Deceive: Middle English: from Old French deceivre, from Latin decipere 'catch, ensnare, cheat'. to lead another into error, danger, or a disadvantageous position by underhand means. Deceive involves the deliberate misrepresentation of the truth: "We are inclined to believe those whom we do not know, because they have never deceived us" -Samuel Johnson Taken from the American Heritage Dictionary.
Are you deceived? Do you believe lies about yourself? If you do you are deceived twice! Once by the enemy of our souls who wishes to ensnare you and lead you away from a meaningful relationship with God, the father and once by yourself because you restate the lies making them your own words and wounder of your own soul. Harsh words? Yes, but true and I want you to hear the harsh words in hopes it will destroy the deception in you! John 8:44 tell us that the devil is a murderer, has nothing to do with the truth, a liar, and the father of lies. This means he is very skilled at it, so much so that the quote above by Samuel Johnson could end by saying "or have deceived us so greatly as to convince us we have never before been deceived" because we act as if we should trust Satan when we hear him, but Satan's goal is to deceive you and murder you! Maybe not physically, but every time you believe a lie about yourself you are killing a part of yourself and every time you repeat it you are helping to murder yourself. Still harsh huh?
I am being harsh. The reality of lies is ugly, disgusting, and ends in death, but what I’m really here to talk to you about is life! I want you to live, be healthy, and be the you, you were created to be. That starts with discovering the truth, which illuminates the lies.
So what about you? How do you know if you are deceived? The very idea of being deceived is that you don’t know! But God knows, your friends usually know, and sometimes inside we have a little tiny voice that says “I know”. The first thing is to turn to God and ask him to reveal the truth to you and to protect you as you see the truth, it may be painful. Ask God to show you how he sees you and accept it. The second thing is to analyze your words. Do you hear yourself say things like “I’m stupid”, “I’m not smart enough to do that”, “I’m ugly”, “I’m not the kind of person people want to be friends with”, “I hate myself”, “ I can’t do anything right”, “no one would even know if I was alive or not”, “no one would even care if I died”. Do you start sentences with “ I don’t want to be a bother”, “I’m sure this isn't right but,”, “It’s ok if you don’t want to listen to me but,” “I’m so plain, but” , I’m so ugly but,” you get the idea. If you hear yourself say these things repent! Turn to God and confess it. Try saying something like “God, I hear myself say…and I think I believe it, I must because I say it. Please forgive me for speaking such lies over myself and for speaking such untruths about something you have created. I know you made me in your image and designed me to be the way I am and thank you for it and I don’t want to give a false impression of You or of me. Help me to let go of the lies and to continue to recognize them and confess them. Heal my heart and mind Lord, and let me be the me, you made me to be. Amen” Thirdly talk about it, find a trusted friend or a counselor and help them point out the truth and lastly ask God what else you should do to be able to walk in the truth.
One practical way of stopping yourself from talking "smack" about yourself is to just say “thank you” and shut-up! (I know, harsh again) What do I mean? When someone compliments you do you start telling them all the reasons that it can’t be true? Do you even add on things that weren't part of the original compliment, just so they have “proof” that they are wrong? Do you feel ashamed by the kind words, embarrassed, hurt, scared? If so these are signs of a lie somewhere and you are in danger of propagating it! So the next time someone compliments you say “thank you” and then put your lips together and hold them there. If it feels impossible start praying in your head while you keep your lips closed and ask God to keep your mouth closed and change your belief system about yourself and probably about Him. You will find that it becomes easier and easier and after a while, you might believe them.
Next time we will talk about accepting the truth. In the meantime spend time asking God for his comfort and remember that you are precious to Him no matter what anyone has ever told you. Ask God to show you the lies you have believed and ask God to let you know when a lie is spoken from others so that you can say to yourself “ahh, that’s a lie, whatever. I know the truth.” And let it go. In the next two weeks as you learn to find the lies and accept that they are lies you will be preparing you heart to move on to accepting the truth. I’m pulling for you. I want you to be the best you, you can be!