Young people tend to believe the lies of the Devil. I believe Jesus the truth is the answer for each of the Devil’s lies. Even in the narrative of Christ’s entrance into this world, there are truths come against the popular lies which young people believe in, thanks to the deceptive work of the Devil. I bust three such lies young people believe starting from portions of the much-read Christmas narratives.
Lie 1: “God can’t forgive my sin that is UNPRINTABLE”
Young people say (with Satan rousing them to do it), “My sin is unprintable. I cannot even mention the sins I have committed even to my best friend. Will God forgive me?”
I believe God’s Word to such youth comes from the Christmas Genealogy Passages. In that passage we meet some super notorious people who became the ancestors of the ultimate Holy One, Jesus. It is as if Jesus was saying by such inclusion, “I came to this earth to seek and to save those kinds of people!” (See Luke 19:10).
There are three women whose sexual sins are of progressive darker shades in the genealogy of Jesus that Matthew recorded under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. One woman in that list was Uriah’s wife (Matt. 1:7). We are talking about the Bathsheba who perhaps did not utter one word of protest when the King of the Land called for adultery (She could have been the one among the thousand women who refused the advances of the King – See Eccl. 7:28)! I call her the silent adulterer. Another woman in that genealogy dressed up as a prostitute in disguise and went about seducing her own father in law in a desperate attempt to become a mom (Tamar) (Matt. 1:3). I call her the secret adulterer. Yet another woman in that list was a professional prostitute. Her name? Rahab the spy who helped the spies from Israel scouting the Promised Land (Matt. 1:5). I call her the shameless adulterer!!! By including these sin-colored folks in His own genealogy by moving Matthew to do through the Holy Spirit’s promptings, Jesus is saying to the youth of today, “You may have been sexually immoral. But I still love you. I came from heaven to seek and save you. That’s why I entered Mary’s womb during the first Christmas! And you must repent and come to me to receive a cleansing of your sin from the blood I shed just for you!”
The God of the Bible says, “Come now let us reason together. Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow!” (Isa. 1:18). Would you come to Jesus now?
Lie 2: “Living a Holy Life is next to IMPOSSIBLE”
Young people tend to say (encouraged by the lies of the Devil), “I guess I will never be able to consistently beat the porn-watching temptation! I believe, I will never be able to quit smoking and drinking! Can I really get full freedom from the compulsive desire I have to gossip and use foul language?” Some young people confess: “I went forward when the preacher gave the altar call. I committed my life to Jesus. For two days I am fine. I say ‘no’ to sin. But in the third day, I yield to temptation. Now, I am worse than I was before I gave my life to Jesus! Is it really possible to be pure in this impure world that pulls you into sin?”
I believe, the message to such folks from the Bible Christmas narratives is this: “Nothing is impossible to God!” (Luke 1:37). What was told to Mary in response to her question, “How can I have a baby when I have not slept with a man?” is what would be told to youth who ask the question, “How I can life a holy life in an extremely sin-toxic world?” I believe that! Yes, living a holy life is difficult when you want to do that with your own strength. But with God’s strength, you can live holy! That is why the Bible talks about the grace of God empowering us to say no to ungodliness and world passions (see Titus 2:11-14). The Spirit of God, when we actively cooperate with Him, energizes us to “put to death” the “misdeeds of the body” (Rom. 8:13)! Joseph of Genesis 39 did just that – put to death the misdeeds of the body – by constantly celebrating the purity-enabling presence of God (Gen. 39:2-3,9-10). Shall we ape his celebration of God’s presence to tame temptation?
Lie 3: “Understanding God’s Will is INCOMPREHENSIBLE”
Young people complain (moved by the lying Devil): “I can’t ever figure out God’s Will for my life. What career should I choose? Medicine or Sports Broadcasting? Information Technology or Psychology? Whom should I get married to? I know I should marry a believer. But then there are many believers out there. How do I know which one of them to marry?”
I believe the Christmas narrative passages of the Bible have a solution to these questions. We see how God guided Joseph through dreams repeatedly in the Christmas story.
Five times we read of guiding dreams in the Christmas story (1. Matt. 1:20 – But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit; 2. Matt. 2:12 – And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route; 3. Matt. 2:13 – When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”; 4. Matt. 2:19 – After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt; 5. Matt. 2:22 – But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee).
All these passages tells us that God is not simply sitting in heaven, totally disinterested in our lives. He wants to get intricately involved in our lives. And He is more than willing to communicate with us, if only we are willing to listen to Him.
How do we receive God’s directions for our life.? Nicky Gumbel put it in five memorable steps: 1. Commanding Scripture. What does the Bible say about choices I am about to make? For example, if I am in love with an unbeliever, we will know from Commanding Scripture that is against God’s Will for us (2 Cor. 6:14; I Cor. 7:39)! In such a case we do NOT have to even pray for God’s Will. We just have to fall in line with God’s written word by breaking away from such relationships. 2. Controlling Spirit – We must spend seasons in supplication till God writes His will in our hearts. Even the all-knowing Jesus spent the entire night in prayer before he chose the Twelve (Luke 6:12-13). We too must spend time in God’s presence in an unhurried manner, till an ‘implanted Word’ (James 1:21) settles within us, directing us to a decision especially in cases where all options seem okay. 3. Common Sense – God is not against common sense. By ‘renewing your mind’ (not removing your mind), we can discover and execute His ‘good, perfect, pleasing’ will for us (Rom. 12:1-3). My decision to come to full-time ministry was not devoid of common-sense: It was getting too much for me to manage a fulltime job with a corporate company, manage a young family and travel during my leaves to preach in Christian meetings (that’s what I did in the year 2008). I had to give up either my job or my ministry. So, I decided to quit my log-in at 5:30 pm and log-out at 3:30 am job (where at times, I would doze off). Now, the Lord takes better care of me than my Corporate Company!!!! To be at the centre of His God’s Will is the happiest and most blessed place to be (even though there may be challenges and problems, there is great satisfaction)! 4. Counsel of Saints – The Bible teaches in Proverbs 15:22 this: ‘Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.’ Consulting with senior spiritual leaders who have known us all our lives will help us to confirm what God is saying to us in Steps one through three. I remember meeting with my Bible College professor, Dr. Ivan Satyavrata, who counselled me to choose Youth Ministry over Full Time Bible College teaching without ever forcing my choice. 4. Circumstances – At times, when we stubbornly head towards one direction in our life, oblivious to God’s Warnings, God may choose to do what it takes to stop us. That is what is happening in Hosea 2:6 where we read: “Therefore I will block her path with thornbushes; I will wall her in so that she cannot find her way.” So, when we see a door getting shut, we must use our discernment to figure out if God was behind it all graciously blocking us from heading towards dangerous paths. A girl I was crazily in love with while I was in secular college wrote to me (while I was studying in Bible College), “I will not marry you. It will not happen even over my dead body!” That slammed shut door eventually opened my heart to Evan (my wife), for whom I cannot thank God enough. We pair up to work to grab the Google Generation from going to Gehenna (Hell) complementing each other. This would not have happened but for that rudely shut door!
So, young people, God will guide you, if only you take time to tune into what He is trying to say using these five steps!
Do not believe the lies of the Devil. Let the truths from the Christmas Narratives and the Christmas Babe bust those silly, senseless, unscriptural lies!!!!!
(Rev. Dr. Duke Jeyaraj is the founder of the Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission. He has preached in over 20 Indian states, five countries and authored three books, with Straight Talk (on Sex, Love, Marriage) being his most well-known book now available in Amazon via Kindle. He lives in Hyderabad with his wife and two children. This article was first published by Evangelical Fellowship of India in their magazine, Aim (Dec 2018). Find out more about Duke’s reader supported ministry at www.dukev.org)