Living in the world and not becoming conformed to it is challenging. For every truth spoken by God there is a lie coming from the pit, and often the lie is confrontational. The avalanche of lies that arise from the political, social, environmental, scientific, and academic world is frightening and Christians are often ridiculed for believing God instructions for a holy life. The disciple of Christ surrenders to truth rather than believe in the shaming lies from father of lies — Satan. Some examples are:
Lie: I’m Better Off in Charge of Myself
Lie: The Bible Isn’t Relevant Today
Lie: I’m Good Enough therefore do not need God
Lie: Changing the Message to Fit the Times
Lie: I am not responsible for anyone but me?
Lie: Lone Ranger Christians
Lie: When you’re dead you’re dead.
Lie: “It doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you’re sincere.”
Lies: it can wait, I can’t change, I know what is best, my past disqualifies me, no one understands me, and God’s love for me is conditional.
Church of God, we are in the midst of a cosmic battle whether we know it or not. The enemy would like to gather us as the spoils of war. But the God of truth is our defender and supplies us with the power to overcome if we trust him. Adam and Eve were God’s masterpiece and they both succumbed to a shaming lie that they can be like God. God will not want anyone to end up in eternal separation because of the lies of the enemy who comes to seek, kill and destroy. Let it be known that there is a consequence for believing the lie of the enemy and rejecting the truth of God. In Israel’s case it was called “exile.”
Unlike the false prophets and lying leaders of Isaiah’s and Jeremiah’s day the suffering servant (Isaiah 50:4-9) will deliver a message of truth even if it will lead to his personal abuse and public display of shame. The servant is willing to bear the abuse because he knows that God will vindicate him. The prophet Isaiah refuses to believe in the shaming lies of the false prophets of his day.
God’s Servant listens to Before He Speaks: The Sovereign Lord has given me a well-instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed. The Sovereign Lord has opened my ears; I have not been rebellious, I have not turned away. (Isaiah 50:4-5)
God’s Suffering Servant Suffers Abuse through Obedience : I offered my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard; I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting. Because the Sovereign Lord helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore have I set my face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame. (Isaiah 50:6-7)
God’s Suffering Servant is Vindicated: He who vindicates me is near. Who then will bring charges against me? Let us face each other! Who is my accuser? Let him confront me! It is the Sovereign Lord who helps me. Who will condemn me? (Isaiah 50:8-9)
Walter Brueggemann speaks about the role of a servant who broke the vicious cycle of unbelief and disobedience not by force or power or assertion, for such vigorous assertion only escalates and evokes more from the other side. The servant, this nobody with no resources, breaks the cycles of death and hurt precisely by a life of vulnerability, goes into the violence, and ends its tyranny.” (Cited by Peterson in The Jesus Way, 179).
We need to commit to steadfastness in purpose: doing God’s will regardless of hardship, opposition, embarrassment, or even betrayal (living in exile). When we believe in shaming lies and negative influences we live apart from the Truth and love of Jesus. When we listen to our culture rather than to God through his Word —morning by morning — when we neglect to pray daily we invite the lies of our world and the enemy of our soul to influence our lives
Lord we confess to believing shameless lies. Help us to live as your servants in a world of false expectations and evil seductions. Lord daily enable, equip, and empower us to live out the truth as we open our ears for receiving your truth instructions and our mouths for speaking out your truth and not our lies. Amen