The apostle Paul wrote:
“For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.” 2 Timothy 4:3-4
We are all susceptible to believing lies at any given time. The world is magical at presenting its counterfeit products as the genuine article. One would assume that because Christians are followers of the Truth, that we would be less susceptible to such lies.
The real truth, however, is that Christians believe many lies. We sometimes don’t even realize that they are lies because they are wrapped up so nicely with what appears to be a “Bible bow.”
There are hundreds of lies Christians believe, either collectively or individually. I chose these five lies because I have personally seen them infiltrate the church, the lives of my friends and family, and my own life.
Here are the Top Five Lies Christians Believe (according to me):
1. Church is not necessary.
In other words, it’s OK to be a lone Christian.
I was a lone Christian for many years. I knew no differently and I honestly didn’t know any better. Somehow in my daily reading of scripture, all the talk of the body and fellowship just flew right past me.
The saddest thing is that it was my lack of accountability and relationship that pushed me to my furthest point away from God. I would wake up every morning and feel hopeless and alone.
2. All Christians need to do is be “good” and act “nice.”
That is what a “good Christian does.” This lie is one of the enemy’s greatest weapons. He wants us to believe that if we just “act” a certain way and keep up appearances (i.e. do good works apart from grace) that we will be OK.
Satan wants to convince us that we are capable, in our own strength, to accomplish God’s will, thereby rejecting the Holy Spirit. We ignore the Holy Spirit and all of His available guidance, power and counsel. We treat the Spirit as either insignificant to create change in our life, or simply irrelevant. We believe wrongly that we can “make it happen.”
Yet, it is through the Spirit that we are empowered to do God’s work. Likewise, our salvation rests on knowing Christ, loving Him completely, nothing else.
God will not ask if you were a nice person when you stand before Him. He will want to know if you knew His Son.
3. God doesn’t care about your small things.
He is much too busy with all the big issues. I have personally struggled (and still do struggle) with this lie.
Somewhere along the line we convince ourselves that God has got a lot on his plate and so we don’t bother Him with our silly little lives. We pray for others, sure. Or make our own requests known only when they are “big” things, and even then we doubt He might care or actually hear.
But oh how He cares.
He knows the number of hairs on your head. He does not just tolerate you or put up with you. He delights in you. He is overjoyed to hear your voice, calling out to your Abba.
He cares about the details of your lives just as much as the “big picture.” He desires you to let Him into the small spaces where He can take up residence and bring peace.
4. We believe that only pastors or those in “leadership” can, in fact, lead.
Churches use words like pastor, counselor, minister of whatever or lay person. They are essentially stating that you must be a professional to serve or lead within the body.
The beauty, however, of the Body of Christ is that God calls ordinary men to do His extraordinary work.
You do not need a seminary degree, a certificate of training or a title from your church’s administration to serve, disciple or equip those around you. You need three things: willingness, faithfulness and the Holy Spirit.
5. God wants us to be happy.
Happiness in scripture is usually mentioned in terms of a fleeting moment or a temporal, earthly event. Neither the scriptures or Christ (or anyone else for that matter) ever tell us that God wants us to “be happy.” He wants us to be a lot of things: righteous, holy, godly, pure, sanctified, etc … but “happy” ain’t in the list.
It’s cliche, but man is it true: God is more concerned with our holiness than our happiness.
Americans tend to think more in terms of happiness and immediacy than joy and steadfastness. We want God to just rain down good feelings and good times.
The truth, however, is that being happy and content in our daily lives is a byproduct of following Jesus with an obedient heart, but it is not the reason we follow Him.
We give our lives to Him because His sacrifice demands a response. In turn, as we engage with Him and let the Spirit lead, He offers us the abundant life. Abundance in Christ, however, is not synonymous with happiness.
In fact, I would argue that in some ways, being a Christian is actually harder than not. The reward, blessing, peace and fruit, however, far outweigh our temporal sufferings.
I would say that #3 and #5 are personal struggles for me. I am constantly battling lies within my mind, either self-perpetuated or flaming arrows from the enemy. Either way, recognizing lies for what they are is the best cure. The result is freedom, and ultimately that is what I’m after.
Which of the five lies, if any, have you believed or currently struggle with?
What lies would you add to the list?