The Truth Will Set You Free
Have you ever felt like you were held captive by your thoughts? Do you feel like a prisoner to the words you know aren’t true, but they seem to live and breathe and dictate your life? I am unlovable. I am ugly. My past is too broken. I am too broken. God doesn’t care about me. God doesn’t love me. My sins are too big. Or maybe you read one of these statements and think: That’s not a lie, that IS the truth. Maybe you are a prisoner and you don’t even know it. That’s the thing about lies, they are amazing at dressing up as the truth. You can examine them closely, but the makeup and costume look undeniably real. Not only are the lies convincingly dressed up, but they also seem to have evidence to back up their falsities – using your past, circumstances, relationships, conversations, and struggles against you. This can be dangerous because if we are believing lies, then we are not living in reality; we are living under the power of Satan and not in the freedom Jesus offers. There is one reality, one absolute truth, and lies cannot coincide with the truth. Today, we live in a world where truth is defined as flexible and individual depending on your personal beliefs.” Live your truth” and “Speak your truth” are sayings we see and hear all over social media. But there has to be one bottom line truth, there is no “your” which personally determines it. To say the truth is stretchy and shapeshifting is yet another lie the enemy would love for us to believe; it contradicts the solid reality of God and keeps us centered on ourselves. What Jesus wants us to believe is the truth – that He is the way, and submitting our minds, actions, and hearts to Him is where true freedom is found. Dallas Willard says, “Reality does not adjust itself to accommodate our false beliefs, errors, or hesitations in action” (Willard, 2009). Or as John Mark Comer paraphrases this, “Reality does not adjust itself to our illusions” (Comer, 2021). When we abide in the word of God, we are able to see reality more clearly and adjust our thoughts to the truth, and it is the truth that sets us free.
Jesus says in John 8:44, “when he [Satan] lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” Satan is the personification of lies. He will try to warp and twist reality so that we believe lies about God and lies about ourselves. But he doesn’t work alone; since the moment of the fall (Genesis 3) shame was planted in our DNA, and the enemy loves to water and nurture this naturally growing weed. Every lie you believe about yourself stems from a lie you believe about God. If you believe that you are unlovable, then you aren’t trusting that God is love and first loved us (1 John 4:16,19). If you believe you are ugly then you aren’t trusting that God is an intricate Creator who uniquely and intentionally created you (Psalm 139). If you believe that you are too broken, then you aren’t trusting that God’s grace is as big as He says it is (Romans 3:24). And if you rely on earthly relationships or circumstances to validate these things within you (love, worthiness, beauty, etc.), then you aren’t trusting that God is the only one who has the ability to fulfill us wholly (Psalm 16:11, Romans 3:23). When we aren’t trusting God, we aren’t seeing reality clearly. He is the Creator of life, therefore He wants to steer us towards true life! Satan seeks to destroy this at all costs and he will use any lie we are prone to believe to do this. Any insecurity or falsehood has the ability to hinder our identity, confidence, and purpose. Satan prowls around like a roaring lion (1 Peter 5:8). But it’s not all the time that he loudly thrashes and growls. Most of the time it’s just a small false whisper that becomes relentless until it is dictating your every thought and action.
What’s most important is knowing what the Bible says about God (1 John 1:5, 2 Peter 3:9, James 1:17, Exodus 34:6-7). These aren’t just words, God’s character was exemplified when He sent His Son to die for our sins so that we could know him intimately – both now and for eternity. John 8:31-32 says, “So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in Him, ‘If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.’” This has to be one of the most beautiful verses in Scripture. I don’t know if there’s any other word I’d like to live in more than the word freedom. I’ve battled anxiety and depression in my own life, so I know the power of the mind to twist reality into something dark and scary – and at times seemingly not worth it. Even if you haven’t dealt with mental illness, I’m sure you’ve felt trapped in one way or another; entrapment always begins in the mind, even if it’s a physical struggle. I’m sure there are thoughts, addictions, and struggles that you would love to be set free from. Maybe it’s perfectionism, maybe it’s a pressure you put on yourself, or maybe it’s a lie you believe. Jesus has come to bring us spiritual freedom which brings a sense of hope to our mental and physical entrapments. Some we can escape and some might always be a challenge or temptation to overcome (Philippians 4:12). The key is found in the first part of John 8:31: if you abide in my word. Abiding in God’s word brings us to reality, and when we live in reality, we are set free from the bondage of lies from the enemy. His lies are deep and relentless, but when we are saturated in the word of God, Satan’s words are drowned out by the magnitude of God’s love. Freedom is simply found in abiding in Christ, through abiding in His word and allowing it to lead and command our thoughts. Freedom doesn’t equate to perfect strength to resist all false thoughts and perfect circumstances in our lives, it gives us the opportunity not to live under the weight of Satan’s lies. Freedom gives us hope to persevere, confidence to live unashamed, and a deeper love for those around us.
In one of the recent sermon series we went through called, Winning the War in your Mind, Pastor Michael said, “Our lives are always moving in the direction of our strongest thoughts.” Abiding in God’s word has the ability to change the trajectory of thoughts and lives. Abiding in God’s word makes Satan’s lies quiet under the resounding voice of truth. If we abide in the word of God, we can experience freedom in Christ knowing He is who He says He is, and we are who He says we are.
Questions to consider:
What lies are holding you captive?
What truths do you need to believe that will set you free?
If you want more on lies and the truth, I highly suggest the book Live No Lies: Recognize and Resist the Three Enemies That Sabotage Your Peace.
More on the power of thoughts: Winning the War in your Mind Sermon Series
Knowing Christ Today: Why We Can Trust Spiritual Knowledge (New York: HarperCollins, 2009), 39.
Comer, John Mark. Live No Lies: Recognize and Resist the Three Enemies That Sabotage Your Peace. Colorado Springs, WaterBrook, 2021.