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Confronting the Lie of the World

By Lana Loukota
 
"The time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn away from the truth and turn aside to myths" (2 Timothy 4:3,4).  I think that time has come. The vast majority of people are willing to believe a lie if it's what they want to hear. There is a lie that is taught by a great number of teachers around us, and many people have bought into it at their own eternal expense. What is this dangerous lie? It is the philosophy that people should trust themselves, can find truth in themselves, and can therefore accomplish anything themselves. Is this really a lie? Doesn't the Bible talk about trust and truth and being able to do all things? Yes, it does, and what it has to say is completely incompatible with what the world says.

So what is wrong with the aforementioned philosophy? For starters, what the world says is "trust yourself". However, "The Lord says, 'Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength, and whose heart turns away from the Lord'" (Jeremiah 17:5).  Strong words! "But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him" (Jer. 17:7). I think I prefer the blessing to the curse, and surely God is more trustworthy than man. Just consider: The life of a man is like a vapor, but God is eternal. While all those born of men are sinful, God is gloriously perfect. Though men often fail, God is always faithful. There is no one safer to put your trust in than Him, because He never fails. I challenge you to look for examples of God's trustworthiness next time you read your Bible. It should turn out to be very easy!

The second part of the lie was, ironically, about truth. People like to believe that truth is inside them. If truth were inside us, we'd never be wrong. According to someone else's inner truth we might be wrong, but then their truth would be different than ours. There could be no absolute right and wrong, because truth would change depending on whims and opinions. However, I know that truth is found in the solid, unchanging rock, Jesus, who says, "I am the way, the truth, and the life" (John 14:6a). You can search all you want, but the Bible never indicates that men have truth hidden deep in their hearts. Actually it says that the heart is deceitful above all things and cannot be trusted (Jer. 17:9). You will find that there's truth in the Bible, though, and you can hide that truth in your heart.

The third part of the lie I haven chosen to attack ties in closely with the first. The words "you can do anything" are heard quite often. I'm not saying that this phrase is evil, but we must be careful how we use it. When the phrase "you can do anything" is coupled with the words "trust yourself" it becomes dangerous. The reality is that, alone, you cannot do everything you set out to do. By your own strength, there is little you can do. Are you able to become perfect or see God? These are just two among many things that can only be accomplished with the help of Christ. This goes back to the issue of trust. Do you trust God and depend on Him to help you do all things? Remember, the apostle Paul did not say, "I can do all things," but "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength."

I have tried my hardest to put down the worldly philosophy of self-trust. Why? What is the harm in this lie? It is this: If a man believes that he needs nothing outside himself, then he can't believe that he needs Christ's forgiveness for his sins, because the two beliefs are fundamentally opposed to each other. If Satan, the father of lies, persuades a man to believe this lie, and that man dies believing in himself, then he will go to hell.

This lie does not only affect non-Christians. Many Christians also believe this lie to a certain extent. Many receive Christ's forgiveness for their sins and receive the Holy Spirit, but never really let Him work in them. We are supposed to change (to be more Christ-like) after we become Christians, but we aren't supposed to try to do it ourselves. "May Him who has begun a good work in you carry it out to completion" (Philippians 1:6). We must depend on God to help us change so that we can bear fruit. Remember: a branch cannot produce fruit without being attached to the vine. What if you decided to put your life in God's hands and let Him change you and work through you? Imagine the impact you could have on those with whom you come in contact. We need to abandon the lies of the world and return to our faith in God. And we also need to teach the truth to the world. Many will still listen to what their itching ears want to hear (2 Timothy 4:3), but others will listen to the sound doctrine of Christ and be saved.

2 Corinthians 4:7 says that "we have this treasure in jars of clay"; We have God's Holy Spirit and His amazing power within our weak human bodies. I think our aim should be to let God use us in such powerful ways that the world will know we couldn't be acting by our own power, so that they will give glory to our Father in Heaven. Let us pray for God to use us to carry out His will.