When I was a kid, we heated our house with a coal stove. Kind of like a wood pellet stove but it burned coal. My mom used to make homemade pizzas and part of that process was to mix yeast into the dough and let the yeast activate. Then the dough would be ready and we could spread it out and make a pizza out of it. It wasn’t an uncommon thing to come home and see a bowl with some dough in it sitting on top of the coal stove. That was a sure sign that mom was making homemade pizza for dinner. The reason she did this is because the heat would activate the yeast that was in the dough and speed the process up.
One of my favorite bible teachers, Bill Johnson, says something to this effect: In life, pressure and tension will activate whatever leaven (yeast) we have worked into our lives. The leavening agent that we have kneaded into our hearts and minds will undoubtedly be activated by the pressure that inevitably comes with life. In other words, when trials come they strip away all the other stuff and our true colors show.
What I want to posit from that story is this: Everything in life is either the truth, or a distortion of the truth. There’s no such thing as evil being a mutually exclusive thing. Bear with me here while I reason through this.
Creativity is a prophetic gesture reserved for God and those made in His image (i.e. us). God creates, He is a creative force. He expresses His promises and encourages us in those promises through creation. If you don’t believe me, just think back to a time you stood before the ocean, or looked at a sunset, or the rocky mountains, or a new born baby and felt at peace. We all have parts of creation that bring our hearts to a condition of wonder, amazement, and peace. Those feelings are promises of God and all creation shouts those promises and makes our hearts feel what God has prophetically declared over us.
God embodies creativity, which means that by definition, Satan can not. Satan is not a creative being, he is the opposite of God in every respect. God is light, Satan is darkness. God is love, Satan is fear. God is good, Satan is evil. So then, if God is creativity, what is Satan? He’s a fraud.
If I’m an incredible painter, that’s not enough to make me an incredible artist. To be an artist I have to create my own original work and create a style that is identifiably mine. If I can paint but have no creativity, all I can do is replicate and rip off the greats. I can forge a Van Gogh, Monet, Raphael, Rembrandt, Dega, etc but then I’m not an artist, I’m just a guy that can paint while using someone else’s signature.
Satan is the latter, he doesn’t have the ability to create, so he attempts to create a replica of God’s creation but his finished product always comes out distorted. This is how he gets us, right? He takes the truth, what God has already created, and he introduces a little distortion; doubt, uncertainty, deception, whatever he needs to in order to make us buy in. And it doesn’t even have to be a lot of distortion, in fact it’s usually not. It’s usually just a smidge. He did it to Eve in the Garden. Satan took the law that God had already created and he just introduced a little bit of doubt. “Did God really say not to eat from this tree? I don’t think that’s quite right.” That little bit of doubt was enough to cause the fall of all mankind.
How does this apply to our lives? Everything in our life is either a representation of a gift, or a misrepresentation of a gift, something good, that God has given us. The thing I want to iterate with this is that everything is created by God. How we represent it is where we get off track. Fear, pride, envy, hatred, lust, greed, “insert your noun here”, are all just negative expressions of something good that God gave us.
So we have all of these good things that God has given us: talents, personalities, character traits, quirks. And so many people think that Satan just blatantly tries to get us to not be what God created us to be; but he’s a lot craftier than that. What Satan does is he tries to get us to be what God has created us to be but he tries to get us to do it outside of the lordship of Jesus; because Satan needs something that has already been created in order to work from. Satan can’t create a dysfunction, he can just distort our function.
I have no doubt that if Beyoncé was living her life for the Kingdom of Heaven that she would still be an artist; that’s her talent. God has given her an incredible gift in being able to sing. I’m not here to comment on Beyonce’s standing with the Lord but my point is that God created her to do something incredible and she’s doing it. But if she’s not doing it to advance the Kingdom of Heaven then it’s being used for some distortion of the truth of what it was designed for.
Sin is a similar situation. Look at drug addiction. Humans, were created by God with a desire to feel the euphoric high that comes from walking with Him. We were created with this desire that can only be quenched by communion with God. This is truth. So what does it look like under the lordship of Jesus? It looks something like true christianity; like a believer who so loves the Lord and desires the high that comes from walking with Jesus that they’re willing to sell out for it and abandon all else for that relationship. What does it look like outside of the lordship of Jesus? Well, in some cases, it looks like somebody who sells out wholeheartedly to throwing their life away to cocaine or meth to get that distortion of that feeling.
How about lust? We were created for closeness and intimacy. Without doubt, that was something engrained in us from the beginning of time. It’s why God said that it’s not good for man to be alone, and then He created a woman; because we were created for intimacy. I can tell you that for everybody I’ve talked to, myself included, the battle with lust and porn originated from a place of trying to fulfill some perceived lack of intimacy. It develops into something else that actually gives a false sense that you don’t need closeness with people because you can get the feeling of closeness without having to put in the work of actual physical relationships, but that’s another discussion entirely.
My point is this: the desire is from God, but one manifestation of that desire looks like the function that we were created for and the other looks like a distortion of that function. That’s why it’s important to have the right “leaven” worked into our lives, because when issues come, we’re going to see if we are operating under the lordship of Jesus or not.
Satan’s tactic is subtractive. He tries to get us to look at what we don’t have in an effort to make what we do have look smaller. Going back to the garden, God said to Adam and Eve, “Have it all. All the garden is yours, subdue the earth until eventually, the entire earth is yours as well.” Then Satan said this, “What about he knowledge of Good and Evil, you don’t have that. Eat the fruit and you’ll get it. Then you’ll be like God.” God was declaring all that we had.. Satan was pointing to what we didn’t.
Here’s the bottom line:
If I receive a $10,000 bill that has to be paid in full in the mail but I only have $100 in my bank account, I’m going to be worried. I’m looking at the size of the bill and subsequently, the amount that I don’t have because I can’t cover the bill. However, if I receive a $10,000 bill in the mail and I’m a millionaire, I don’t sweat it because I know that I not only have enough to cover the bill, I have enough to cover the bill and not even realize that any money is gone.
Satan distorts reality by lying and trying to make us believe that the problems we’re facing are bigger than the solution we carry. Satan points to the size of the bill. God points to the size of our solution; what’s in our account.
The good news is that we are carriers of the presence of God, the Spirit of God, the power of God. We live in the will of God and have been given the incredible privilege to display the King and His Kingdom! We’re millionaires in the Kingdom. Our bank account is always bigger than the bill. The difference maker is what leaven have we been diligent to work into our thinking? The leaven that we’ve worked into our thinking determines if we see the size of the bill or the size of our bank accounts.
Much love guys!