In an earlier post, about telling our stories, I said I would get into this soon. Well, here we are.
First, a little quiz:
Q: What did Jesus call Satan?
A: The father of lies.
Q: What does Genesis 3:1 say about Satan?
A: He is craftier than all of the other creatures. (Serpent, Satan—they're the same thing.)
Q: How did Satan trick Adam and Eve? (Remember, Adam was right there with Eve.)
A: He lied. Maybe more specifically, he said that God lied.
Who do you think is happy when we believe a lie? Is it Satan, or God? DING, DING, DING, DING! Right. It's Satan.
And that's what renouncing lies is all about. All of us have been lied to our whole lives, and we have believed some of those lies. Lies about ourselves. Lies about God.
When we began this exercise of renouncing lies, one of our brothers again led the way. During an intensive spiritual retreat (okay, it was Wild at Heart Boot Camp), he began talking to one of the other men there, and after a few minutes the man stopped him and said, "I've heard you say several thing about yourself that I suspect are not true, and I know you've said things about God that are not true." Another man got involved, and after a while it became clear that there were many lies, not just one or two.
That day my brother took the time to write out all the lies he had believed over the years, and once he started, he filled pages with them. He showed the notebook to us, and it was amazing to see how much falsehood had been in his life. He renounced them all, and his healing was begun.
So, when we got together a couple of weeks ago to renounce lies, we were all supposed to come with our own lists. Now, I had a hard time putting such a list together. I asked, "Is this lies we believe now, or what we used to believe, or what?" I've always had a difficult time with listing out things like this. If you ask me to tell you the three best things that have happened to me this week, I'll hem and haw. I'll think of a thousand things and reject them all with the idea that maybe there was something better. I hate making lists. And I put it off.
The day we met, I got some news that really floored me, one of the recent setbacks I wrote about earlier. I was hurt, confused, and very, very low. Satan used that and began to shake me like a terrier shakes a rat. In the thirty minutes I had to get ready for our meeting, I sat and wrote out a list of things that really felt true to me, things like, "I'm forever destined to be second place." That was at the top of my list and it really hit me hard. It continued with such things as "I'm a bad father," and "I'm selfish."
When the time came, I told my brothers of what had gone on before the meeting, and how I'd made my list in about 10 minutes. I read it out to them and they all saw them as lies. Lies that I had accepted, and built my identity upon.
That's the key right there. When I wrote "I'm selfish," I knew there was an element of truth in that. Which of us has never been selfish? We all fall into that sin at times. God knows that, and he forgives us. The lie comes when we let Satan identify us by that sin. We make an agreement with him. It's not "I've done something selfish," or "I've had a selfish thought," but it's "This is what I am."
And that's a lie. We are who God says we are, nothing more or less. When we gave our allegiance to Jesus, when we surrendered to him, we became brothers with him, and sons of God. You are not what you do. You are what God does for you.
That is a concept I have fully embraced—in my mind. But until that night, I realized I had not fully embraced it in my heart. Deep down I felt I was a selfish, pig-headed, perennial second-stringer. Satan had done a good job on me.
But the funny thing was, I have learned not to accept that condemnation in parts of my life. God has freed me of so much. I've known for a long time that conviction comes from the Spirit, and condemnation comes from Satan. Yet I still held onto this identification that Satan had pinned on me.
I renounced every lie on that list. I renounced them out loud in Jesus' name. And I asked forgiveness for believing Satan and not God. My brothers prayed powerfully over me, and I left that place healing from something I didn't even know about 24 hours earlier. I've been through that before, and let me tell you, it feels very, very good.
Sometimes (always?) it takes others to see the lies we have believed. It did for my brother. It did for me. I wrote those things because they felt true. My brothers told me otherwise. May you find brothers and sisters who will do that for you.
No more lies!