“Seven Lies Satan Wants You to Believe,” New Era, January 2017
You. Are. Amazing! In fact, you’re not merely amazing. Your potential is off the charts. We’re not talking just about careers, talents, or even your awesome goal to memorize every line from your favorite movie (though that’s plenty cool).
God reveals your true potential in scripture: “For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39). Eternal life, or exaltation, means receiving everything God has to give us (see D&C 84:38). In other words, no matter how bright you imagine your future to be, it’s indescribably brighter than that.
Which is why a certain lying, scheming wretch of a bad guy is jealous of you. “[Satan] knows he can’t improve, he can’t progress, that worlds without end he will never have a bright tomorrow,” taught Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. “He is a miserable man bound by eternal limitations, and he wants you to be miserable too. Well, don’t fall for that.”1
Satan will do all he can to thwart you along your way back to our Father in Heaven, which includes whispering (or in some cases, shouting) every lie under the sun. Here are seven lies you might encounter and the truths you can use to fight them.
Lie #1: God doesn’t want to hear from you anymore. Not after you’ve ignored Him for so long.
The truth God always wants to hear from you, even if it’s been a while.
Elder Juan A. Uceda of the Seventy has taught: “At the very moment we say, ‘Father in Heaven,’ He hears our prayers and is sensitive to us and our needs. … He will see you with eyes of love and mercy—love and mercy that we cannot fully understand.”2
Lie #2: This world is too wicked and scary for you to ever find happiness or peace.
The truth Fear sure seems to be one of Satan’s favorite tools in these latter days. But don’t give in to that nonsense. Even when things are hard, even when they’re really hard, God’s plan provides hope and joy.
President Russell M. Nelson, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, has taught: “When the focus of our lives is on God’s plan of salvation … and Jesus Christ and His gospel, we can feel joy regardless of what is happening—or not happening—in our lives. Joy comes from and because of Him. He is the source of all joy.”3
Lie #3: Because God loves you, your behavior ultimately doesn’t matter all that much.
The truth This one can be especially tricky because it takes a truth—God loves you—and draws an interpretation from that truth that is false. Scriptures, and modern prophets and apostles, help us understand that our actions are important.
Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has taught, “God does love us. However, what we do matters to Him and to us. He has given clear directives about how we should behave.”4
Lie #4: If you can’t gain a testimony about something right away, it must not be true.
The truth If you want to know the capital of Assyria, a smartphone and about three seconds will get you your answer. Matters of the spirit, on the other hand, can take time. And it’s always worth the effort.
Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has taught: “I don’t pretend to know why faith to believe comes easier for some than for others. I’m just so grateful to know that the answers are always there, and if we seek them—really seek with real intent and with full purpose of a prayerful heart—we will eventually find the answers to our questions as we continue on the gospel path.”5
Lie #5: Confessing your sins will only hurt the people you love. To spare them that pain, you must keep it a secret.
The truth With this lie, the great deceiver is trying to get you to pass on his handiwork—deception—to those closest to you. Don’t listen to him for a second.
Sister Linda S. Reeves, Second Counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency, has taught: “When we have sinned, Satan often tries to convince us that the unselfish thing to do is to protect others from the devastation of the knowledge of our sins, including avoiding confessing to our bishop, who can bless our lives through his priesthood keys as a common judge in Israel. The truth, however, is that the unselfish and Christlike thing to do is to confess and repent. This is Heavenly Father’s great plan of redemption.”6
Lie #6: The Church’s teachings are outdated. Just look at how most of the world believes and behaves today. Millions of people can’t be wrong!
The truth No matter how many people believe otherwise, eternal truths are still eternal truths. Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has taught: “We are committed to knowledge of every kind and believe ‘the glory of God is intelligence’ [D&C 93:36]. But we also know that the preferred strategy of the adversary is to lead people away from God and cause them to stumble by emphasizing the philosophies of men over the Savior and His teachings.”7
Lie #7: You’ve tried and tried, but you’re just not good enough. You’re never going to make it home to God.
The truth It’s the zinger of all lies! If the adversary can convince you you’ll never be good enough, he scores a major victory. Don’t let him plant this thought in your brain. With Jesus Christ’s Atonement, we always have a path back to God.
Elder J. Devn Cornish of the Seventy has taught, “The God of heaven is not a heartless referee looking for any excuse to throw us out of the game. He is our perfectly loving Father, who yearns more than anything else to have all of His children come back home and live with Him as families forever.”8
When we fall short of perfection, and we always do, it’s easy to get discouraged and want to throw in the towel. Here’s a little more food for thought on that count. Elder Larry R. Lawrence of the Seventy has taught: “[One] tactic used by Satan is discouragement. He uses this tool effectively on the most faithful Saints, when everything else seems to fail. For me, when I begin to feel discouraged, it helps me to recognize who is trying to get me down. This makes me mad enough to cheer up, just to spite the devil.”9
It’s all right to get mad at the devil! After all, who likes being lied to? He wants to make you miserable, remember? Next time you find yourself facing one of these lies, or others like them, focus instead on your eternal potential and the many blessings Heavenly Father has prepared for you both now and in the eternities.
Truth. It beats bogus every time.