Our ability to quit and become sidetracked is great. Our hearts are constantly being attacked by lies that keep us from preserving in faith. These five lies are particularly successful. They are deceptive and effecting in killing our conviction to follow Jesus and trust in his work.
1. “You are above this”
This is the lie of strong pride. That the grunt work isn’t for you. I first heard this lie when I cleaned toilets for a church in Los Angeles. You may hear it while you are watching babies in the nursery Sunday after Sunday. Or when you get stood up once again by your not-yet believing friends for dinner. You heart when your neighbors shun you for being crazy people who believe in Jesus. The lie is: “You are better than this.” When you believe this lie, you think you’re entitled to fame. In reality you are only entitled to be called a child of God, and that right there was purchased by Christ. Don't settle for position and fame. If you think you are above the job and task, you will not perceive in obedience.
2. “You are below this”
Many times it also sounds like: “You don't belong and you don't deserve this.” This is a lie attacking Christ’s ability to work in and through you. If you believe this lie, you believe that God is not at work, but that you are the one at work. This lie leads to fear and rejection of your identity as a donor daughter of God. It is also born our to comparison to others induced of the supremacy of Christ. What’s devastating about this lie is that it paralyzes folks from the obedience that would give God glory. No one is capable or skilled enough to do what God has called them to do. But the Holy Spirit empowers us for the tasks and God is glorified in using us.
3. “If you were better, it would be easier”
This one comes when things feel incredibly hard. It leads to self-loathing and increased suffering. This lie shakes your sense of purpose. You begin to place yourself as the focal point of God’s work and conclude you are either in the way or driving it forward. When things improve, you believe it is because you have done better and have earned it. When things fail, you are certain it is your fault. Similar lies are: “You have to be good to be used for good.” Or: “You have to smarter, better, quicker, more talented, more educated, rich and moral in order to do good.” This leads to a personal quest for self-rightness, excellence, and God’s job. This lie essentially says: “You are this city’s savior.” Eventually you quit in desperation because you have labored without the Savior.
4. “If it isn’t happening now, it never will”
This lie says: “Today is all there is and God ca’t work tomorrow. If God hasn’t answer your prayers for rebuttal by now, he never will.” When you believe it, you lose perspective on the scope of life and count everything you are doing as worthless. You are no longer content in obedience alone, but want to see what your obedience will create. This is nearsighted dreaming. The lie results in quick quitting or shrinking versions of worthwhile-God-given dreams. This is a lie people believe when they settle for less than the radical surrender and obedience God called them to. When we believe this lie we are saying, “God doesn’t care anymore or he can’t do it.”
5. “You are alone”
This is the hardest one. Our sinful hearts leap to this lie when we are tired and discouraged. The goal of this lie is to isolate you and make you think no one else cared, and no one else is coming to help. No longer are you being obedient to God’s work, but now you feel like a hired hand. It is as if God is paying you to establish a franchise of his kingdom and is looking for a return on his investment. Your belief in this lie says, “Jesus don’ts love me or this city. He didn’t die for this city or for me- God abandons his people.”
At the heart of each of these lies is an attack on your motivation and an attack on the gospel. The truth is Christ died for you. You are loved and you are his son or daughter (1 Jn. 3:1). He has empowered you with his Spirit to be his witness (Act 1:8). He will work in you and through you as he works all things together for good and conforms you to the likeness of Christ (Rom. 8:28-29). He is with you always, even to the end of the age (Matt. 28).