Satan is the Father of Lies (John 8:44). His master plan is to lie to us and get us to believe his lies. No doubt, some lies deal with issues of false doctrine. But that isn’t what I want us to consider in this series of posts. Rather, Satan sometimes realizes he can’t devour some Christians with doctrinal error. Instead, he tries something more insidious, something capable of knocking us completely off our spiritual feet. If we believe these lies, we will be taken captive and destroyed.
Lie #1: Every Other Christian is More Spiritual Than Me
Perhaps you know the feeling. Sundays are supposed to be days of uplifting encouragement. Yet, for you it may be the exact opposite. Rather, it is the day you have to get together with all those people who seem to have it all together. You see their nice clothes, beautiful smiles, and polite families and you are convinced you just don’t measure up spiritually.
Look at how they sing. Their mouths are open so wide and they look so into it. Look at how they pray. Their heads are bowed so neatly. Oh, and their whole family is holding hands. Look at how they listen to the sermons. Their Bibles are open and everything. Not to mention, they seem to know how to get to all those passages the preacher is quoting. Wow! I’m a slug. I wish I were really spiritual like them.
Oh sure, we know that everyone holds up their hands when the preacher asks, “Is anyone here a sinner?” No one holds up their hands when he asks, “Is anyone here perfect yet?” But you know folks are just responding in the way they are supposed to. “I mean, sure, no one is completely perfect, but everyone here is more perfect than me.”
Satan wants you to believe that you are only spiritual if you are more spiritual than everyone around you. Then he works hard to make you think you can never be as spiritual as all the people around you. So what do you do? You dress nice, put on your best smile, nod and say, “Amen!” You do your best to look like everyone around you, never considering that they are doing the exact same thing.
Don’t believe this for a minute. Consider the following truths.
Truth #1) We are all at varying levels of spirituality, moving forward and backward. We all have good days and bad days. And we are all bringing our A-game at the assemblies. And we all know exactly how Paul felt in Romans 7:14-24 (even though some of us argue tooth and toenail that Paul was talking about his life before becoming a Christian).
Truth #2) That person you think is so spiritually awesome and you’ll never measure up to them is probably thinking the same thing about you. I will never forget the day a sister visited me declaring that she could no longer play the game. She had been wearing a mask. She just wasn’t the spiritual person she should be and she knew that people could tell. She told me about one sister who always looked at her in a funny way. She knew this sister who looked at her in that funny way had her pegged as the unspiritual person she really was. This stood out to me because the funny-looking sister had been in my office saying the exact same thing about this sister the week before. What would have happened if these sisters had just talked to each other and shared their real struggles?
Truth #3) God doesn’t accept you based on how you compare to other Christians. He accepts you based on whether or not you are in Christ and there is no condemnation in Christ (Romans 8:1).
Truth #4) We are all growing Christians. 2 Peter 1:5-8 demonstrates we all need to increase our faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love. Do you know what that means about everyone around you? That means the person you are admiring and letting cause you anxiety lacks some faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love just like you do. That is where we all are.
Truth #5) You don’t have to compete with your brothers and sisters to gain your Father’s love. God loves you because He is love not because you are more lovable than the Christian sitting next to you (1 John 4:8).
Truth #6) If someone is looking down on you spiritually, that is their own sin (Luke 18:10-14). They need to deal with that with God. You don’t have to worry about it. A friend of mine once said, “It’s none of my business what anyone else thinks of me. That’s between them and God.”
Truth #7) Everyone in that assembly is there because they are sinners needing a Savior, just like you (Romans 3:23).
Truth #8) If anyone is there because they think they aren’t as bad of a sinner and don’t need the Savior as much as you, then they need to refer to Truth #7 (and perhaps read Luke 7:36-50).
Truth #9) God sent Jesus to die not only to forgive you of your sins, but also to grow you into the image of Jesus Christ and He will make that happen as you continue to love Him (Romans 8:28-30). Don’t worry about how God is dealing with others. Just pick up your cross and follow Jesus (Luke 9:23; John 21:22).
Don’t believe the lie. You are where you are. But if you are in Christ, you are where you need to be. God will grow you to where He wants you. Trust Him and hang on to Him. “And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you” (1 Peter 5:10).