October 4, 2016

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Many Christians struggle with great insecurities and fears because they have been listening to the lies of the devil. He makes them insecure about their body, their wealth, the car they drive, and the job they have. He says they must have this and that to be successful and accepted.


We have a whole society built on lies. We have lies about what is beautiful, lies about what it means to be successful, lies about God, lies about creation, etc. Scripture says the evil one is the prince of this world (John 14:30).


Why does he lie?

He lies because he ultimately wants to harm us and keep us from walking in the calling that God has for us. These lies sometimes come from people who love us, sometimes it may come from our family, sometimes it comes from our churches or friends. Certainly, it comes from the media that we entertain ourselves with.


This is important for us to understand as leaders, not only because the enemy will attack us with lies, but also, because we will be constantly ministering to people who have been lied to. They have accepted the lies of the enemy and are stuck in a spiritual trap (cf. 2 Tim 2:26). We will have to identify the lie and impart the truth of God’s Word to minister to them. We must be able to identify the lies of the devil.

Discernment comes from knowing the Word of God.

Listen to what Hebrews says:

Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.
Hebrews 5:13-14


The writer of Hebrews is describing the church as spiritual infants because they lived on “milk” and not the solid food of the Word. He said that the believers had not matured because they did not constantly “use” Scripture and therefore struggled with distinguishing between good and evil, just like an infant.


In the context of Hebrews, they were being tempted to go back to the Jewish law, and he writes to show them that the New Covenant is so much better. Christ is better than Moses; Christ is better than angels; Christ is better than the High Priest. They couldn’t discern this because of their lack of spiritual maturity and therefore were being drawn back into the Old Covenant.


With that said, numerous Christians are like this because they don’t constantly use the Word of God. They use it on Sundays when somebody preaches it and maybe they read it on occasion, but they don’t know how to apply it because they don’t constantly use it. Therefore, they lack discernment and are prone to be deceived by Satan’s lies.


They have no discernment in their dating relationships. They have no discernment about how to respond when mistreated. They can’t discern what’s best for their future or their career because they haven’t developed a mature understanding of the Word of God. This opens the door for many deceptions from the enemy.



In the context of spiritual warfare, Paul calls for believers to put on the belt of truth, which is probably referring to the truths of Scripture. Ephesians 6:14 says, “Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist.”



In ancient armor, it was the belt that held all the other pieces together. Therefore, in knowing the Word of God—God’s truth—one will be protected from many of the enemy’s attacks. This is true primarily because one wouldn’t be fooled by many of the enemy’s lies.

Are you keeping on the belt of truth? By constant use of it, you will be able to discern the lies of the devil.

What else will help us gain discernment?

  1. Discernment comes from understanding human nature.

Consider what was said about Christ in John 2:23-25:

Now while he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many people saw the miraculous signs he was doing and believed in his name. But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all men. He did not need man’s testimony about man, for he knew what was in a man.



This text says many people believed in Christ but that he did not entrust himself to them because he knew all men. In verse 25, the apostle John is telling us why Christ did not entrust himself to them. The reason was not based on his “omniscience” but his “doctrine of man.” He said it was because Christ knew what was in a man.



Jesus understood that even though the crowds were following him, the heart of man is deceitfully wicked. He knew people were following him for food and for healing but not really for who he was. He knew that men were prone to run after a person who did something sensational, though they were not truly committed. Christ didn’t entrust himself to these crowds because he understood the nature of man.



This is something that we need to understand as well to develop discernment. We need to understand the nature of man, the fickleness of man. Certainly, we learn this from looking at our own hearts and how we are tossed to and fro in our passions and our dreams. The person who seeks to understand himself will have a great understanding of man. But, it is also developed through studying the nature of man in Scripture. Men are like sheep that are constantly prone to go astray (cf. Isaiah 53:6). Man is prone to rebel against God and the things of God (cf. Rom 8:7).



This may seem cynical, but it is true. Christ didn’t commit to the crowds because he knew the nature of man. We are prone to go astray.


If we better understood the nature of man, it would keep us from disappointment when friends, family, or church members fail us. This understanding would also help us put our hope all the more in God.


While in seminary, I asked my professor how he kept from discouragement when people in his congregation fell away from God or when friends he served with in ministry stumbled into sin. I asked how he stayed strong. At that time, the church where I was youth pastoring was going through a split, and I was very discouraged. He responded with this, “I have a strong theology of sin.” Essentially, he said, “I understand man’s sin nature, and I also understand Satan and temptation. This helps me minister to people and not become discouraged.” He understood man.


Discernment comes from prayer.

This is what Paul prayed, for the church of Philippi:

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ.
Philippians 1:9-10


He prays for their love to abound in knowledge and depth of insight, so that they could discern what was best. The word “discern” is used of a metallurgist testing a metal to see if it was real. God wants us to have wisdom to test and see what is genuine and what is best. This comes through prayer.


Many Christians have an unwise, undiscerning love, which gets them in all kinds of trouble. They love lots of things which actually keep them from what is best. Paul is teaching that we need discernment with our love. “Following our heart” can actually get us in a lot of trouble. We often see people on TV say, “Just follow your heart.” I want to say, “No! Don’t follow your heart.” Get wisdom for your heart, and one of the ways we do this is by praying for wisdom (cf. James 1:5, Phil 1:9-10).


Many Christians commonly fall to the lies of the devil because they lack discernment.


Are you a discerning Christian? Are you seeking to grow in discernment? We need it because we have an enemy who, from the beginning, has used the weapon of deception. We need it to protect ourselves and also to help minister to those who are trapped in some deception of the enemy.


God bless from


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