Tue. Nov 12th, 2019

Addressing the Lies Men Believe

The Big Lie

8 min read

Who Told You That You Were Naked?

Then the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” He said, “I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.” And He said, “Who told you that you were naked?  

Genesis 3:9-11 NASB

If you ever get the opportunity to travel to the Dark Continent, you’d better be paying attention as Africa hosts some of the most deadly belly crawlers on the planet. I don’t want to make it seem like there are snakes around every corner and under every rock, but we’d crossed paths with them on several occasions including the extremely deadly, Black Mamba. The truth is, they are there and you’d better be paying attention. 

After cooking breakfast over an open fire just south of the Botswana border in South Africa, we packed up camp and headed some 30 miles towards town. It was good to be in a truck and not in the bush for a while as it seems like everything in South Africa wants to stick you or kill you. I relaxed my grip on the steering wheel and settled in for the 40 minute drive. I’d no sooner relaxed when a curved, moving stick on the road in front of me began to rise up off the ground. “You’ve got to be kidding me,” I thought. “What are the odds of another mamba crossing our path!?”

We’d no sooner passed the mamba when my buddy said, “Brent, stop the truck; let’s see if we can catch him!” OK, I may not be the sharpest tool in the shed, but I recognized this was a bad idea. Before I knew what was happening, my friend was yelling for me to get the video camera out. By the time I’d pulled the camera out and removed the lens cap, he’d already pinned the viper’s head to the ground with a forked stick and had slid his hand down to shut the lid on this coffin mouthed killer.

Within seconds of hitting record, the nine foot black mamba had wrapped around his arm. It was like a moment from Wild Kingdom, an adventure show that I would get engrossed in as a kid. The host was Marlin Perkins, and his sidekick, Jim by his side. Marlin would usually say something like this; “I’ll stay here in the truck while Jim wrestles the giant anaconda!” Well, in this instance, my friend played the role of Jim while I kept my distance and ran the camera.

OK, this was a Kodak moment. Why should my friend get all the glory shots? I pulled out my camera, took the mamba from him and had my own hero shots taken. After all, this was a crazy story and impressive picture I could use for my speaking events! After posing with this killer, and after seeing the fear in their eyes and dread in their voices, I pulled out my hunting knife and drove the tip down through the viper’s head, accented with a little twist at the end. After filming one more clip with my friend holding the mamba, he tossed him into the long grass and we were on our way.

A few minutes down the road, I noticed something running down the back of my hand. Upon further inspection I realized that what I was looking at was a mix of blood and venom. The first thought that went through my mind was; “Hmm, I wonder. If I have an open cut on my hand, can I be envenomed with these deadly toxins? As soon as I vocalized my concerns, my friend was inspecting his hand as well as he’d had an open wound on his hand from several days before. Before another thought crossed my mind, I slammed on the brakes and we both jumped out of the vehicle and began feverously dousing our hands with Coca-Cola before the venomous cocktail could trickle into our open wounds. Coke: “Always the real thing!” 

Let me remind you, black mamba venom is extremely potent and can kill a full grown adult in less than half an hour. Since most snake bites happen in remote areas where the nearest hospital is at least an hour’s drive, the mortality rate of mamba bites are pretty high. Nearly 100% of all victims are killed. 

How foolish were we? What drove my friend to do something as crazy as to hand catch one of the deadliest snakes in the world? Why did I film it? Why did I have to have my hero shot taken with the belly crawler as well? 

When you think about the snake we were toying with, it really was absolute stupidity. We both knew the dangers involved, and both of us could have been hammered by the deadly viper in a split second, and neither of us had antivenin or knew where to find it.

Months after the encounter, the two of us discussed why in the world we would take such a crazy risk. One of the reasons we landed on was that both of us had grown up watching TV shows like “Wild Kingdom”, and having others think we were just as courageous as Marlin Perkins sidekick, Jim Fowler, would somehow bring us a sense of higher worth and value than just being Marlin sitting in the truck while Jim did all the dangerous stuff.

And then there’s the issue of me getting my picture taken with the deadly belly crawler. Why did I have to have a hero shot? Probably for the same reasons we took the risk in the first place, fame and glory. It’s the same driving factor why so many people do crazy things while their friends film them, and then post in on the internet in hopes that it goes viral. And, just like in the TV show, Cheers, we want to be where “Everybody knows your name.”

As deadly as the venomous black mamba’s strike is, there is another serpent whose strike doesn’t leave a visible mark. This serpent’s name is Satan, and he is the “Father of Lies.” His mouth is even darker than the mouth of the mamba, and his silent, venomous strike affects 100% of all humans envenomating fear, coveting, and shame.

You don’t have to look far to find his first victim. It’s recorded in the book of Genesis at the very beginning of mankind. 

Then the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” He said, “I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.” And He said, “Who told you that you were naked?  

Genesis 3:9-11 NASB

After rereading this several times, the thing that stood out to me was where the Lord God called out to the man asking him, “Where are you?” Adam replies; “I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.” The next question is key; “Who told you that you were naked?”

Up until now, Adam and Eve walked through the garden feeling no shame or fear. In one vicious strike, the enemy’s lies left them both hiding in shame, afraid of the Creator. 

In John 8:44, Jesus clarifies Satan’s true nature… 

“He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

Satan’s lies effects all of us, from Adam and Eve and until the day we go home to be with Jesus. Robert McGee, in his book; “The Search for Significance” identifies Satan’s biggest lie: My Performance + Other’s Opinions = My Self Worth” 

This is something, that if and when we buy into it causes us deep shame and fear of not being good enough.

The Truth is that it’s not our performance (what we do) or other’s opinions that matter, but “God’s Performance and God’s Opinion” that completes us and give us our worth and value. Like we talked about earlier, when God’s Spirit came into my spirit the moment I truly believed, I was made 100% righteous “In Him”. This Truth was paid for, stamped and sealed in blood. Therefore, I no longer have to try and get man’s approval to find my “good enough”. Here’s the antivenin to Satan’s big lie:

“God’s Performance + God’s Opinion = My Self Worth”

The Apostle Paul nails the coffin shut on Satan’s “Big Lie” in Galatians 2:

“What actually took place is this: I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn’t work. So I quit being a “law man” so that I could be God’s man. Christ’s life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not “mine,” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that.

Is it not clear to you that to go back to that old rule-keeping, peer-pleasing religion would be an abandonment of everything personal and free in my relationship with God? I refuse to do that, to repudiate God’s grace. If a living relationship with God could come by rule-keeping, then Christ died unnecessarily.”

Galatians 2:19-21 (MSG)

Modern thinking and motivational speakers will tell you that in order for a person to have a positive view of self, they must learn to accept themselves, love themselves, and develop self-esteem. That’s their solution to a happy life. The problem is that it’s nearly impossible for us to “like” ourselves when we think, feel, and act so badly—repeatedly. Author, friend and mentor, Derek Wilder, in his book Freedom, states, “Convincing ourselves that we are good enough, just the way we are, becomes a futile pursuit. So, we naturally turn to other people’s opinions as a gauge for whether we are being “good enough.” 

Men typically take their worth question to Eve. The problem with that is if you give her, or anyone that kind of power, one moment they can make you feel like the hero, and the next a zero. Take a look at this quote…“If my self-worth has anything to do with what you think of me, 100% of the time I will try and manipulate you to get my needs met.” This is exactly what happens when we try to get our question answered outside of God.

When we find ourselves attempting to get our self-worth from others, it creates within us unhealthy emotions like fear, anxiety, depression, worry and doubt. It’s a trap the enemy has set for us, and as long as we keep looking to others for “who we are,” there is no solution. We will constantly be struck in Satan’s hamster wheel of performance trying to manipulate others to get their good opinions; and we know what snakes do to hamsters.