We’re surrounded by so many voices that speak into our lives.
Friends, mentors, teachers, parents, social media… the list is endless. In a world so full of voices, it’s important to pay attention to what and who you’re listening to. Passivity will lead to hurt, darkness and sin.
Underneath all the voices there are messages trying to wedge their way into our lives. “You’re not good enough unless you look like this“, “you’ll be happy if only you get that”, “you need to fear/love/achieve this thing”.
This doesn’t just apply to outer voices either. Often we speak lies to ourselves. We let fear, pride, jealousy or despair rule in our hearts, without pausing to think about it. This sin runs rampant in our lives, often unnoticed.
So, how can we seek out these sinful lies in our life, and what can we do about them?
SATAN ISN’T LOOKING FOR A FIGHT
In Isaiah 36, Assyria is taking over Judah. Armies have invaded and captured Judah’s cities, and things are looking bleak.
The king of Assyria sends one of his high-ranking military officers to Hezekiah, who was the king of Israel at the time. The officer brings him a report from the king of Assyria, calling them to give up.
Judah didn’t have the military strength to stand against Assyria, and both sides knew it. Assyria could easily take Judah by force, but first, they try a simpler alternative: convince Judah to surrender.
If the Judeans did go to war against Assyria, what do you think would happen? Though Assyria is stronger, Judah has the Lord on their side. Perhaps the Lord would rain fire down from heaven, or strike fear into the hearts of the Assyrians, causing them to surrender.
Instead of leaving room for something like this to happen, the Assyrians instead want Judah to despair, to fear, and to surrender without a fight. Doesn’t that sound familiar? Satan does the exact same thing in our lives. Rather than giving us the opportunity to fight with God’s strength, he tries to talk us into giving in to despair and fear, without putting up a fight.
The officer even tries to make surrendering seem desirable to Judah.
“Do not listen to Hezekiah. For thus says the king of Assyria: Make your peace with me and come out to me. Then each one of you will eat of his own vine, and each one of his own fig tree, and each one of you will drink the water of his own cistern.Isaiah 36:16 (ESV)
He promises them an abundance of food and drink and conveniently leaves out the part where they’ll be in captivity. In the same way, the lies we believe often seem like a pleasant choice, when in reality they lead to death. Like the fruit in the garden, sin appears pleasant, until it isn’t.
When you feel tempted to submit to lies in your life, ask God to help you resist and go to war against them instead.
“FOR THUS SAYS THE KING OF ASSYRIA” vs. “FOR THUS SAYS THE LORD”
Before we can go to war against our lies, though, we need to see them.
One part of the verse above stands out to me: “For thus says the king of Assyria”. That phrase is hauntingly familiar. How many times have the Israelites heard “For thus says the Lord“? It’s been repeated countless times throughout the earlier chapters of Isaiah. In fact, in the verses after the officer’s speech, Isaiah brings Hezekiah another word from the Lord.
‘Thus says the Lord: Do not be afraid because of the words that you have heard, with which the young men of the king of Assyria have reviled me. Behold, I will put a spirit in him, so that he shall hear a rumor and return to his own land, and I will make him fall by the sword in his own land.’”Isaiah 37:6b-7 (ESV)
God promised that he would take care of Assyria. The king of Assyria may have promised to destroy the Israelites, but God made a greater promise. Who cares what the king of Assyria says when the king of the universe has spoken? The Israelites don’t need to fear Assyria’s threats, because they’ve been given a greater truth.
In the same way, God has given us something greater than Satan’s lies. We don’t need to fear, when we remember his truth.
APPLYING THIS TO OUR STRUGGLE AGAINST SIN
Now that we’ve seen how Hezekiah fought against Assyria’s lies, let’s apply that to our own lives. How can we find sin in our lives, and fight it?
Both before and after receiving a word from the Lord, Hezekiah went to him in prayer. He worshipped the Lord, acknowledged his might, and asked him to deliver them. And that’s exactly what he did.
And the angel of the Lord went out and struck down 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians. And when people arose early in the morning, behold these were all dead bodies.Isaiah 37:37 (ESV)
How incredible is that! As he promised, the Lord fought for Israel (while they were sleeping!). As we seek out lies in our lives and combat them with truth, we can’t forget the powerful weapon of prayer that we have. Pray, and let the Lord fight for you.
Change in our lives only happens because of the grace of God. Before you begin examining yourself, ask God for clarity, humility, and strength.
2. Ask yourself: What’s my “for thus says the king of Assyria”?
Now it’s time to figure out the specific lies you’re believing. To do this, I wrote out my own examples. of “for thus says the king of Assyria” in my personal devotions.
I thought of my fears, my pride, and any other idol that I run to, and what those things are promising me. The lies that they’re telling me. Here are two examples I came up with.
Thus says my fear: You’re not good enough for God unless you obey him, so you need to strive in order to be loved by him.
Thus says my pride: You’re much better than your sisters, and you’ll find satisfaction in continuing to be that.
I would challenge you to journal these out for yourself. Take some time alone with God, and ask him to reveal the lies you’re believing. Think about the sins you struggle with, and what draws you to them. Consider the fears you feel when you’re challenged to give these sins up.
3. Ask yourself: What’s my ” for thus says the Lord”?
In order to fight against the lies, we need to have specific truths to oppose them with.
As I was journalling, some scripture came to my mind. For my fear, I thought of these verses:
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.Ephesians 2:8-9 (ESV)
When I consider God’s word instead of the lies, I can remember that his grace and love is a gift and that nothing I can do will earn it. I don’t need to be good enough for God. Take that, fear!
For my pride, I found this verse:
For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.James 2:10
The ground is level at the cross. Before God, I am no better or worse than my sisters: we both deserve death. But, as the Ephesians verses said, we’ve been given grace.
Take a look at your own lies. Do any specific truths of scripture come to your mind? If they don’t, I would highly recommend looking it up! There are so many great resources online (openbible.info is one of my favs), and if you simply type “what does the bible say about _______” into a search engine, you’ll probably find lots of great verses!
Don’t let this be a one-time thing, though! Let it encourage you to spend time in God’s word every day, asking him to reveal more truths to combat your lies with. Many of the verses/truths I came up with stemmed from my devotions over the past few months. In a world surrounded by voices, it’s ever important to make time to listen to the right one.
5 thoughts on “Who Are You Listening to?”
Thanks for being vulnerable in this devo! My favorite part is that while Israel SLEPT the Lord fought for them. What a loving and protective Father. He knows all our human frailties…I wish I remembered everyday how much I need Him.(Sometimes I live like I’ve got this…I don’t.) I love your suggestion on sitting down and considering the lies I live by everyday…definitely on my devo list this week. Thanks for the challenge and encouragement. What a great God we serve!
I’m so glad you liked it! It really is amazing God’s care for us, even when we forget how much we need him! Thanks so much for reading and commenting! 🙂
Such a pointed post, and I too appreciate your humility and transparency in this piece. Personally, I am thinking, how often in my life do I let the lies of the enemy be the loudest voice in my ears? How often do I let it be the voice that trumps every other thing I hear or know to be true?
I love this in your post: “Before we can go to war against our lies, though, we need to see them.” Speaking from experience, I know that I have allowed many lies to creep in and take up residence in my heart. I know that I have also walked in laziness in fighting against the lies. I love your challenge – put pen to paper do the work of searching my heart for the lies I am believing, mine the Scriptures to see what God’s Word says, and then replace those lies with real Truth.
I want to do that this week. I want to stop being lulled asleep and lied to. I want to walk in the very freedoms that come when we surrender our idols and the lies we have been believing, and cling to ‘Thus saith the Lord’ instead. Thank you for this great charge, McKinley. I continue to be inspired and encouraged by your walk with the Lord, and how you are so gifted in conveying to your readers what the Lord is faithfully teaching you. It is beautiful. Keep it up.
Awh comments like these bless me so much :). And so true about letting the enemy’s voice be the loudest… so often that’s the case in my life too. I’ll be praying that God will help you live under his voice this week instead. Thanks so much for reading!!
BILLIONS of angels and it only took ONE !!!!
Loved your post Mckinley & all the comments.,
Also like the link you posted so was able to ask a question !
Your Nany – Myra