Tactic #4: Condemnation and Lies

God hates you.
Believe it or not, I’ve actually heard this.  From a church.  There’s this church in Kansas called Westboro Baptist that has been so warped by religious judgmental thinking that they actually believe God hates people, and they carry signs around that declare this and other absurd distortions about God and His message.

The sad truth is, when you get mired in sin, you hear things like this in your head.  God’s mad at you.  He’s tired of you.  You keep screwing up because you’re a loser.  A hopeless loser.  And God is tired of you and has given up.  All this talk about the fear of God is true, because God’s finally given up on you.  You are worthless.

But here, this will make you feel better.  Take a look at this pretty lady’s website.  I know it’s not the best, or what you really want, but I can get you something better if you come back tomorrow.

Am I exaggerating?  If you think so, then you must be doing pretty well in your spiritual walk, and I exhort you to maintain it.  Because for those of us who have failed in some area of sin for any length of time, at some point we have felt this way.  It’s hopeless.  I’ll never change, and God is tired of me messing up.  He might forgive me, but He doesn’t really care about me like He does all those other Christians who don’t do what I’ve done.  (Like those ones in Kansas…they must have never sinned in their lives to be carrying signs like that…I wish I was as good as them)

A lot can be said about condemnation; we hear it from other people, from spiritual forces, and from ourselves.  Condemnation’s goal is to convince you of things about God or yourself that aren’t true, and then drive you into depression, self-loathing, rebellion, and apathy as a result.  The most important truth that you must hear, however, is that none of it is true.  This is not who God says you are.  It is not what He sees in you.  And it’s not who He is.  The way you will know and believe this deep in your heart–not just hear and acknowledge it–is to pursue God’s word with more passion than you have pursued your sin.

God does forgive us.  He hasn’t given up.  You can change, and He wants to help you do it.  You have hope.  I can go on and on, but you won’t believe it for long until you have God’s word inside you, reminding you that it’s true.  In the armor of God in Ephesians, the only offensive weapon is the sword–the word of God.  Maybe you’ve heard that before.  Listen to it this time!  If I speak a Bible verse to myself in a moment of discouragement, I am fighting against the enemy.  If I declare a verse about forgiveness and repentance, or mercy, or God’s love, or against fear, I am fighting the enemy.  And I’m fighting him in the only way that will work.  Willpower doesn’t work.  Trying hard doesn’t work.  And don’t misunderstand, but accountability doesn’t “work” either.

We’ll get into that more later, so please don’t run off and tell your pastor what a loon I am.  Because accountability is important, and if you’ve never told anyone about your addiction, I’ll tell you right now that you need to do so urgently; it is absolutely vital.  For one, it will quickly dispel the notion that no one else struggles with this.  It’s shocking how many people still believe that.  The porn industry makes over $11 billion dollars a year.  That’s more than all four major professional sports, combined.  Other surveys have found discouraging percentages of pastors who struggle with pornography.  The point is, we need to win the battle, and too many people are losing and are discouraged about it, and the enemy is lying to them and condemning them for it.

But accountability doesn’t “work” in the sense that, if I go join an accountability group, then I’ll beat my porn addiction.  It doesn’t “fix” the problem.  It is a part of a much more holistic and deeply rooted heart-changing process that must take place.  Since we live in an ‘instant’ culture, some people have been deluded into thinking there are quick fixes for things like addiction.  Sorry to burst your delusion, but God wants you to walk with Him for a lifetime.  A lifetime.  He wants your whole life.  You can give Him your heart right now, completely.  It’s called “taking up your cross,” which Jesus says we need to do daily.  Once you do, He will help you fight to let Him keep it.  But it is a fight.  A fight you will win.

And the first and best way to learn to fight this battle is to know your Bible.  If you don’t like the idea of spending time there, then go back and read the Introduction and the 13 Reasons to Want Freedom, because you didn’t make the right decision after reading them.  Freedom is a serious business.  In fact, another lie of the enemy is that you don’t have time to read the Bible.  Yes you do.  Make time.  If it’s your top priority, you will make time for it.  You will turn off the TV, shut down the internet, turn off the iPod, and spend a good ten, twenty, thirty, or forty-eight minutes reading, thinking, and praying about God’s word.  Is thirty minutes better and more “holy” than ten minutes?  Compared to zero, they’re both infinitely better.  Learn to use your weapons.  One of my all time favorite verses:

II Cor 10:4
For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the tearing down of fortresses. (NAS/NT Transline)

I love the word ‘tearing down,’ because it implies a process.  The fortress doesn’t blow up instantly, but it is going to come down one piece at a time, and nothing is going to stop it.  Our weapons are not in our minds (sorry, there is no ‘Force’), they aren’t in our hands, and they certainly aren’t in our hearts.  Our weapons are the word of God being spoken out of our mouths in faith, and planted inside our hearts.  Use them, and you won’t get discouraged when the enemy lies to you.