“He [Satan] was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” — John 8:44
Are you a liar? Yes, I’m talking to you. And yes, I’m talking to myself, too. And if we’re really honest with ourselves, our answer will likely be, “yes.”
When we entertain the enemy’s lies, we give him permission to own us in that moment. His lies can take many shapes, but they’re usually identity attacks on our most basic heart needs, such as acceptance, safety, significance, or worth.
When we hold onto those lies for longer than the moment it takes to dismiss them, we start to believe them. And when we start believing and agreeing with lies? We become liars by association.
Being a liar translates into two distinct applications — speaking lies and living lies. We’ll talk more about those in a moment.
But it all starts with believing lies — which simply means rejecting what we already know to be truth. Let’s dig a little deeper together.
Believing lies started back in the garden. Adam and Eve had full access to God — on-demand face time, all His good gifts, no sin, no shame… it was life as God originally intended for us, His children. Then enters conflict — a devastating but critically important part of mankind’s story.
When the serpent brought conflict into that utopia and uttered the first lie to the original ezer, Eve about her identity, so began the downward spiral of original sin that’s held humankind captive for generations.
That first manipulation of God’s truth and character, “Did God really say…” (Genesis 3:1), planted a seed of doubt in our hearts from which we have yet to fully recover. It turned us against God and against one another, giving birth to doubt, rebellion, remorse, blame, excuses, pain and shame. It’s kept us in a perpetual state of running away from God instead of toward Him.
We’ve all fallen short here. Even the most devout believers will admit they’ve entertained the enemy’s lies from time to time — and in our quest for instant gratification and quick-download wisdom, we fall short on patience with God’s timing in His revelation of truth.
When we don’t hear what we want, when we want it, we fill in the blanks — with our own lies, or with lies from the enemy. Our only hope is grace — and our only move in the battle is to to deepen our understanding of the lies we believe.
Speaking lies is the most obvious application of the lies we believe. We lie for a host of reasons. Yes, there may be a twinge of guilt at first, but as with all sin and addiction, the more we lie, the easier it becomes.
We’re willingly enslaved before we even realize it, living a life where we can’t ever measure up to the illusions of ourselves we’ve created.
Worse, we may even tell what we believe to be “righteous lies” — ones spoken with the best of intentions to preserve feelings or even create security. But those little white lies are perhaps the most dangerous of all because they seem less damaging.
Truth is, if we can tell a little lie we’re capable of a big one, too. And any lie we tell is demonstrated rebellion against God. It’s humbling, but let’s call it like it is, shall we?
For example: If we lie to cover a mistake and save face with a friend or loved one, we may start to believe that lying is a way to protect ourselves and others. Over time, the lies become a part of our life stories — and we have trouble remembering what’s true and what’s not, creating anxiety and fear of exposure.
If we know lying is wrong, why do we do it? Ultimately, we lie because want to be in control of our own lives and destinies — we want to be God, whether we realize it or not.
And when God won’t let us be in control, we get distracted by idols falsely promising more. Money, fame, security, relationships, addictions, power, sex, beauty, intellect… the list goes on. They take us right back to the first lie — the original sin in the garden — the false belief that maybe, just maybe, God is holding out on us (Genesis 3: 4-5).
If we exaggerate truth long enough, it starts to roll off of our tongues easily, as if it’s truth. And when our lies get easier to tell, we start believing them — and we start living as if they’re true.
Living out lies is typically a symptom of a lie we’ve believed or a lie we’ve spoken. When we believe lies, we eventually begin to live them out. At best, telling lies forces us into a life of unhealthy compartmentalization — living different lives in different contexts, desperately trying to belong and scrambling to keep our stories straight.
After awhile, reality starts to blur. We forget what’s true and what’s not and we embrace a false identity, resulting in a fantastical account of a false life.
For example: If we believe God is good and for us, we will live like we believe it. We will not be shaken by our circumstances, and we will know precisely where to turn for help in times of trouble.
However, if we believe the lie that He’s holding out on us in any way, we will live like we believe it. We’ll be consumed by our circumstances, not by His truth. We’ll try to find relief in our idols, and we’ll keep running away from God, our one true helper and hope.
So, what do you do with a lie? You come against it. Here’s how.
Friend, if you believe Jesus triumphed over sin and death for you and you’ve accepted Him as your savior, you have been given a powerful new identity. You are a child of God — which means the “good news” of the gospel doesn’t stop with Christ’s resurrection.
God is truth — and as children of God, we’re ambassadors of truth. We’re called to believe truth, speak truth and live out truth as part of our family legacy.
As part of God’s family, you’re invited to be a part of His in-breaking Kingdom, which is happening now. You’re not only invited to participate — you’re expected to!
Identifying and stopping lies in their tracks is something we have authority to do as beloved children of God. On our own we are powerless against the enemy, but in Christ we have a new identity, washed in truth, renamed, commissioned and qualified to overcome.
God will continually reveal more truth Himself to us, and with that knowledge comes wisdom. With wisdom comes discernment — the ability to not only identify lies, but to come against and destroy them, immediately! Trust me, don’t wait. Here are some words you might say.
The words can be simple — to be used as a breath prayer to stop lies in their tracks.
“I come against <insert lie> in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.”
For me, it usually comes out a little more cheeky — something like,
“Get away from me, satan. You are a LIAR, and you have no authority over me — a child of the living God. I come against <insert lie> in Jesus’ name.”
Whatever words you choose, speak them aloud if possible — and don’t forget to say, “in Jesus name” (that part is critical!). This will help you dismiss lies before you have a chance to entertain them — and before they have a chance to take root.
This is warfare — it’s not something you pick up overnight. And even the most experienced spiritual warriors aren’t immune to the lies of the enemy. I encourage you to give yourself grace as you figure it out and keep on your full armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18) to protect you against the enemy’s lying schemes.
TIP: Having trouble finding the words to rebuke the enemy? Call in reinforcements! Ask a friend to help you pray against the lie. We can’t bear the burden alone — that’s why God gave us a Body of Believers to tap into.
In fact — it’s often easier to identify lies in someone else’s life than in your own.
A dear friend and mentor of mine used to give it to me straight. He’d say, “Brit, that is a LIE from the pit of hell. Why are you agreeing with it?” This is why we’ve been given the incredible gift of community — the Body of Christ, His people — for support, encouragement and doubly effective discernment.
Be prepared — interceding for others through prayer, uncovering truth in scripture together, and offering wise counsel and loving challenge when a friend is believing, speaking or living a lie will inevitably reveal hidden lies in your own life. Our God is a jealous God, and he won’t share any part of your heart with the enemy. He loves you too much.
So… what lies are you believing? You may be able to easily list them. But if you’re not sure, I encourage you to ask the Father if there are any lies you’re believing, speaking or living out that are keeping you from going deeper with Him and embracing your full identity.
For me, it’s a daily prayer — I’m continually having to repent, again and again. Thankfully, God never gets tired of extending grace to me. He longs to have me turn away from lies and run back toward Him again.
You’re never in too deep. It’s never too late to repent of lies and believe the truth. God never gets tired of reminding you who you are — and whose you are.
“You’re mine, child. I love you. Believe it — and run to me.”