What we think, matters. What we think determines what we feel and what we do. We shape our thoughts and then our thoughts shape us.
We want to learn to think like Jesus.
Rejecting lies, believing the truth, walking in truth and thinking things that are true. There’s nothing more powerful than the truth. You’re greatest friend in life is the truth. God is truth.
“Human history is the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.” – C.S. Lewis
There may not be a place this applies more than in relationships. When we step outside of what God’s Word, God’s truth has for relationships, we’re left very unhappy.
“They knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God…” Romans 1:21 NLT
Worship just wasn’t that they wouldn’t come to church and sing songs, it’s talking about His worth. His worthship. When you place his worth above your own, you see him as God.
Instead of saying, “I don’t know if I agree, I don’t know if I believe that…” The question of God’s worth is, “Do you think God has the right to say what’s right and wrong?” If you don’t think he has the right to say what’s right and wrong, you’re the god. This generation in Romans 1 wouldn’t put God above them, they wouldn’t worship him.
“…or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools… As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies. They traded the truth about God for a lie.” Romans 1:21-25 NLT
The truth be known, we’re just going to dispel some lies and show you some truth. All we can do is combat what the devil tries to do in our lives. The devil has no power over you, He simply suggests something to you that is not true. He can’t make you do anything, but he can suggest it, he can tempt you.
When God suggests a thought, that’s called inspiration. When the enemy suggests a thought, that’s called temptation.
And if we believe his lies, they end up in our minds, our hearts and our relationships. Today, we’re going to talk about relationships and how this happens in relationships. The thesis statement for today’s post is this:
In order for relationships to work, let the One who designed them define them.
The Creator gets to say what the creation does. He knows best, He created you. God created marriage, family and sex. He knows how it works best. Today we’re going to walk through the issue of sexuality in our moral standard. This is a tough one that might put you on edge. The world is not afraid to talk about it, however.
Sometimes we the message from God is, “Don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t do that. Thou shalt not. Sex is dirty, ugly and bad.”
Everything about it is thou shalt not. When the truth about it is, there are scores of verses that say, “thou shalt… do…” And it’s wonderful.
In fact, let’s go to the first place where everything was perfectly the way we wanted it. God created man and woman and put them in the garden of Eden. The word Eden means pleasure and delight. It was a delightful place, a place with no shame and a place where everything that the human body and relationship could enjoy was being enjoyed. All until the lies of the devil entered.
We’ll look at Genesis 3, you can see these lies throughout scripture, the progression here is so clear. Let’s look at five lies today.
The enemy came in the form of a serpent.
“Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”
“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.” Genesis 3:1-7 NIV
They wanted to hide. Shame and hiding is where a lot of people are. By-the-way, the next few verses are beautiful as they run out of the presence of God, and God goes chasing after them. God calls out, “Where are you?”
Today what’s going to happen in this message is there will be parts of the message where you feel shame and hiding, but you’ll hear God’s voice calling out, “Where are you? I’m still here.”
God still loves you and is pursuing you today. So don’t checkout early. God’s not running from you, he’s running toward you.
In Geneses 3 there were five lies to expose. They actually happen in steps. The first feeds the second, the second feeds the third, the third to the fourth, to the fifth. Where it ends is incredibly dangerous. It’s where some of us are today.
Step 1: The devil gets us to question God’s Word
Lie: God’s Word isn’t totally true.
The first bait we take whenever we fall into a struggle with our sin is God’s word is not God’s word. Usually we feel this most when God’s word has something in there we don’t agree with or a family member doesn’t agree with.
Because, there are things in God’s word that challenge and confront all of us. It constantly calls us to places we are not. There’s a dilemma every time that happens.
Do I move God’s word to fit how I want to be? Or do I move me to fit what God’s word says?
If you’re in this place where can’t buy into that or agree with that… It’s supposed to be that way. God’s word confronts us. It moves us to a higher level of godliness. If you let God call you up and transform you, if you’ll move yourself up to that place, to the standard of God, your life will be better in the long run.
There’s a place in the New Testament where Paul, who was an apostle, was planting churches. He’s being inspired by the Holy Spirit to write letters to these churches, they make up much of the New Testament. He was writing to a church in Thessalonica and Paul was celebrating Christians for believing God’s word.
Let’s be a church that says, regardless of what happens in culture and society, we’re going to follow God.
“We also thank God continually because, when you received the Word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it, not as the word of men, but actually as it is, the Word of God, which is at work in you who believe.” 1 Thessalonians 2:13 NIV
God’s word works. But it only works when you accept it and believe it. You’re never going to know that until you accept it. If it confronts you, it’s supposed to.
“If your god never disagrees with you, you might just be worshiping an idealized version of yourself.” -Timothy Keller
Follow God wholeheartedly. Believe wholeheartedly, even though there are times when God’s word confronts us. That doesn’t cut against it being the word of God. That’s even more proof that this is not man made. This is not of me. I did not make it. It is making me.
If we buy into this first lie that God’s word isn’t totally true, then here’s the next thing that happens:
Step 2: The devil scoffs at the negative consequences of sin
Lie: That choice won’t hurt anything.
“There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.” Proverbs 14:12 NIV
This is why no one has to convince you of this. Life will do it for you. All of us have a tendency to go our own way. We’re all like sheep who go our own way. We’re prone to wander. It’s because we believed a lie.
The one who defined sexuality — God created it. God knows all about it. The one who created it, created it for good, and he also created the parameters.
It’s like building a fire. You can’t build one anywhere, it’s gotta be in a fire pit or a fireplace. It’s got to be in the right environment. Nothing damages your emotions more than sexual sin. God made you to be a sexual being. He made you a woman or he made you a man. God says that’s good. He made men to be men and women to be women. In the right environment, the sexual relationship between the two, it’s awesome.
Fire is an essential. But if you let it out of the fire place, it’s your worst day. It’ll destroy everything you own.
We’ve seen the destruction of wildfires in California and Australia and different areas. That’s not the only fire going on. There is a wild fire going through our culture, our families, our government, our churches. Because we have forgotten…
Passions need parameters
God wants to spare you this pain. Passions can be enjoyed to the fullest, if you’ll follow the one who designed it, define it.
One man, one woman in a covenant relationship called marriage. One man, one woman in marriage. That’s the fireplace. That’s the parameter. There are a lot of things outside that parameter the enemy says are fine. There are a lot of things outside that parameter our world says are fine.
God says, you’re going to get burned. Then it feeds into this next step. If you buy the lie that it won’t hurt anything, it goes to this next step where the enemy says, the reason God doesn’t want you to do it is because God’s actually bad.
Step 3: The devil accuses God of evil intent
Lie: Righteousness is boring. Sin is fun.
Now, sin is fun for a season. The Bible says there are immediate gratifications, that’s why we do it. But it’s a lie and it turns to dark places. It’s called the fleeting pleasures of sin.
“You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11 NKJV
When you follow God’s prescription you can experience marital intimacy that mankind cannot create. No drug can create. God has the best way.
The most loving thing God does is call us out of our sin.
He’s protecting, guiding and loving. If we buy into the lie that God isn’t doing what’s best through his word, we’ll begin to fall for step four.
Step 4: The devil advertises sin as beneficial
Lie: Your life will be better with you leading it.
We begin to buy into the idea that feelings can be trusted. You can’t trust feelings. We don’t follow feelings, we follow faith. We follow convictions. Feelings lie. Choices lead, feelings will follow. Start with having a life that’s surrendered to the Lord. A life that says, I don’t even belong to me. I belong to God. I’m going to follow his way even when I don’t feel it.
“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NIV
When you make choices to not watch certain things, not listen to certain things, not go certain places, not do certain things, you’ll think you’re making a sacrifice. But as time goes on, you’ll see, it wasn’t a sacrifice.
Giving up something now for something better later isn’t a sacrifice. It’s an investment.
We do this in school. We do the hard work, but later we see it wasn’t a sacrifice. It was beneficial. We do this with money. Take part of your paycheck out to put it in savings or mutual funds, later you see it wasn’t a sacrifice, it was an investment.
We do that in other areas, why not relationships? Giving up something now for something later, it’s not a sacrifice. It’s an investment in your life.
Here’s the fifth step, when they actually believed that sin was beneficial the devil than flips the script
Step 5: The devil uses sin to create shame that destroys our future relationships
Lie: It’s too late. Run and hide.
This is where he wants you. Some of you feel this shame right now. You think God is disgusted with you. That He’s over here in His holy house waiting for you to get your act together. That’s not what He did. He actually went out looking for you.
Lighting up shadows. It’s not too late and you don’t need to run and hide. Look to him for help.
“Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces.” Psalm 34:5 NLT
This is how our God responds to you. When you mess up, God receives you still. You’re never going to get help until you’re honest.
There are three possible responses to this message today.
Some will say, I was made this way, I can be who I want to be. God gives you the choice to respond that way. That’s thinking like the Devil.
When the devil fell, you can read it in Isaiah 14, this worshiping angel fell from heaven because he made three I will statements.
I will… I will… I will…
When you get into the “I Wills”, you’re going to fall.
Instead, think like Jesus. He didn’t say, “I Will.” He said, “Your Will.” The night before Jesus went to the cross, He didn’t want to go. He didn’t not want nails in his hands.
“…not my will, but yours be done.” Luke 22:42 NIV
Meaning, you agree, but you’re reading this ten years too late. You’re too far in and already made the mistakes.
You’re not too far. That remorse and condemnation is of the enemy.
“There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” Romans 8:1-2 NIV
When you come under God’s word, all these verses get to be true of you too. The verses you don’t like call you out because they’re true, but all these wonderful things get to be true of you too.
“Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” 2 Corinthians 7:10 NIV
You choose to see this the way God does, believe the same as God, and now turn around and let him lead you out of that life of sin.
Repentance is a moment of pain. Being unrepentant is a lifetime of pain.
Briefly check back on your discussion from the last week, “Defeating Discouragement.” How has 1 Corinthians chapter four and those points encouraged you over the last week?
Reminder of the points 1) Never forget God’s mercy. 2) Reject dishonesty. 3) Remember it’s not about me. 4) Use my pain to encourage others. 5) Take time for renewal. 6) Stay focused on what will last forever.
In order for them to work, we need to let the One who designed them define them.
In Genesis 3:1-7, we see five consecutive lies that the enemy uses to ultimately trap us in shame from our past. He begins with questioning God’s Word, manipulating us to believe that the Word isn’t totally true. But the truth is that while God’s Word may confront us, it’s meant to bring us closer to God’s best for our lives.
Next, Satan scoffs at the consequences associated with our sin, leading us to believe that sinful choices won’t hurt anything. But while passions are great, they need parameters.
Then Satan accuses God of evil intent, making righteousness seem boring and sin fun. In reality, the most loving thing God does is call us out of our sin.
Fourth, the devil advertises sin as beneficial and tries to convince us that life will be better if we are in control. This keeps us from believing the truth that giving up something now for something better later isn’t a sacrifice, but an investment.
Last, the devil uses sin to create shame in an effort to destroy our future relationships. But the truth is that if we turn to God for forgiveness, we can live the rest of our lives free from the pain of our past.
Discussion & Application
- When considering the five lies the enemy uses to distort God’s plan for our relationships, which do you feel you wrestle with the most?
- The lies the enemy uses are meant to produce shame in our lives instead of freedom. Where have you seen evidence of this in your past or present relationships?
- Do you find that it’s sometimes easier to defend living life making your own choices, than surrendering to God’s will?
Ask how you can pray for and support one another this week.
Father, thank You for Your grace that meets us where we are. You have shown us in Your Word that Your plan is the source of joy and fulfillment in our relationships. Allow us to see where we have believed the enemy’s lies, and help us to walk in repentance.
Take time to consider the lies the enemy uses to distract us from God’s truth and how they may be impacting your life. Don’t forget to consider Celebrate Recovery.