The biggest and most fundamental lie that Satan and his demons promote – both to believers and non-believers alike is this: that there is something more important right now than seeking relationship, intimacy and communion with God through Jesus Christ and the fulness of the Holy Spirit. We could call this lie the lie to promote distraction from relationship with God. If someone persists in an undistracted relationship with God for more than a few days Satan’s losses already will be immense. Satan knows this and tries every tactic from the extremely subtle to the grossly violent and ugly to get our eyes of Jesus and the love of God which we can enjoy through being right now filled with the Holy Spirit.
Satan uses different ‘somethings’ in this strategy to keep us from “the intimate knowledge of God”. To a Christian, Satan would not usually be so bold as to suggest that these things were more important than knowing God. But he will suggest that “for now”, or, “right now”, “this or that is more important than knowing God”.
Here are some. I am sure you could add to this list.
Financial Independence – I’ve been deceived by this myself. The idea is: “first get financially independent, and then concentrate on hearing from God, preaching the gospel or fulfilling your call”. Why postpone an intimate relationship with God for the sake of riches which can easily “make themselves wings and fly away”? A non-believer once said to me, “First you have to make money, then you have the time to think about gracious living”. What a lie.
Career – “For they all seek after their own interests, not those of Christ Jesus”. We can easily succumb to this lie that our career is more important than our relationship with God. The gospels reveal that we have to lay down personal ambitions to follow Christ. For me it meant laying down the ambition to be a great computer scientist. For others it may mean giving up a sporting career, a life of fame, the acclaim of peers at work, or whatever.
Its fine to have a job, and it is required that we work at something (if we want to eat). Some work at preaching and teaching the Word of God, others at administration. Hopefully our work comes out of our relationship with God. We need to believe we are in the place God set us. Otherwise, what are we doing there?
Pleasure – let’s face it – the world is after better sex, better entertainment and more pleasure. “What’s the harm in that?” Pleasure can be a gift from God, but more often than not it is loved more than God in our day (2 Timothy 3:1-5) and this is idolatry. For a Christian, the thought can be to indulge in pleasures forbidden by God, and repent later. When will we learn that only God satisfies our hearts? I used to love computer games, even as a Christian teacher. I would put off my relationship with God to spend a few more hours trying out my wits at some turn-based strategy game. Suddenly the game became more important than being full of God, and the Holy Spirit’s presence was quenched and grieved by my pre-occupation with worldly things. Television is a major idol in the majority of Christian homes in America and it accounts for a lot of the sin in the church.
Self – we are not more important than God or his purposes for our lives. We are not our own, if we are Christians. We have been bought with a price.
I expect I’ll need to write a lot more on this section in the future.