1. You are not worth very much. This message may have had its beginning with a harsh father or an overpowering uncle. Years ago in Kansas City, I heard a father next door scream at his five-year-old. He then began to tell her how sorry and worthless she was, using vile, degrading language. Years later, I wonder about the memories that this young adult harbors. Perhaps it is the bully who communicates to you just how stupid you are and treats you with hostility and contempt. These are all lies. The truth is that you are precious in the eyes of God, created in his image. You are deeply loved by God.
2. Your past mistakes disqualify you from God ever choosing to work through you. The evil one would like for you to believe that no one is like you. No one has made the mistakes you have. No good person is ever tempted the way you are. You may think, “What is wrong with me? Surely no other person is like me.” Yet, God’s grace is greater than the week you spent in jail, greater than the drug issues you had in the past, greater than the affair you had five years ago. God’s forgiveness is larger than any failure in your past. Your past does not have to define you for the rest of your life. Your past may be littered with rebellion and sin. Yet, through his powerful forgiveness and grace as he sees your brokenness, God can use you in the future.
3. You just don’t measure up. It is amazing just how many put-downs we hear every day. These may come through the media, through remarks made by others, or even our own families. Look in the mirror. If you are like many, you see where you fall short. You are too old or too young. You are not as smart, outgoing, or attractive as someone else. Walk through any magazine display. Everyone has perfect skin, a perfect shape, a beautiful smile. You may come away feeling plain, ordinary, too small or too large. You feel like you are lacking. Yet, long ago when Israel was choosing a king, we are told that while others may focus on human appearance, God focuses on a person’s heart.
4. It is ok to do what you want as long as no one knows. This is a lie that some have battled all of their lives. You may remember when you were a child and how you would look both ways before taking a cookie that you were supposed to leave alone until after dinner. Yet, you found yourself looking both ways and then taking one anyway. Decades later, you may find yourself in a city on the other side of the country from where you live. You find that you are tempted to do something that is very wrong. You look around before you get involved, mainly concerned that no one you know will see you. The great issue regarding temptation is not who is going to find out. Rather, the issue is God told me not to do this. Will I trust him enough to obey him or in my pride will I decide to do what I want.
5. Your life will never be significant. The lie suggests that you are not important, not like some who serve as medical doctors, attorneys, professional football/basketball players, celebrities from Hollywood, etc. You might even refer to yourself as “just.” I am just a teacher, preacher, or hourly worker. Yet a significant life is not about how many Facebook friends you might have. Nor is a significant life determined by others who might think you are important or unimportant. Rather, a significant life is one in which God is allowed to use for his purposes.