Lie of the Enemy #1 of infinity

We were singing, ‘there is no one like our God’ and I couldn’t help but wonder if that was true. Not, was it true in the sense of fact, but was it true in our hearts?

How do we value God? Is He the most important thing in our lives? Be careful how you answer that… the enemy may be lying to you.

Is God more important than money? Yes, I give 10%

Is God more important than family? Yes, we vowed before Him and put Him first.

Is God more important than career? Yes, I take off on Sundays.

Is God more important than my social life? Yes, I go to church.

Maybe you answer those questions differently? Before we go any further, lets consider my baseball card collection from grade school. I was a big Dale Murphy fan.

My dad gave me his rookie card and it was by far, both, my favorite and the highest valued card of my collection. If I stood any other single card against it, Dale would win out every time. Not only was he my childhood hero, but the Beckett price guide also said the card was better. Priced higher than every single card. None could stand against.

Until one day, something I hadn’t expected happened. I was offered a trade. This trade was different. It wasn’t for another card. That was easy. No one card could beat out my Dale. This was for lots of cards.

In terms of dollars and cents, I had previously been comparing 1 dollar cards, 5 dollar cards, 10 dollar cards… one by one, individually against the mighty 50 dollar rookie card of my favorite ball player. It made sense mathematically and it made sense in my heart… I wasn’t going to part with the Murph!

But the game changed. Now I’m looking at a sea of cards offered up before me. Some are worth a few dollars… some are common cards worth very little. A couple are more coveted… but the grand total was concerning. All the cards together were worth far more than my one card. Even though my one card was more than each individual card, it couldn’t hold weight against the sum of ALL the other cards.

Now I’m at conflict with myself. Financially it’s smart to let go of my prized possession. But it made my heart hurt to think about losing such a gift from my dad. This card was special. Torn, I had to ponder the transaction. It wasn’t easy, but I passed on the offer.

You see, that card had two currencies. There was the going market rate, and then there was this weight in my heart. And that second value, even though it didn’t make sense to most, was more valuable to me than any one else could afford.

Today, while my entire baseball card collection has completely vanished over the years, Dale Murphy stills sits proudly on my shelf as a memory to good years gone by.

We can get lost in the numbers, can’t we? Is God more important than money? How do we answer that? Satan says if we give our 10%, we are good. He wants us to feel generous. Because when we feel generous, we can reason that we have done enough. We can stamp our name on the day and feel like we owned it. Worse, we can turn to ourselves and begin portioning out towards our own desires. After all, we did put God first… right?

But the lie is that we are lining up God against one thing at a time. Sure He is worth more than 10%. But are we even trying to make any other transactions? Is He worth more than 20%? 30%? 90%?

Let’s table money for a second. What about relationships? Careers? Pride? Status? Is God greater than ALL of those things… or just portions of them?

This is the lesson I learned form cardboard transactions so many years ago. At some point, when things stack up high enough, the value shifts. So it’s important to consider that just because no one thing is like God… could many things take His place?

Maybe we can walk away from a single promotion or a bad friend… or even a bunch of possessions. But can we do all of that? The amazing truth is that Jesus placed us higher than everything. All of everything all at once.

He left God, He left heaven. Once among His beloved on earth, He left family, He left career, He left friends, He left home or any potential for stability, He left status, He left pride, He left His own desires.

When Jesus weighed us against the mighty, overflowing, lopsided offer from the enemy… it made no logical sense to choose us. He could have had food after 40 days of starvation. He could have been given every worldly possession. He could have aborted His plan, gone home, and left us to fend for ourselves. At every turn, He simply said, It’s not a fair transaction.

The enemy asked for too much. Jesus was not willing to let go of His cherished people no matter what offer came His way. Jesus dealt with the second value that comes from the heart. Our face value is minuscule. Given our difficulties in obedience, it may even be quite low. One sinner on the open market may not carry any value at all.

But Jesus desires us with His heart. It’s not about the value we can bring, not even collectively… It’s about His love for us. When we were on the bartering table, Jesus traded in everything. He gave it all.

So the question has to be asked. What would we do for Him? Is there really no one like Him? That is important, because the more rare an item is, the more unique, and the more sought after… the more value it has. I.E. the more we must give up to receive it. Let that sink in for a second… To Jesus… we are extraordinarily valuable.

What is He valued at to us? 10%? Church each week? This isn’t intended to beat anyone up… the goal here is to open our eyes to the lies of the enemy. The enemy will whisper that you have done enough. You have given. You have sacrificed. You have loved… but in reality, we just keep choosing one card at a time and trying to compare them to our Savior. When what we should be doing, is holding God against the entire deck of cards.

The relationship changes when it costs everything. It’s one of many ways that I know God won’t leave me. He paid too much. He showed His hand. I am loved and cherished by the almighty God.

The lie is in the question. Is God worth more than money? Is He worth more than ego? Is He worth more than any one thing or ideal? It’s a deceptive question at best. It soothes us into small nibbles of victory that aren’t rightfully ours. Satan wants us to keep propping up inflated cards, one at a time, and measuring our deeds by worldly standards against our Savior. If we can love Jesus more than peanut butter and jelly, we can feel good about ourselves and ignore the more pressing questions listed below.

When Jesus called the disciples, they didn’t leave 10% of their fishing gear and lug the rest all over the earth following Him. No, they got up and walked away from EVERYTHING. Poles, worms, string, lures, jobs, family, friends,… they sort of did what Jesus did for them. That’s what a reciprocating relationship does. We may not be able to match the priceless gifts of Jesus… but our hearts can tell the whole story.

Does He own that second part of the equation linked to our hearts? Can we process that logical math and still turn down offers because we just love Him too much? Can we turn our backs to the full assault of the enemy and his lies because life would be too painful if we lost our prized possession? What is your treasure? What do you hold that nothing, not anything, not even everything can convince you to let go of?

Is there anyone or anything like our God?

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Why Don’t Bank Robbers Steal Tacos?

Imagine, if you will, that you are a lover of money. Your heart’s true desire is to amass lots of wealth. With that in place, I’m going to claim you have chosen a life of surrounding yourself with bank robbers. Why? Bank robbers don’t steal tacos. They rob banks. By definition, their ‘profession’ is to steal money, the thing you hold most dear.

By choosing money, you automatically align yourself against the very opponent to that thing. In other words, you can’t choose to love money AND remove yourself from the stealers of money. They go hand in hand. For every desire of value, there is someone else that wants to take that thing.

If you were to say that Jesus Christ is the desire of your heart, then by default, you are inviting in the enemy of Jesus Christ to attempt to take away all of the good things that decision brings.

This occurred to me when I was contemplating all of the hardship I’m seeing in believers. Sickness, loss, marriages struggling, relationships suffering, pain, grief, loneliness, and so much more. Does this mean God doesn’t love us or He isn’t there? No! It means that bank robbers rob banks.

The enemy goes where there is something to steal. If there is nothing to steal, he has no reason to go there. So if I were to look around the church or the family, or the work place… and there is no antagonist, maybe that should raise a flag?

This is a question for thought… can we do the work of God and yield no opposition? Jesus certainly found opponents. The sound of tears, the comforting hugs, extra prayers for those struggling, in an eerie way, it almost feels like home.

Think of a soldier who earnestly wishes to fight the enemy. He wants to bring about peace and he sincerely wants to protect innocent people from the battle, so he rushes to fight in hopes of ending the conflict quickly. Where does he go? To have coffee with friends? Does he hide in a safe place? I think He runs to the front lines of the biggest battle. He follows the sounds of war in hopes of finding the enemy.

It’s in this vein we need to discern the effects of our adversary. He doesn’t waste much time where there isn’t anything of value to take. In my opinion, we can relent the effects of a fallen world, or we can breathe in deeply knowing that we aren’t pushing the enemy back if he isn’t present in our work. If I don’t sense fear in the enemy… I’m not following in the footsteps of our Savior.

Analogies have their flaws. In this one there is a strong difference between bank robbers and the Devil. If a robber steals all of my money, I have none. It’s a simple math problem seen countless times on Sesame Street. If I have 10 cookies and Cookie Monster eats all 10 cookies, how many do I have left? None! My 5 year old knows that.

But when the enemy of Christ steals my loved ones, messes with my marriage, turns my friends against me, takes my job, and ruins my life… what do I have left? Everything.

I still have everything. Everything of value anyway. This is perhaps the biggest lie the enemy can muster. He can’t take anything that actually has value. Just like the bank robber, he only goes where he can profit… but unlike anything else in history… he can only actually take, what you freely give.

Take heart in the presence of the enemy. He WANTS to take everything away from you. But he can’t when we stand behind the Christ He actually wants to steal you from. Don’t be low hanging fruit for the Devil’s pleasure. It’s a trap, a lie, and a con all rolled into one. Speak the name, ‘Jesus!’ and bask in the gift that cannot be taken.


Photo by Miguel Andrade on Unsplash