unsplash-logoAdam Birkett
unsplash-logoAdam Birkett

The battle for truth continues to be on the frontlines of our society today, a battle we engage in daily (whether we realize it or not). Mocking the blatant partisanship of political talk shows, where both sides relentlessly spin their own version of truth, cable television host Stephen Colbert coined the term “truthiness,” which became Merriam-Webster’s word of the year in 2006. This blatant erosion of objective truth and blurring of the lines between truth and deception infects every crevice of society, which is why spiritual warfare rages so heavily around us. Here are some examples of common deceptions that Christians fall for far too often, all variations of “truthiness”:

It’s okay if it makes you happy. For many of us, our own happiness becomes the gauge of whether something is right or wrong. We falsely assume that God’s main goal in existence is to make us happy, that He would never allow us to be unhappy for any reason, so if something makes us happy it must be right for us. This subtle yet dangerous lie makes our own happiness, not God and God’s Word, the ultimate definition of right and wrong. Many people do the wrong thing because in their minds it makes them happy and therefore must be right.

The more stuff you get the happier you’ll be. This ‘truthiness’ bombards us hundreds of times each day as we walk past, watch and hear advertisement after advertisement, hawking their products that subtly promise to somehow fill the gaping hole in our lives. Why are Americans in so much credit card debt? Because we’re trying to be happy, and companies have promised us that if we by their products, we’ll be happier. Jesus himself wisely said centuries ago that life does not consist in the abundance of our possessions (Luke 12:15).

You are the center of your own universe. This subversive lie pervades almost every aspect of our society. From birth, we are bombarded with the idea that we are the center of our own universe, which justifies almost any action as long as it is seen to benefit us in some way. When our universe begins to orbit around us, our universe becomes small, petulant, and ultimately insignificant. Our life begins to take meaning only when we begin to orbit ourselves around someone much bigger than ourselves (God), but that’s not what the enemy would have us to believe.

Life is about today. Give no thought to your consequences. One of the most famous tourism ads in modern times was about visiting Las Vegas, and it was built around a lie, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” It feeds into the false assumption that you can live without consequences, that you can engage in sexual immorality without sexually transmitted diseases, unwanted pregnancy or the emotional carnage that follows sexual sin. This lie tempts you to live for the moment and live like consequences don’t exist. The only problem is, consequences do exist. And for most of you, living for the moment has led to the greatest regrets and the greatest consequences of your life.

You’re not hurting anyone. You can stop anytime you want. No one will ever know. This trio of lies feeds our addictive behaviors and allow us the justification needed to engage in destructive addictions for far too long. The truth is addictions always hurt not just you but those you love the most. You can’t stop anytime you want. That’s why you’re addicted. And the truth will always come out. You’re not as slick or as secretive as you think you are. The power of lies is what fuels our destructive addictive behaviors, and only when we embrace the truth will we begin to be set free.

I can’t forgive until they pay for what they did. We carry so much hurt around with us because we buy into the lie that we can’t forgive someone until they pay for their actions. It seems to make sense, but in the end it only hurts us. That pain and unforgiveness that we can’t let go of until “they pay” becomes the seeds of bitterness that will lodge themselves deep inside our souls and become a cancer inside of us. If we hold to our own twisted logic of forgiveness rather than embracing the truth that Scripture teaches about forgiveness, anger and bitterness will destroy everything good in our lives. You can think of a person right now whose life has been eaten away by bitterness and unforgiveness. It never hurts the offender as much as it hurts the one who can’t forgive. That’s what happens when we allow the world’s truth or ‘truthiness’ to guide our lives rather than God’s truth. We always get hurt in the end.

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