Don’t fall for these three lies

Image: Don’t fall for these three lies

From the beginning, Satan has been trying to draw people away from God using clever tricks.

In the story of Genesis 3, the Serpent told three lies. Three twistings of truth that pushed the buttons of the first humans, and led them to step away from the good love of their creator. His tactics haven’t changed much over the years…

Lie #1: “Did God really say…?”

This lie was subtle. Clever. All the Serpent had to do was twist one word, and he completely changed the meaning of God’s command. That one word cast doubt on the whole of God’s love for his people. It changed God from loving provider into harsh fun-stealer.

God’s initial command was simple: “the fruit of every tree is yours, except that one” (see Genesis 2:16-17). When the Serpent turned up, he turned God’s “every” into “nothing”: “Did God really say ‘you must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” (Genesis 3:1). In that one word, God went from being the extravagantly generous Creator, to being the miserly God who didn’t want his humans to have any fun at all.

The same lie is at work today. One of the temptations we face is to see God’s “every … except” as the Serpent’s “Nothing … and none.” In relationships: God’s plan for sex within a loving, covenant marriage gets twisted into a boring “missing out on all the fun”. God’s plan for church and friendships that put other people’s needs above our own gets twisted into “what about me?” God’s idea of love gets turned into hate. The Serpent wants us to see nothing except what we’re missing out on. Not the beautiful garden with its generous provision. Not the loving God who sent Jesus for our sake. He wants us to see the imaginary bad old man who just wants to make our lives miserable.

Lie #2: “You won’t certainly die…”

This was a flat-out contradiction of God. When God placed his creatures in his garden, he gave them everything they needed - including a warning. “you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” (Genesis 2:17). God was honest about the consequences: “If you do this, then that will happen. Death will come from disobedience.”

With lie number 2, the Serpent erased consequences. He got rid of cause and effect. Guilt-free action. No pay-off for our rebellion. Adam & Eve can do whatever they want, and death won’t result. “What was God talking about?” he was saying “You won’t surely die…” (Genesis 3:4).

Today, we’re enticed away from God’s goodness by the same, dumb lie: “Do what you want! There are no consequences to what you do.” Hook-up culture lies to us about sex without the damage that comes later. Porn lies to us with its promise of sexual gratification without any negative side-effects. “Me first” lies to us with the promise of fulfilment in being entirely selfish. Consumerism lies by making us think “more stuff” equals “more happy”. Good things are offered to us as idols of worship - with the false promise that you can walk away from God with no ill effects or consequences.

As we saw later in Genesis, there were consequences to Adam & Eve’s disobedience. Death entered the world, just as God had promised it would. The relationship between God and people was broken. The relationships between people were broken. The relationships between people and the earth was broken, too. Our own disobedience of God carries with it consequences, just as God promised. Don’t let Lie #2 tell you otherwise.

Lie #3: “You will be like God…”

The Serpent enticed the first people with a false promise: the promise of immortality and godlike power. “You will be like God…” is a powerful lie (Genesis 3:5). It’s the lie that humans can be the masters of their own destiny. The lie that humans have within them the divine ability to determine their own truth and life. The lie that people can somehow be their own gods. Alone. 

This lie is so incredibly attractive. How easy it is to make ourselves the ultimate gods of our own existence! We decide what we think is true. We decide what we think is right and wrong. We decide where we want to go with our lives. We decide what to make of our own worlds. We are the ultimate authority of our own making. If we meet anyone who disagrees, then we cut them out. Block them. Press the mute button.

The problem with this lie is that it can weave itself around our hearts until it’s way too late. One day, the Bible promises that we will face the real God. The one who really is true. The one who really decides what is right and wrong. The one who has taken our lives where He wanted them to go. The one who made this world we live in. The one who is the true Ultimate Authority. We can block him out for a time, but the day will come when we can’t ignore him anymore.

Don’t fall for the three lies. Spend time in God’s word. Meet the God who is good. Meet the God who is love. Meet Jesus, who paid the penalty we deserve because we all fell for these lies in the first place. 

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