We have a real enemy who wants to destroy our marriages and families and he will do whatever he can to deceive us and move us away from our relationships with God and each other. John 10:10 says, “The thief comes only in order to steal, kill, and destroy…” (GNB) Satan has been deceiving and ruining lives from the beginning. Think about what he told Eve in Geneses 3:4-5, “You surely will not die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (ESV) Eve’s eyes were opened, but at a high cost. In her quest for knowledge, she lost the ability to walk with God daily in the garden and live in close relationship with Him. That was her trade-in, she had to leave His presence. This is still true for us today. When we choose to take what Satan offers instead of staying in close relationship with God, our communion with Christ is damaged. Satan lies to us, and deceives us into thinking that what he offers is better than what God offers. If we could just see the end result of our choices before we make them, no doubt we would choose differently.
There is always a little bit of truth in the lies that Satan tells. And his whispers are appealing. He sensually breathes the offer of attention, excitement, and an alternative to the life that we are living. He distorts the truth and wants us to believe that what we have now is mundane, monotonous, meaningless. In Matthew 4:3 he is called “the tempter.” Satan even tried to cause Jesus, the Son of God, to sin. If he thought he could cause Jesus to sin, how much more does he aggressively work to bring sin into our lives? And he’s crafty. He doesn’t work against us in ways we might imagine; 2 Corinthians 11:14 says he comes as an angel of light. He slips in temptations that are so slight they seem harmless in the beginning. James 1:13-15 says, “Let no one say when he is tempted, I am tempted from God; for God is incapable by (what is) evil and He Himself tempts no one. But every person tempted when he is drawn away, enticed and baited by his own evil desire (lust, passions). Then the evil desire, when it has conceived, gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is fully matured, brings forth death.” (AMP) Satan notices our desires and he knows what to use to trip us up. The faintest whisper of temptation in the beginning, when agreed with and acted upon, will eventually turn into a mess.
Have you ever heard the whisper that marriage should be about “me and my happiness, and what I deserve”? Even when surrounded by family and friends, the perception can still be loneliness. Have you ever expected another person to fill the emptiness that you have inside? I am learning to understand that my greatest need, our greatest need, the one that God put inside of us, can only be filled, satisfied, and made right by Him, the One who made us. To expect a spouse to meet our internal inadequacies, answer the mysteries of life, and fill us in all the empty places, is fruitless.
When we are not experiencing a healthy, growing relationship with our Father God, we are left empty and in-need of being filled. Sometimes, instead of going to the person who created us and loves us most and asking Him to fill us with His love and Himself, we look to our spouse or even our children and friends to fill that need. Sometimes, in desperation, we turn to what the world offers. When we do this, we eventually find that a life where I am center is not true life and it’s not lasting, nor satisfying. But, there is an alternative to the appeals of the world. John 1:12 in The Message says, “But whoever did want him, who believed he was who he claimed and would do what he said, He made to be their true selves, their child-of-God selves.” Only when we understand and accept our need of an intimate relationship with the one true God, are we able to go to Him and be filled. Then we can become our authentic selves, the ones that the God of the universe has in mind for each of us to be, and it is so much better than the counterfeit that Satan offers. Jesus offers us a satisfaction that is incomparable. It’s only found in a personal relationship with Him.
Romans 3:22-26 is a beautiful picture of how God feels towards us. “We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God freely and graciously declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he declares sinners to be right in his sight when they believe in Jesus.”(NLT) He doesn’t give us what we deserve. That would surely be punishment and death. Instead, he offers us life through His son, Jesus. No one else could ever measure up to Him. No one else will ever be enough.
I have experienced both sides of this truth. If you find yourself where I was – empty and in need, right now you have an opportunity to come to Him and be filled. Now is the time to seek God, through His son Jesus, and ask Him to forgive and make you whole. My pastor, Pastor Wayne, says that our immorality affects our relationship with God and the people around us. Isaiah 59:2 says, “but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.” (ESV) Don’t you know this to be true? Are you ready to invite the One who most dearly loves you back into your life? When we surrender to Him, His spirit comes inside of us to live and we don’t have to look to others to provide what we need. He fills what we have been missing all along. Our desire for something greater than ourselves is made complete only in this intimate relationship with Him. John 10:14-15 says, “I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.” We were made to commune with God the Father through His son, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. When sin gets in the way, we are left to find something to replace that need of intimacy.
1 Peter 2:24a says, “He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By his wounds you are healed.” (NLT) My sins, your sins, were covered in the blood of Jesus. I chose to ask Him to forgive me and make me clean. He not only forgave me, but also didn’t hold it against me. He helped me to see my marriage and family through His eyes. He saved me, set me on my feet, and showed me I have purpose. There’s no one else who can do that, who can wash us as white as snow, as pure as though sin had never taken place. When we come to Him, broken, and ask for forgiveness, this miraculous transformation can take place and our lives can be healed. Psalm 51:1-3 & 7-11 is like a prayer that our hearts can pray, “Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love. Because of your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins. Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin. For I recognize my rebellion; it haunts me day and night.” “Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Oh, give me back my joy again; you have broken me – now let me rejoice. Don’t keep looking at my sins. Remove the stain of my guilt. Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me. Do not banish me from your presence, and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me.” (NLT)
Sometimes even after God has forgiven us, we have a hard time forgiving ourselves. If Satan can’t continue to deceive us, he will try something else, like keeping us bound to past regrets. If we allow it, regret will bind us up and keep us from becoming who God wants us to be – free people! As hard as it is, we must face our hurts, disappointments, and failures. Psalm 103:10-11 says, “He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him.” (ESV) If we ask God, He will help us reject Satan’s lies and experience His truths. As we seek God and invite His Spirit into our lives, our joy will be made full. Deep and true joy comes from abiding in Him, His Word, and His love. When we do this, we will not be empty and in need any more.
There is an alternative to Satan’s LIES – it is truth, and it is LIFE! The choice is ours to make. If you are like me, and you bought into the lies, now is your time to be set free. Release it all to Him. Ask Him to fill you with His very Spirit. He will empower you to walk in freedom and forgiveness. He will make you whole again.
After receiving forgiveness, healing, and being made whole, we need to guard ourselves from future attacks from the enemy. In Ephesians 6:11 we read, “Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.” 1 Peter 5:8-9 reminds us, “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith.” (NLT) We must keep God center and make Jesus lord over our lives. Jesus truly is The Way, The Truth, and The Life! I hope you are encouraged and also empowered to see the enemy for who he really is. My life is different because of the forgiveness and redemption God has shown me. I really can’t fathom why He loves us so much and doesn’t treat us the way we deserve, but I am so thankful and I receive it. I hope you do too.
You can read more about an intimate relationship with God and your spouse in the book You and Me Forever: Marriage in Light of Eternity by Francis and Lisa Chan.