Steven Furtick - Resist The Devil's Lies
This is an excerpt from: Devil You’ve Held Me Long Enough
Let's try it like this. Say this out loud. "Devil, you've held me long enough"! That felt better. The truth will set you free. It's an amazing thing, you know, the way the Devil gets us in these tight spaces and makes us think the best part of our lives is over and there's nothing we can do and we might as well not even try. When we say, "The Devil is a liar," of course we don't mean he runs around with a plastic pitchfork telling you stuff you know on the surface to be untrue. The way he operates is by deception, which means the Devil specializes in saying things that sound true. He's slick with it. He says it in such a way that you don't even know it's him saying it.
When the Devil talks, it sounds like your voice, doesn't it? When the Devil talks, it sounds the same way as when God talks, because it's happening inside of you. God doesn't speak to me through out-loud voices. Neither does the Devil, except sometimes when I'm watching the news and stuff. Then I hear him just right out loud. But apart from that, it's the Devil's job to keep you from even knowing. I used to read this verse… I'm going to give you an example of this. Okay? We take the Bible, and we want a verse of the day, and then we don't even read the whole verse of the day. We just want the half verse of the day, and we start going through Scripture like it's a salad bar, and I don't like radishes.
The problem with that is you'll hear a verse and think it's true, and it is true, but it's not totally true, because it said, "The truth will set you free…" How many have heard that before? Raise your hand. It didn't just say, "The truth will set you free". I noticed some of you were with me when I was reading my passage. He said, "You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free". You have to watch culture, because the Enemy will use language that is common in culture in order to get you to think you understand a concept that, really, you have become blind to the reality of.
I told my kids the other day, "Stop saying that certain celebrities got canceled in my house. I don't like the word canceled, because the fact of the matter is you use that term all the time interchangeably to mean people are saying something bad about them. I've had people say bad things about me, but I'm not canceled. I'm still called". I don't know if they're annoyed with this or not, but I don't let them say that in my house anymore. I mean, they still say it, because what am I going to do about it, but I tell them to stop. I'm just being real. "I told them they shall not, and they did not". No, no. They still do it, but I tell them, "Stop saying that".
A few years ago, I started hearing this cultural phrase. I didn't know why at first that it… It sounded good on the surface, but to me it felt like… There was something about this phrase that while it sounded very good and even scriptural on the surface… I first heard it from somebody… They said, "I have to live my truth". I didn't know why I didn't like it, because it sounds good. Right? "Be true to my values. I've got to do what I'm supposed to do". The more I thought about it… I started hearing it more and more. How many of you have heard this before? Like, "I've got to speak my truth". I think that's good if what we mean by that is "I have to share the experiences I've had in an honest way. I have to face things I've been through, and sometimes in sharing what I've been through that I used to be ashamed of, somebody else can be set free".
I think that's awesome. If that's what you mean when you say, "Live my truth" or "Speak my truth," I think it's good. I think what bothered me about it was John 8:32 where Jesus did not say, "Your truth will set you free". Put it back up. Let's check just to make sure. "Then you will know your truth…" I think why I didn't like the phrase is because it made truth sound like shoes. It made truth sound like something you can try on… It's too early in the year for this. I should be preaching something like, "You can make it. Keep your head up". It bothers me because truth is not choosable. Really, when we say, "Oh, this is my truth," what we're talking about is our belief. There's a big difference between a belief and a truth. You don't believe me? That doesn't make it untrue. What if I believed that all tall people are arrogant because I met this tall guy one time, and he was kind of prideful and cocky?
That's an experience. It's a personal experience, but that doesn't make it an absolute truth. What I'm noticing a lot of in my own life… I'm not just talking about people or culture or others. I'm not just talking about magazines or books. I'm not talking about you and your house. I'm talking about me and my heart. A lot of times, it seems like I'm tempted to turn a personal experience into an absolute truth. Have you ever had a bad haircut? Now, y'all be careful about this one, because my dad was a barber and he's in heaven, so be nice. Are barbers bad? You're like, "This is really stupid, man. We did not come all the way out here with the virus going around to hear you tell us this". No. You've done it with church before. "Oh, church people are hypocrites". No, no, no. Charlie was a hypocrite. "All men are dogs". No. Mike was a dog. It wasn't church people.
But now watch what you did. You went to a restaurant. You had a bad server, and now you decided to stop eating. You went to one church. You had a bad experience, and then you stopped… Not you. You're here. I'm not talking to you. I'm talking to them. You had one experience with failure. You set out to do something, and it didn't work, so then you turned the event, the failure, into an identity. "I'm a failure".
So, what I want to know today is…Is it a truth or is it a trap? When Jesus said, "The truth will set you free," he wasn't talking to drug lords. When Jesus said, "The truth will set you free," he wasn't talking to gangbangers. When Jesus said, "The truth will set you free," he wasn't talking to pagans. He was talking to the Jews who had believed him. He's talking to people who believe him, and he's telling them they don't have the truth. They only have a certain level of belief. There's a big difference between belief and truth. Belief is based on your experience. Truth comes from God. Beliefs can be altered. Beliefs can grow and expand and should.
Let's talk about this. There was a time in your life where most of you believed that somebody came into your house and gave you money for your teeth when they fell out. That made perfect sense to you. "This is probably worth about $5. I'll put it under my pillow". Holly got Abbey up to $10, and I cut the tooth fairy out. I just pulled her aside and said, "It's not real". It was getting too expensive. It got too expensive for me not to tell her the truth. Have you come to the point yet where it has cost you enough to be stuck in a belief about who you are and what life is and what they did? Has the Devil held you long enough? For some of us, nothing in our lives will change this year because we are not sick enough of the way it was last year. We are not sick enough of it yet. We are like the Israelites wandering in the wilderness.
Now, I studied all about this Scripture today that I'm sharing with you about these Jews who believed in Jesus enough to know that they were not immoral, ungodly addicts. This was not a case of them needing to give up their sin. It was a case of them needing to give up their story. There's a confluence in the text of what Jesus is teaching about and when he's teaching it. I really want to teach more this year. Okay? I'm fine to inspire you, but I sure don't want to get up here and just give you Christian cocaine that makes you feel high for an hour and a half and then just drops you off. I want to give you something you can carry out of here and be strengthened in faith. I want to give you food you can live off of for days. You can go back and study.
One thing about the cliches we quote is that when we understand the context… In this passage, Jesus is talking to the Jews who believed him, and he is challenging their belief that it doesn't go deep enough, which means they believed in his signs, but they did not commit to his teaching. They liked listening to his message, but it wasn't made flesh in their life. The people he was talking to were people like you and me who believed in him, but he was telling them it is possible to believe and still not be free indeed. This is one thing we all have to understand. It is impossible for you to live in a sustainable way above the level you are willing to believe God at, because eventually, you will either shrink your belief down to the level of your experience or allow God to expand your belief to the level of his promise. Which one is happening in your heart so far this year?
"I don't know yet, Pastor. It has only been a week". That's long enough. You know it about a week in. Are you shrinking what you think God can do, will do, is going to do? Are you shrinking your belief to the level of your experience or are you allowing God to raise your experience up to the level of his power? Jesus was talking to the Jews who believed in him, and he said, "If you hold to my teaching and be my disciples, then you'll know the truth, and the truth will set you free".
I remember one January when I was a little boy I walked in on my mom and dad… Oh, hold on. I walked in, and my mom and dad were… How many of y'all remember Jane Fonda VHS workout tapes? They were watching Jane Fonda VHS workout tapes and…this is the kicker…eating a bowl of ice cream. It scarred me for life. I walked in and saw them watching Jane Fonda, eating ice cream. I will never forget that. I can't remember my kids' names most days in the correct order, but I will never forget watching them watch a workout eating ice cream.
Now I think about it every time I preach, because I wonder, "Will this work if you just watch me do it"? I don't even look as good as Jane Fonda. I'm not even that attractive. I'm not wearing tights for y'all, yet there is a sense in which we live… Now this is the lie. This is how crafty the Devil is. "If you knew more, you could do more". Nuh-uh. He didn't say, "If you would know more truth, it would set you free". He said, "If you hold to my teaching, you will be my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free".
So, if I knew, I would do. No, no, no. If you would do, you would know. How many of you have had the thought in the last two years, "I just don't know what to do"? You've thought that. "I don't know what to do". Everybody whose hand didn't go up when I asked that question, I need to have a consultation with you either to cast out that devil of lying or to pay you to tell me the future. I'm going to ask again, because I think y'all are asleep on me. How many of you have had the thought, "I just don't know what to do"? Raise your hand. Raise it online. All right. Yes, you do. You know what to do with the truth you have been given, but we don't want to hold to the teaching Jesus gave us when it's hard to hear or when it makes us confront ourselves. He said to the Jews who believed in him, "You are so addicted to the lies you don't want to hold on to the truth".