Robert and Maureen McQuillan write:
General meaning: Piece of information circulated rapidly and widely from one Internet user to another.
In other words, something nasty wrongly picked up, misunderstood, quickly accepted and passed on.
These is one of the hazards of unpoliced internet…people ‘find’ a lot of material but neither check the source nor its authenticity and unthinkingly forward it on to many other web surfers. And so, ‘stuff’ – especially untruths – is readily accepted and regarded as ‘gospel truth.’
There’s one nasty virus that‘s sadly accepted by Christians and believed as gospel truth but is a deceit caused by unthinking people, even careless so-called fellow Christians and, worse, the devil himself…’the unusable lie.’
When God created humankind – his kids – he declared a great blessing: ‘Prosper! Reproduce! Fill the Earth! Take charge! Be responsible…’ (Genesis 1:28 Message). God is the very centre of love and never lies!
But the devil delights in lying about many things, especially about our usability by God, and our ability to achieve in life. And about God himself – even in the beginning he sowed doubt about God’s words; ‘Did God really say…?’ (Gen. 3:1).
Satan is described in this verse by a word variously translated as subtle, crafty, shrewd, clever or cunning. And it’s usually highlighted by the emphatic ‘most’ or ‘more’ eg ‘most cunning’ (GNB) or ‘more crafty’ (NIV).
Jesus strongly warned that Satan is the originator of lies and a destroyer – ‘He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies’ (John 8:44).
Lies can destroy… causing heartache, even illness, a lack of confidence in living life, and hold many back from enjoying the gift of life, and from being an achiever.
On the other hand, the Bible – the word of the God of love who does not lie – tells us that when we accept Jesus as our Saviour we are a new creation in Christ, life can be enjoyed and that so much can be achieved by us. That the past with all its hang-ups and disappointments is gone and good things lie ahead. For example…
- ‘This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ’ (2 Corinthians 5: 17-18 NLT).
- ‘I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength’ (Philippians 4:13). The Message Bible emphasis is: ‘I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.’
- ‘I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out–plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for ‘ (Jeremiah 29:11 Message).
The unusable lie
Dictionaries define unusable as ‘not able or fit to be used.’
So often people, not just Christians, take on board the lie that we’re useless, that we cannot be achievers. Perhaps such deceit began early in life with a careless, unthinking teacher harshly calling us useless and it stuck.
Here’s a personal example…when only a little kid, not even a teenager, I (Robert) experienced such a hurtful snide remark in front of a whole class in respect of my creative skills. And all because I had used a cheap heavy leaded pencil (all my mum could afford) that smudged my work, whereas the other pupils had expensive light leaded pencils. ‘You’re useless,’ he declared loudly and sneeringly. ‘You might as well have done this with your feet. You’ll never achieve anything.’
He laughed derisively and so-called friends joined in. It hurt me deeply, holding me back for many years from believing in myself and discovering that I could be artistic and write creatively and meaningfully to encourage and inspire thousands including leadership.
Maureen had similar experiences where absence of encouragement held her back for years from believing in herself and that she had so much to give to others.
Praise God it’s mere history to us. We discovered the power of God’s Spirit to develop us, enhance the natural gifts and skills within and guide us into life vocations both secular and spiritual that encourage and bless others.
The usable truth
Encouragement is something special that will enthuse, spur on and cause us to be achievers and to fully enjoy life. Words of encouragement comfort us, stimulate, motivate, inspire.
Check any Bible concordance – repeatedly encouragement in the church is exhorted …encouragement not only by pastoral leaders but to be exercised by every Christian towards each other.
Encouragement comforts us and inspires us to move from past disappointments into confidently discovering and embracing an exciting new future. Jesus promised that the greatest consoler – the Holy Spirit – would be with us as our lifelong friend (John 14:16). The reality is that the Spirit is the greatest encourager – he delights to spur on and inspire us, he’s the one who helps us achieve much in life with personal satisfaction within! And he outworks this in every born again believer.
We can all be achievers
Sadly we keep discovering when counselling and encouraging people, especially in their later years that openly admit to disappointments caused by others. Many have had unthinking, unloving parents, particularly a father who never demonstrated love and never encouraged.
The tale of the prodigal son is really one of a loving, encouraging father embracing a disappointed son and enthusing him to be an achiever! And the son’s new life began with a hug.
So many times we’re led by the Spirit to give men and women a big warm hug indicating that it’s like a heavenly Father’s hug or a big brother Jesus hug. No wonder tears flow! And something is broken within. A newfound freedom arises and the person senses newness of life and inspiration to move on ahead.
The truth is that no matter who and what we’ve been or haven’t known in past years, being a new person in Christ and having the Spirit’s help, we can all enjoy achieving much in life.
Never let anyone put you down!
Never allow anyone – Satan, so-called friend or unthinking Christians or belittling leaders throw you with that big lie, those heartbreaking despising words: ‘Do you seriously think God can use you?’
The Bible unashamedly records many seeming underachievers who became successful. Here’s a descriptive list (author unknown) that inspires, encourages and removes self-doubt!
• Noah the drunkard
• Abraham was too old
• Isaac the daydreamer
• Jacob the scheming liar
• Leah was ugly
• Joseph was abused
• Moses had a stuttering problem
• Gideon was afraid
• Samson the longhaired womaniser
• Rahab the prostitute
• Jeremiah and Timothy were too young
• Elijah was suicidal
• Isaiah preached naked
• Jonah ran from God
• Naomi was a widow
• Job went bankrupt
• David had an affair and was a murderer
• Peter denied Christ
• Disciples that fell asleep when praying
• Martha worried about everything
• The Samaritan woman multi-divorcee
• Zacchaeus was too small
• Timothy had a stomach problem
• Paul the over-religious
• And…Lazarus was dead.
Yet God used them all to achieve much: their stories influence and encourage millions.
Viral truth for all
1 John 5:4 NLT says: ‘For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith.’
For all who want to enjoy life, be achievers and influencers, let’s change negative beliefs that resulted from Satan’s lies and careless talk from people (who probably never achieved anything themselves!).
Philippians 4:13 mentioned above is a positive truth combating a negative lie. Here are some more ‘You Say…God says…The Bible says…’ comparisons…
• You: ‘It’s impossible.’ God: ‘All things are possible.’ Scripture: Luke 18:27
• You: ‘I’m afraid.’ God: ‘I have not given you fear.’ Scripture: 2 Timothy 1:7
• You: ‘I’m not smart enough.’ God: ‘I will give you wisdom.’ Scripture: 1Corinthians 1:3
• You: ‘I can’t manage.’ God: ‘I will supply all your needs.’ Scripture: Philippians 4:19
• You: ‘I feel alone.’ God: ‘I will never leave you.’ Scripture: Hebrews 13: 5.
Faith in God calls for faith in his word. Jesus said that God’s word is truth (John 17:17).
As we discover who and what we are in Christ the old truth that ‘You are not who or what others say, but who and what God says you are’ is one virus worth catching and spreading abroad!
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A timely reminder that God can take us where he wants us to go in life….not only geographically, but in our thinking and acting…wherever we are.