Fighting Lies With Truth
by John Mark Comer & Collin Mayjack
Begin with prayer (5 minutes)
Gather together as a Community in a comfortable setting (around a table, on the couch, the floor of a living room, etc.). Have somebody lead a prayer asking the Holy Spirit to lead and guide your time together.
Read this overview
Teachers of the way of Jesus down through church history have used the language of the three enemies of the soul: the world, the flesh, and the devil. This is an attempt to put words to this sense we all have of a fight for our soul and our society.
When we think of fighting the devil, we often think of an exorcism, or an illness that comes at a strange time, or a bizarre event that wreaks havoc in our life. And for good reason. But when Jesus teaches on the devil, he (mostly) talks about truth and lies.
For example, in John 8, Jesus has this to say of the devil: “He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”
For Jesus, fighting the devil is about believing truth over lies. It’s about rewiring the mental maps in our mind to adjust to reality in order to better show up to reality.
Lies only have power over our soul when we internalize them; therefore, this Practice will focus on uprooting the lies with believe and replanting truth, for, as Jesus said, “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.”
Note: This exercise may take you a few weeks. Take your time. Don’t rush it. This is some of the most important work we can ever do as apprentices of Jesus.
Do this Practice as a Community right now: (30-45 minutes)
Exercise 1: Listening prayer to expose lies and joining with your Community to speak truth
Let’s begin with a listening prayer exercise. Each person can spread out and find a comfy space to sit in, perhaps with a notebook and pen in their hand. Then, have the Leader pray to invite the Holy Spirit. After a few moments of quiet, spend time asking God to reveal lies you believe in the following three areas:
What lies do I believe about who God is?
What lies do I believe about who we are or who I am?
What lies do I believe about what the good life is?
Work through each question listening to the Spirit in your mind, and write down 1-3 lies you believe in each area.
After 10-15 minutes, have everyone split into groups of 2 or 3 people (no more), ideally of the same gender. Take time to share what the Holy Spirit brought to mind and respond to one another by speaking truth into one another’s lives. This could look like:
Person A: “As I was praying, the Holy Spirit brought to mind that deep down I believe God is _____________ (disappointed with me, cruel, a bad father, etc.)”
Person B: “Thanks for sharing that. Can I tell you what is true? The truth is that God is ___________ (full of love towards you, a good father, says in the Scriptures, etc.)”
Go around your triad sharing and speaking truth over one another. Do this with great care. Truth statements are not meant to be a band-aid or an easy fix, but a gentle reminder of reality. And remember that speaking the truth does not necessarily uproot the lie the first time it’s spoken. As the person receiving the truth, perhaps even write down the truths and meditate on them in your quiet time.
NOTE: It is important to make sure that truth statements we speak over one another are based in the teachings of Jesus and the Scriptures, rather than in cultural norms or personal opinions. Please respect that this is a Jesus community. If you disagree with Jesus and the writers of the Bible on any point, we ask you to sit quietly and listen, out of respect for your community member’s desire to trust Jesus’ vision of reality over their own.
Read over this coming week’s Practice before you call it a night: (10 minutes)
Exercise 2: Exposing the devil’s strategy and encountering truth
The devil’s primary strategy to enslave souls and societies is lies. More specifically it is deceitful ideas that play to disordered desires that are normalized in a sinful society.
The goal of this exercise is to expose the devil’s work in our souls and to break into freedom through an encounter with truth.
Print out the PDF below, or simply use it as a guide to journal your answers to the questions listed on it.
If you are more extroverted, or feel like you need a little help, feel free to do this with a close friend, family member, therapist, or pastor. But whether or not you process through it with others, we recommend that you spend some time alone in listening prayer with the Holy Spirit.
Work through these discussion questions (10-15 minutes)
Any thoughts, creative ideas, or feedback on this coming week’s Practice?
Is it hard for you to believe in a devil?
What’s an area you see the devil at work in your life? In our Community? In our city?
Close in prayer (10 minutes)
Set each of these new insights before God in quiet confidence.