I had few pleasures growing up in New York City. But one thing I really enjoyed was going to the movies. I remember back in 1989 I was so excited to see the much acclaimed “Batman” with Michael Keaton. I’ll never forget that experience.
There were so many commercials, so many flyers, so many advertisements. Movie postings papered the bus stops, the walls of subway trains and even the wooden divide on construction sites. The film was applauded on television, raved about on the radio, and given high marks by the newspapers. I just knew I had to see it. And so in lousy weather, I waited for hours on a ticket line that stretched around the block.
When I finally got to the ticket counter, I paid the ultra steep ticket price, rushed to find an empty seat and got ready for my great adventure. But during the next 2 hrs and 6 minutes, things went south and I pined desperately for the ending credits. The Batman movie was a tepid disaster. Everything I heard about it was false. Three decades later I still remember what a sucker I was. I had fallen for the hype.
So my advice to you is DON’T BELIEVE THE HYPE. If you do, you will be tricked into a life of emptiness and mediocrity, just like the movie I saw.
What Is The Hype?
The hype is that you can live your life to the full without trusting daily in Jesus. It’s the lie that other things are more pressing and more important than communing with the Creator of the Universe.
The devil wants you to believe the hype. Satan knows he can’t hurt Jesus directly. So his plan is to take down Jesus’s followers. He wants to make them faithless, powerless, ineffective and loveless. The devil is far smarter and stronger than we are. So our best defense is to abide daily in the council and protection of his greatest enemy, this Jesus of Nazareth who he can’t touch.
Every day we are commanded to renew our minds from the devil’s horrific assault. Every day, we must spend time alone with Jesus, praising Him, reading His word, and asking Him to reveal His divine perspective to us.
When we abide in Him, we are transformed not just in what we do, but in how we think and feel. It is during our quiet time with the King of the Universe, that He heals us of our life long hurts. And the Holy Spirit works within us supernaturally to help us relate to our God, and our neighbors, coworkers, friends, families and even our enemies.
We need all the help we can get. There is no neutral in this world. The world has a point of view which leads downstream to a waterfall of despair. The problem is we think we can cope. That somehow we can get by without actively staying close to our Creator. But this is folly.
Would you stop swimming if directly below you was Niagara Falls? Who in their right mind would think it’s safe to drift and let the water take its course?
This is what we’re up against. And the devil knows it. He knows that without a daily dependence on Jesus, we will naturally drift downstream to the waterfall. We will believe the negative thoughts that he pipes into our heads as if they actually came from ourselves. Yes, all those thoughts about our high or low self worth, the mean things people did to us, and what we need to do now to get ahead in the game.
The enemy knows that if we just sit back and listen, we’ll believe all his lies. So to fight the enemy we have to spot his biggest dirty trick.
The Devil’s Biggest Trick: Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain
Remember the Wizard of Oz? A favorite part of mine is when Dorothy and her friends confront the Great and Powerful Wizard. Indeed, Oz is terrifying. With a booming voice and a thundering floating head, he paralyzes them with fear and trembling. He makes it obvious that no one can stand against him.
But Dorothy’s little dog knows the truth. Toto knows that the real power of Oz is from the man standing behind the curtain. And when Toto pulls back the curtain to expose the truth, Oz knows his time is short. And so in a last ditch effort to distract them, he booms PAY NO ATTENTION TO THE MAN BEHIND THE CURTAIN!
The devil is much like the Wizard of Oz. Except in our case, he tells us: PAY NO ATTENTION TO THE MAN WHO RIPPED THE CURTAIN. Our Jesus was the man who’s death and resurrection tore the curtain in two. At the hour of His death, the temple curtain was ripped from top to bottom. Jesus didn’t just die for us. He got off the cross and came back so He could live inside us. He tore the curtain that separated man from God’s Holy presence.
So the devil knows he must do whatever he can to keep us from spending time with Jesus. His goal is to get us so distracted, so confused, so disoriented, so self absorbed, so full of our activities, so involved in our own fears, our loves, our hates and our ambitions, that we’ll pay no attention to the man who tore the curtain. This is his best dirty trick.
A Look Inside the Devil’s Toolbox: Two Lies to Keep You from Abiding in Jesus
Lie #1: You’re Good Enough or Secure Enough To Do without Him
This is a subtle one. The devil won’t come out and say “Don’t pray to Jesus.” He’ll just remind you that you’re pretty much OK without him. Yes, Jesus is God, and yes He saved you from your sins. But you don’t need to bother Him right now. Leave Jesus for church and your Wednesday Bible studies.
Don’t seek Jesus in the morning. Don’t create a routine prayer and praise time. After all, you’re very busy, you’re in good health, you’re liked at your job and you got a fat 401K. All is well. Your hard work has finally paid off. You have arrived. You earned that promotion. You earned their respect. Now is the time to sit back and enjoy prosperity. Life is Good.
Or perhaps, the devil will tell you that you don’t need Jesus every day, because basically, you are a good person. Don’t repent to Him because you hurt your spouse. She deserved it. And besides, you can always escape to your friend’s house for the week, or maybe hide out on your fishing boat. You’re still good looking. Worse comes to worse, you can find a new wife.
Lie #2: You’re Such a Failure You Must Go It Alone (Jesus Won’t Help You)
The devil is a master tactician. If success won’t do the trick, how about your failures? Satan wants to cut you off from your divine power source. And he knows you’re more likely to swallow his lies when you’re weak and isolated.
In your own thought voice, the devil will tell you that you’re a hopeless drug addict or a depraved porn freak. He wants you to believe that you’re incurably defective. He will shame you and try to convince you that you’re beyond redemption. “After all, a true Christian would never sin like you do.”
The lie here is that your sins and brokenness are simply too much for Jesus. He won’t remind you how Jesus forgave Peter again and again. How Jesus forgave the adulteress. How Jesus forgave Saul of Tarsus and transformed him into Paul, the greatest apostle in the New Testament. No, Satan will downplay the love and power of Jesus. And in His place he will raise you as the standard. He will set up a paper tiger and then fearlessly knock it down.
You are not the standard and you never were. Jesus is the standard. You didn’t die on the cross for your sins. Jesus did. You didn’t get up from the cross and conquer death. Jesus did! You didn’t come down to Earth to bridge the gap between wretched man and a holy God. Jesus did! So you are loved and protected not because of what you did, but because of what Jesus did!
The Bottom Line
Whether you’re an amazing success or colossal failure, you can and should always rely on Jesus. Jesus is big enough to die for the sins of the whole world, and yet He still wants you to come to Him. So always ask Jesus for direction. Always praise Him, always get into Scripture. Even when you’re at your worst, it doesn’t faze Jesus. If He can handle the universe, He can handle your porn habit, your lack of love, or your drug addiction.
Ask the Holy Spirit for transformation. Ask Him to excite you about what God has in store for your life. Don’t ever let the devil sell you his bag of bilge water. Don’t believe the hype!
Songs To Inspire