I've said it plenty of times, but it always bears repeating: The devil's warfare isn't aimed merely to cause pain and grief but to ultimately skew your view of God. Through his attacks, threats, lies and accusations, Satan attempts to erode your confidence in God's good character. The devil knows that if he can convince you that God is mad and is therefore afflicting you, then you'll naturally remain at a distance from your Creator.
As I was studying to write on the subject for my book, Activating the Power of God's Word, I made a fascinating find that backed up what I already suspected. A highly regarded study conducted by two sociology professors at Baylor University uncovered that nearly three out of every four Americans view God as furious, critical or distant. As I read more of their research, I quickly found that these views represent the common insecurities or lies to which I've heard many subscribe. Perhaps you've even muttered one or more of these. (I have!)
"I'm afraid that God is going to get me back."
The study found that 31 percent of Americans believe that God is an angry authoritarian, ready to punish us at any time. To be sure, this isn't anything new. The "God-is-mad" belief is what Adam and Eve held after they succumbed to Satan's temptation and took a bite of the forbidden fruit. Rather than seek God's forgiveness and move on, they hid from God out of fear of what He would do (Gen. 3:10).
People who believe similarly to Adam and Eve frequently say things such as, "That tornado was God's judgment on that town" or "God must have afflicted me with this issue because I made a mistake." What an awful way to live! These people live paranoid, and all too often they try to stay away from God out of fear of how and when He might punish them for yesterday's mistakes.
"I must work hard to earn God's love."
"Critical" and disengaged is how 16 percent of Americans think of God. Ultimately this is the belief that God sits in heaven critiquing your every action. To gain any kind of favor with God, these people believe they must earn it by working harder for Him.
Here again, the idea that we must work to impress God is nothing new. This is precisely what a woman named Martha tried to do when Jesus came to visit her home. The Gospel of Luke records that rather than being enamored in the company of Jesus, Martha busied herself with tasks, essentially saying, "Look at me, Jesus, and all I'm doing for you!" But Jesus wasn't impressed. Without mincing words, He indicated that it would be better for Martha to forget the to-dos and simply enjoy His presence (Luke 10:41-42).
"Why did God allow this? I must have done something wrong."
Sadly, 24 percent of Americans believe that God is distant and disinterested in their everyday lives. For too many, this belief is deeply rooted in the idea that God has betrayed them because of something they have done.
When you read through the Old Testament, you will notice some extreme differences in Israel's thoughts about God. When all was well, they predictably praised Him for His attention to their needs. But during their time of exile, when their people were scattered, their temple was defiled and their enemies had gained an upper hand, they quickly complained of God's absence.
Similarly, most of us can admit that we have been tempted to believe God has forgotten about us. When opportunities slow, some people believe it is because God has put them on a shelf and walked away. When finances get tight, others are afraid it is because they have somehow let down God and He has removed His blessing.
How to Shut Down These Lies
So what do you do when you catch yourself believing any of the lies? You open your mouth to counter them with God's truth.
In my book, I teach through 16 strategic declarations to combat the wiles of the enemy, including the lies I explored above. Here are just a few (paraphrased):
When you feel like God is mad at you, declare 2 Corinthians 5:21: "For my sake, Jesus took my sin so that in Him I am the righteousness of God."
When you're insecure about God's love, declare Romans 8:38–39: "No person, past or devil can separate me from the love of God in Christ Jesus my Lord."
When you question why God allows something, declare Romans 8:28: "I know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to His purpose."
The key is to keep the truth of God's Word about who He is on your mind and your mouth. Remember: the father of lies has no power when the truth of the Father is present.
Kyle Winkler equips people to live in victory. His mobile app, Shut Up, Devil!, is the #1 spiritual warfare app; and his book, Activating the Power of God's Word, uncovers 16 strategic declarations to transform your life. Kyle holds a Master of Divinity in biblical studies from Regent University. Get daily encouragement from Kyle on Facebook and Twitter.
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