You've Been Lied To Part 1 - You Can Do it All on Your Own

By the time the hour and a half was up, I was feeling a little beat up to say the least. My wife and I had just completed our first session of Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University and I can honestly say that I was humbled to the core. Realizing how under-prepared we were for the future felt like a punch to the solar plexus, but at the same time the feeling of resolve we left with over how our future could be was exhilarating.

I have spent a good portion of my life trying to be in control of my circumstances and future. Sure, there were times when I found myself in a bind or two, but for the most part I figured I had things covered. I still trusted God to provide, but of course if I'm honest those times were situational at best. When I couldn't get it done, off to my prayer closet I would go. Boy, have I had things backwards!

One of the great lies that this world will throw at you is that you can provide everything for yourself. With a little grit, spit, and stick-to-itiveness, you can accomplish anything. That is the American dream, right? The Bible is full of admonitions for us to work hard, deal with others with integrity, and to avoid laziness. But even though we read those words and agree that they are true, there is still much inside of man that believes that we don't need God. No, we don't come out and say it like that and we would bristle if accused of harboring those thoughts, but by our actions and choices we unwittingly announce that this is what we believe. You can do it all on our own.

At the beginning of Jesus' public ministry, he found Himself in the Judean wilderness where He was fasting for 40 days and 40 nights (Matthew 4:1-4). Now, before you try to process that, understand that as God in the flesh this would only be possible for Jesus or for those whom God gave special ability. Yet as a man, Jesus was undoubtedly hungry and thirsty. He had physical needs, just like you and I do. Put yourself in Jesus' sandals and the first thing you might have done was look for the nearest Chick-Fil-A to go and chow down in.

It was at this time when Jesus would have been at His weakest that Satan approached Him with a proposition. Isn't that how the enemy Satan does his most effective work, when we are at our weakest? Seeing Jesus in that state, Satan tosses Him a temptation that sounds an awful lot like a dare:
If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread. (Matthew 4:3)
In other words, "Jesus, I know you're hungry, so why not pull out your God card and make Yourself something to eat. I mean, You are God's Son, right?" Understand that at this point being hungry and needing to eat to satisfy that hunger would not have been wrong under most circumstances. We need to eat or we will die. But that wasn't the challenge issued by Satan to Jesus. He didn't care about Jesus physical strength or His well-being. No, in tempting Jesus to turn a stone into a piece of bread - which He most certainly could have done without effort - Satan was serving up a big ol' fat lie to Jesus: You don't need God to provide for your needs. You can do it all on your own.

The biggest, nastiest word that Satan used in his strategy to tempt Jesus and in turn what he uses to tempt us is the word if. The enemy wants to cast doubt on what our God can do. You say, "My God will provide." Satan asks in response, "Really?" After all, we seem almost hard wired to want instant gratification - how many of you have declared "I'm starving!" while waiting for supper to be ready, knowing that only a few hours ago you had lunch and even after that a snack? Because of our impatience we want things done on our time table, not God's. As a result, we begin to believe the lie that we can do it all on our own. 

It's not so much that we don't believe that God can and will provide. It's just that we are too prideful to wait on Him. 

But Jesus exposed the father of lies for who he was and is. With His belly grumbling and his blood sugar probably at an all-time low, Jesus stood up tall, looked Satan straight in the eye without blinking, and declared, 
It is written: Man must not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God. (Matthew 4:4)
By declaring these words of Scripture, Jesus was countering Satan's lie with the truth of God. Yes, we need food to live, but oh how we need God so much more. And our God has promised to provide for our needs if we will just wait on Him.
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. (Matthew 6:33)
The enemy does not have your best interests in mind. Satan would rather see you wallow in the despair of self-sufficiency than to ever see you trust God with even the smallest of things. That's why he lies to you, trying to coax you away from trusting in the only sure thing in the universe. Don't believe the lie! You can and should work hard to provide for your needs and the needs of your family, but you cannot out-give or out-provide God.

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