After reading an article recently I gained a new appreciation for John 8:32, “The truth will set you free.” The context of this verse is about who we listen to, either God or the Enemy. You may be surprised, as Jesus’ audience was in his John 8 discourse, that we listen to the Enemy more than we would like to believe. The aim of the Enemy is to condemn us, which produces shame. With shame the Enemy can lead us to believe messages like, “I’m not worthy,” “I don’t matter,” or “I’ll never change.” These are lies. Unfortunately, when we believe these lies we hide. That’s what Adam and Eve did, “I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid,” (Gen. 3:10).
The article I read was about trying to understand how loneliness affects our behavior. I thought, “How interesting, that is exactly the first problem God solved for us when He saw that it wasn’t good for Adam to be alone.” Adam was alone and so Eve was provided to him so they could have a relationship that provided love to each other. God also provides family and the church for loving relationships to solve the same problem of being alone. However, it was later that Adam made himself lonely, first from God and then from Eve. As we chart backwards from Adam’s loneliness we see it was from his own making. Adam chose to hide. It was God who was looking for him. Moving back even further we see Adam realized he was naked, felt ashamed, and didn’t feel worthy to be in God’s presence. And moving back from there we see Adam chose to listen to a lie of the Enemy. He also believed a lie about Eve, that it was her fault and was now lonely from her as well.
So, here is the progression:
1) Choose to listen to a lie from the Enemy
2) Choose to believe a lie from the Enemy
3) Choose to act according to that lie
4) Experience condemnation from the Enemy
5) Feel shame that now believes “I’m not worthy for relationship.”
8) Choose to find significance apart from God’s love (idolatry)
What lies are you believing? Are they lies about God, yourself, others? How have those lies led you to feel shame? It’s the shame that makes you hide, and ultimately your hiding secludes you from relationships with God and with others.
The alternative is to listen to God’s truth, believe Him, and act accordingly. What truth do you need to know in order to combat the lies of the enemy? Start with believing that God is good. Next, believe that God has created you with worthiness, and with this worthiness you can approach God and others. As you listen to God’s truth about your worthiness you will be set free for the fullness of all the relationships God has put in your life.