Jesus called people to leave everything behind, die to self, take up their cross, and follow Him. He called them to a radical lifestyle of obedience to His Word. But we have peddled a soft gospel that just requires church attendance and an occasional prayer asking forgiveness, because you know, we’re not perfect, just forgiven.
And as long as everything in life goes our way, we have our get-out-of-hell-free card punched, and we can carry on with life as usual.
How to Guard Your Heart from Lies
Until life falls apart on us. Then we blame God, because we’re on His team now, so He should have worked everything out for us and answered all our prayers.
I talk to people all the time whose lives are an absolute mess. They want me to pray for them or give them advice, but they want to continue with their lifestyle as it is. They aren’t willing to surrender control of their lives to Jesus Christ, they just want Him to fix all their problems.
The problem is that they have fallen prey to the lion who roams around looking for someone to devour. They have tried to live with one foot in the church and one in the world. But leaving one foot in the world keeps you trapped there because that is the enemy’s domain. Give him a foothold, and he will take a stronghold.
The only way to live for Jesus is to surrender to Him completely. God is a jealous God. He’s all or nothing. We’re either in or out. We can’t worship the Lord and entertain the devil.
“You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God” (James 4:4, NIV 84).
The word for world here denotes the world’s system, the lust and temptation of the world’s desires, as opposed to the ways of God.
“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world–the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes, and the boasting of what he has and does–comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever” (1 John 2:15-17).
So how can we, as Christians, guard our hearts from the lie that we can belong to God and still live for the world and our own desires?
Understand the Love of God
First, we have to understand the love of God.
He calls us to give up the strongholds in our lives for our own good. He knows the power and control they hold over us. God loves us so much that He wants us to be set free from the things that keep us bound. Those things only lead to our destruction, but our Father wants us to walk in His love and protection.
The lie is that God is holding back something good from us. We are afraid that if we let go and surrender all to Him, we might miss out on something good. But nothing could be further from the truth.
“For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless. O Lord Almighty, blessed is the man who trusts in you” (Psalm 84:11-12).
Understand God’s Desire to Rebuild
Second, we have to understand God’s desire to rebuild.
The Lord knows that, left to ourselves, we will make a mess of things–the very place so many of my friends end up in. But His desire is not just to chastise and correct us (although He will out of His love). But His desire is to heal our brokenness and rebuild what we’ve torn down.
The lie we believe is that we’ve messed things up so badly, that God is no longer interested in helping us.
“He has sent me [Jesus Christ] to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for captives and release from darkness for the prisoners…They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated” (Isaiah 61:1b, 4a, brackets added).
This prophecy from Isaiah was fulfilled in Jesus, as He quoted in Luke 4:18-19. Even if we’ve caused the destruction by our own bad choices, God still wants to heal and rebuild and restore. But we have to be willing to let Him. We have to let go of doing things our own way and let Him have His way in our lives.
Understand that God Promises Better
Last, we have to understand that He promises better than what the world offers.
I think the biggest lie Satan and his worldly system constantly feeds us is that the world has something better to offer us–better music, better movies, a better and cooler culture, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Jesus doesn’t seem to quite measure up to all the world has to offer.
The truth is that what the world offers is deception, destruction, and devastation, but Satan packages it so well that we can’t see that truth. The only way to guard our hearts from those lies is to stay in the Word–the ultimate Truth.
“Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers. Not so the wicked! He is like chaff that the wind blows away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish” (Psalm 1).
This is truth, but we have to accept it by faith, and after all, that’s what being a follower of Jesus is all about. Are you struggling to let go of some things in your life and surrender all to Jesus? Meditate on these truths today and let God’s love penetrate your heart. He’s waiting for you–not to get it all right, but to just let go of control. If you will let Him have ALL of you, He can take your mess and make it into something beautiful.
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