An amazing Bible professor at APU once said something in a lecture that really struck me. It went something like this: The enemy always tries to lead us toward death, and towards the things that will destroy our lives. God always wants life, and he leads us towards the things that make us more alive.
I wish I could remember his exact words, but there you have the paraphrase.
I heard these words of truth from my Bible professor at a time in my life when I was having a lot of thoughts about death. In my young adult years, before I was married, I heard the thoughts in my head almost every day:
I’d be better off dead.
My life is worthless.
No one would even care if I never existed.
They’d be better off if I just weren’t alive.
I just wish I were dead.
I was not a super-depressed person who couldn’t function in everyday life, although sometimes I could see myself becoming that way if I wasn’t careful. Instead, I was an involved, straight-A student who enjoyed meaningful friendships and lived life to the fullest.
But I had these thoughts all the time, especially after I would get in a fight with my mom, or when I would not live up to my own expectations of myself.
I finally came to realize that I am a creature that can think about and even believe things that are not true. Not only that, but I am a creature that can hear things that do not come from my own mind or from God, but from a dark place.
If this were true, and these thoughts were false and not from God, then the world would not be better off if I were dead. My family would not be happier if I was never born. I didn’t need to die in order to solve my problems.
Lies. I could identify them as lies. Wow, I just heard a lie. That is not true. I just thought something that is not true.
In the first years of my marriage, I would hear things like this:
We are a mismatch.
We are not right together.
I’d probably be a better fit with a man like (my friend’s husband) because he is more like me.
Andy and I are too different.
Lies. For a while I listened to the lies, but soon I was able to identify them. That’s a lie. Nope, that’s a lie.
Most recently, I have been hearing things like this:
My house has to look perfect before I can invite anyone over.
I can’t go anywhere in public, I look ugly (fat and pregnant).
People probably look at me and think I’m disgusting.
I hope this doesn’t make me sound like a crazy person, because I do have a point. If you are having thoughts that lead you toward death, destruction, or isolation, you are free to identify them as lies, reject them, and claim the truth.
My life has value. I’m not worthless.
God has given me life for a reason.
I married my husband because he is a man of God, not because we are a perfect fit.
I am a beautiful person.
Life does have a purpose. Your life has a purpose.
Are we in danger because of the growing narcissism in our culture?
I watched a very sad video in May that you probably watched as well. It was the selfie video of the young college student who went on a shooting rampage in Santa Barbara. As I watched the video, I was freaked out because it was so creepy to see and hear a person talk about killing innocent people, but also because this young man believed the lies he was hearing in his head. He said things like,
“Humanity is a disgusting, wretched, depraved species. If I had it in my power, I would stop at nothing to reduce every single one of you to mountains of skulls, rivers of blood. You deserve to be annihilated.”
Death and destruction
and, “I have been forced to endure an existence of loneliness, rejection and unfulfilled desires. All because girls have never been attracted to me.”
A very sad conclusion.
If we allow ourselves to listen to and believe the lies that bombard us, we are in danger of destroying our own lives and possibly the lives of others.
Who has the authority to discern truth from a lie?
When Jesus was tempted for 40 days, he was bombarded with things from the devil that were partially true but not from God. Jesus knew what was completely true even when he was tempted by other things that were sort of true.
If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.
Worship me, the devil, and I will give you authority over all the kingdoms on earth.
Throw yourself from the top of the temple and God will send angels to attend you–if you are the Son of God.
(Luke 4:1-13, paraphrase)
The enemy went so far as to use scripture to try to convince Jesus to listen to his voice, worship, and obey him.
Partial truths can also be totally wrong and deceptive.
The Holy Spirit, the guidance of God and the Bible, wisdom and knowledge, and the path toward life: these are the authority by which we can identify truth from lies, right from wrong, life from death and destruction.
“There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God”
2 Timothy 3:1-4
In the midst of the death and destruction we see these days, remember the life-giving truth.
Your life has value.
God has given you life for a reason
You are a beautiful person
Your life has a purpose
photo credit: marisa santiago