say that she can be like God, which is a great desire, but how she goes about it shows what she really believes: she has to get it on her own—she has to figure out how to get what she wants—God won’t give it to her; she has to solve her own problems. That was a lie. The truth is, God had already made her in His image; she just wasn’t living in the truth of her own identity. So she jumped ahead to her own solutions—never even asking God what He said or what He wanted her to know! She ate the fruit. She thought she had successfully dealt with her problem, but the real problem wasn’t eating the fruit, it was doubting God and not talking it over with Him but “solving” it on her own. The mess was catastrophic. Sound like anything you do? Yeah, me too.
Sometimes, when I see or feel a problem, I then listen to Satan whisper doubts about God’s caring, providing, protecting, or loving me. I subconsciously talk it over with Satan – unaware that it’s his voice of fake care that I hear. Then I, like Eve, jump to my own solutions and make a bigger mess of it. It affects me, those around me, and for that matter all those who will come after me. It’s much easier to see the lies in Eve’s situation than in my own. I hear her wrong dialogue, yet sometimes I don’t hear my own. I get caught up in it all never realizing I shouldn’t even talk to him in the first place! He is a master at this—Jesus referred to him as the Father of lies. So what do you do?
What did Jesus do? Lets look to where He deals with Satan himself. Matthew 3 ends with this: “This is my Son, chosen and marked by my love, delight of my life.” (The Message) This is what God spoke it was His true identity. Next chapter is Matthew 4, the next thing that happens, Jesus is taken to the wilderness to face the temptation of Satan. Does Jesus doubt God or dialogue with Satan?
No, look what He does. Satan says three times “if you are the son of God, then…” His first attempt is to get Jesus to doubt His own identity. If he gets Him snagged there, then there’s no need for any further discussion. He would win. But Jesus is not snookered, He does not dialogue with the devil— instead Jesus chooses to dialogue with Deity and said what God said—He quoted God. Satan continues trying to get Jesus to doubt; he questions God’s provision—then offers his own solution, “Turn these rocks into bread.” He tries to get Jesus to question God’s protection; he tries to make Jesus doubt if God really will protect Him, Satan’s solution— “Jump off here and the angels will protect you.” Satan twists the truth casting shadows on the character of God. Jesus still doesn’t waver. So, once more Satan comes at Him to question God’s position “fall down and worship me and I will give you…” These lies are woven together so tightly they blend to fabricate lies so close to truth it is hard to separate. Jesus has no trouble, unlike Eve, He always and only did the will of the Father—He never jumped to any solutions of His own or came to the wrong conclusions of His Father’s character.
We, on the other hand, can be clueless and wonder why we are in such a mess. We dialogue away with the devil, digging ourselves deeper and deeper into the pit where Satan has lured us. He gets us on his turf of slime, and we are stuck in the quagmire. We have such problems with our identity that we usually are sidelined and out of the game right there.
If we somehow pull ourselves together enough to remember there is a game again, the devil causes us to doubt God’s provision. So we run ahead and try to provide for ourselves, which only results in trouble and plenty of it. Weaving along in with provision there is another thread of doubt: it’s the doubt of believing God’s protection and all that goes with that—fear, worry, stress, anxiety the whole range of emotions —we try to solve it with all sorts of distorted ways out.
The next thread he tried there in the wilderness was position. Whom do we bow before, whom or what are we worshipping? We bow ourselves to what others think of us and not see it is only God to Whom we answer; it only His opinion that ultimately matters. It is why the Lord said not to have any gods before Him –He knew it would only ruin us. When we please Him, and do His will, He gives us grace and strength to face giants, or He makes even our enemies to be at peace with us. We do not have to exalt ourselves or worry if we are heard or noticed, if we are recognized or valued and all the lies stuck to that way of thinking.
What if of all the conversations we had with people we became most aware of the conversations that were really with the culprit of lies, our dialogue with the devil. And what if we became committed to not talking with him? That every time his breath came our way we could smell the pollution, and our solution was what God meant for us to do—not talk to the devil but dialogue with Deity! When doubts of provision, protection, or position drifted our way, we would ask, “God what do You want us to know?” Imagine the difference it would have made for Eve. Imagine the difference it would make with us. Chatter matters—what you believe affects how you behave.