SATAN IS THE FATHER OF LIES, Jesus said. And there is one lie responsible for more pain and regret than any other lie. It may be a lie you are acting on right now. This lie always costs. It is a terrible lie yet we believe it over and over.
The lie motivated Eve’s disobedience towards God. It motivates every sexual sin. It is behind every broken marriage. People would not steal if they did not believe this lie. They would not become addicts, or materialists, or hedonists (lovers and pursuers of pleasure), or power mongers. Christians would not neglect doing what God says to do except they believe the lie. This is the lie: There can be greater happiness and fulfillment outside of God’s will than in it. It sounds so simple, almost harmless, but it is always costly for those who live by it.
Wasn’t it this lie that Eve believed? “God knows that in the day you eat the fruit you will be like him, knowing good and evil,” Satan said. Eve saw “that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom”, so she took some and ate it (Genesis 3:6). The reason people steal, for example, is that they believe the theft will give them more. They will end up with less. They will have less of things like a clear conscience, satisfaction in what they have, peace of mind, and joy. They will have less, or nothing, in heaven. The worst thing is that when we live by the lie we have less of God.
God is opposed to the proud, James reminds us. He gives grace to the humble. This is why God lamented, “I am the LORD who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go. If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would be like a river, your well-being like the waves of the sea” (Isaiah 48:17, 18). Living the lie robs us of God’s best, his peace and a sense of well-being. His ways may seem hard but God calls us to faith. He calls us to believe him and not the lie. Are you and I doing anything based on the lie, the lie that we will be happier and more fulfilled outside of God’s will?