Lucifer is the “father of lies” (John 8:22). His nature won’t let him tell the truth. “He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for some victim to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). His deception constantly attacks our weaknesses and vulnerabilities in hopes of drawing us away from God. Satan also strives to put us into bondage by controlling the way we act, feel, and think. He often attempts this by using subtle manipulation to make us unrealistically afraid over circumstances that don’t warrant the amount of fear that we experience during those situations. How we deal with his tricks determine his success rate in trying to destroy our freedoms, hopes, and relationships.
Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Fear defeat more people than any other thing in the world.” Fear increases when we listen to Satan lies. He often uses fear to destroy us. Just ask the alcoholic who greatly seeks forgiveness and grace from God as he tries to forget the memory of him killing that teenager while driving intoxicated years ago? Will he be able to break the addiction of alcohol and believe in God’s love when both fear and Satan consistently tell him he is unlovable? What about the person with a mental illness? Will he continue to believe he has a future when reason says otherwise? Finally, what about the middle-aged woman who is desperately seeking a miracle of healing of the cancer she daily fights against.. Can she continue the fight when fear and Satan repeatedly tells her that there is no cure? They can if they believe in the promises of God.
The Bible is full of promises made by a God who never lies or breaks a promise (Hebrews 6:18). They can be relied upon for support for any tribulation you face in life. Let’s survey the issues of the alcoholic, the disabled person, and the woman with cancer and what Biblical truths they can use to resolve their problems. Listen closely- you may be experiencing troubles like these.
The Alcoholic Who Needed Grace
“I’m so bad that no one would want to love me.”
We all make mistakes: the “alcoholic” character in this example and every sinner like you and me.
The “alcoholic” has an addiction that he can’t seem to break. It presumably started from listening to bad advice years ago. One day he got drunk and killed a little girl as he drove recklessly down the road. He was later sentenced to jail. Now, at home, he constantly experiences regret, guilt, and shame of that night as he struggles to break the habit. He has no peace with himself as he hopes to find grace somewhere somehow. He doesn’t realize that God is there waiting and wanting to love and forgive him.
Since the serpent’s deception of Adam, humanity has struggled to break the habit of sin. People hate and injure one another as lives get “destroyed”: physically, emotionally, and verbally. The punishment for these crimes is hell. Meanwhile, still living on Earth, people feel regret and shame for their wrongdoings as they struggle overcome their addiction. That is our history of disobeying God.
We all have a desire to be accepted, loved, forgiven, free from condemnation, to be forgetful of the past, and the opportunity to have a second chance in life. God, who knew our sins before our creation, still wants to give us these hopes. Proof of that fact is revealed when Jesus died to “satisfy God’s wrath of our sins”, to give us eternal life, to be free from our addiction of sin. Believers can forget their past, because God will no longer remember them (Hebrews 10:17).. He wants people to have success so bad that He is willing to give His wisdom to guide us along the path that is best for us. (Psalms 32:8). Even better, when we get saved, we will have the Spirit of God in us, giving us the capacity to no longer be controlled by our sinful nature (Romans 8:9). His love is inseparable to the believer: neither death, life, angels, principalities, powers, things present, things to come, height, depth, or any creature can separate us from His love (Romans 8:38-39). God is perfect love. That is His nature.
God’s love gives his followers the authority to be free from condemnation, the enjoyment of being loved and accepted, the consent to forget the past, the wisdom to successfully start a new life, and the power to overcome the addiction of sin. God wants to give you these gifts of freedom. In order to receive them, you must first take the gift and follow Him. If you don’t, you will never find what you are looking for!
The Person with a Mental Illness
“My life is hopeless. Nothing good can come out of my life.”
There’s a fallacy that nothing good can come out of the life of someone with a mental illness. Even though his cognitive stronghold may interfere with the way he thinks, acts, or feel, it doesn’t mean the individual is totally defeated when he experiences failure. There is hope because “we can do all things through Christ which strengthened me (Philippians 4:13). This is true for all sorts of mental illnesses.
We all have a spiritual mental illness called our sinful nature. It is our tendency to be selfish, hateful, and at times, to injure another for personal gain. These behaviors contradict God’s law we habitually break: to love Him absolutely and to love others like ourselves. Since Satan’s trickery of Adam, choosing sin has separated man from God, sent too many sinners to hell, severed too many human relationships, brought forth the existence of real mental illnesses, and has created too much fear, shame, suffering, and hopelessness to this world. Because we let our sinful nature control us, humanity has experienced and still experiences “death” in many forms.
God doesn’t want mankind to experience death. He also doesn’t desire those with real mental illnesses or those who experience mental anguish to suffer either. In both cases, God has “plans for good and not for disaster, to give us a future and hope” (Jeremiah 29:11-13). He also hopes to “end our captivity and to restore our fortunes”, fortunes lost because of the consequences of our spiritual mental illness. Our job is to let God take control of our mental illness (includes spiritual, mental anguish, and real mental illness) and trust that He will do what is best. If you don’t believe He will, read Romans 8:28.
Life and peace result when people let the Holy Spirit control their sinful nature (Romans 8:6). This requires first being saved by accepting Christ as your Savior and then daily surrendering your will in obedience to Him. When the Holy Spirit is in the driver seat, we will experience fruits like love, joy, peace, patience, and self-control in our lives (Galatians 5:22). We will all be able to experience contentment, even those who experience mental anguish or a real mental illness.. People will be able experience victories over their strongholds and then accomplish things that they never believe could happen because God would empower them to do so. God may then use these people to give hope to those who struggle with their own kind of mental illness.
I know this all can happen to you because I increasingly see it happening to me. Although I have a lot of bad days, my growing relationship with Christ has been the stable foundation that I need to face my mental illness (real one).. When I constantly say yes to my sinful nature, this stability becomes less stable as my illness often become very frightening. However, when I surrender my fears and life to Him, I often find strength to face my disability with courage. But through it all, when I stay connected to God, I find contentment.
The Struggling Cancer Patient
“I Cannot Overcome My Adversity”
The fears and the hurts that often accompanies trials is like brain cancer: once it enters the mind, it grows and spreads until, unless controlled, destroys the life of the person. If we let problems like cancer, disability, abuse, financial chaos, and the loss of a loved get out of hand, our fears and hurts can get so bad that it “kills” us spiritually, emotionally, psychologically, and perhaps physically. The two can keep us from reaching our goals and dreams, destroy our hope and ruin our relationships, create severe depression, and start the seeds of future trouble which may occur many years later. Unfortunately, our fears and hurts often intensify when we listen to the lies of Satan.
When we are weak, Satan often tell us “we are alone”;“nobody understands or cares; and “you’ll never make it.” Don’t ever listen to those lies. Instead, “cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall” (Psalm 55:22). Here are some other promises to hold on to when you face adversity:
I WILL NOT FEAR; GOD IS ALWAYS WITH ME
Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you. Deut 31:6 (ESV)
I WILL NOT DOUBT; GOD IS ALWAYS IN CONTROL
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6 (ESV)
I WILL NOT DESPAIR; GOD IS ALWAYS GOOD
I would have despaired unless I had believed I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Psalms 27:13 (NASB)
I WILL NOT FALTER; GOD IS ALWAYS WATCHING
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape that you may be able to endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13 (ESV)
I WILL NOT FAIL; GOD IS ALWAYS VICTORIOUS
‘No weapon formed against you shall prosper, And every tongue which rises against you in judgment You shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, And their righteousness is from Me’, Says the Lord. Isaiah 54:17 (NKJV)
Keep the faith. Trials are for you good. James 1:2-4 says, “Dear brothers and sisters, whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything.” God wants to build your spiritual muscles to prepare you for your “giant-sized, God-given dream. “If you remain steadfast amidst your trial, you will receive the crown of life” in heaven (James 1:12). Eternal gain always outweighs temporary earthly pain.
God desperately wants to give you grace, a future, and victory over adversity. As you seek Him, if you believe you will find it, you will acquire it in unexpected hours. However, if you lack faith, you head yourself toward a futile path. Focus on the truth, not on Satan’s lies.
When Satan tempted Jesus with deceit in Matthew 4, Jesus quoted scriptural truths back at him. When Satan heard the truth, He immediately fled. Angels later came and cared for Jesus. The same will happen to you if resist the devil by exposing him as a liar and replacing his lies with the truth. Afterwards, move onward with your life. Once this all happens, “the truth shall set you free” (John 8:32).