I am honored to lead the Resources Division at LifeWay and serve with a team of leaders who are passionate to serve the Church in Her mission of making disciples. Each Wednesday, I share the heart behind one of the resources our team has developed and give an opportunity for you to register to win a free copy of the resource. This week’s resource is Truth and Lies: The Unlikely Role of Temptation, the newest Bible study from author Tim Chaddick. Here is an excerpt from Truth and Lies.
“It was hidden right there in plain sight!” Have you ever said that?
Perhaps finding what’s hidden comes naturally to you. You can solve crossword or picture puzzles easily. You have a knack for deciphering riddles or little enigmas. Movies like The Sixth Sense or Shutter Island are not mysteries. You knew Bruce Willis was dead and Leonardo DiCaprio was crazy from the very beginning. Most of us become “aware of the obvious” after we watch these movies. We make statements like, “I need to watch it again now that I know,” or “Yeah, I see that now since hindsight is 20/20.”
Or maybe as you read poems and short stories, you pick up on the literary layers and find the double meaning in everything. In a group setting, you have the relational skills to immediately discern who’s flirting with whom, and who’s even got a chance. You know why this girl is “single for a reason” and why this guy is “single for a reason.”
But most people haven’t fully developed this ability. In one area or another, we have trouble seeing the obvious. If you were that boy growing up with ADHD fetching tools from the garage for your dad, then you totally understand this notion that something can be “hidden in plain sight.” You very well may still be looking for that monkey wrench. And yes, “If it were a snake, it would have bit you right on the arm!”
Well, we have a snake that slithers in and out of our daily lives—and we don’t even know it. Christians need to be able to discern when Satan uses the things around us we don’t see to tempt us away from God. These are structures, ideas, daily norms, conventional wisdom, and cultural practices in place—and they have been “hidden in plain sight” for centuries. Peter reminds us of this in his letter:
8 Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. (1 Pet 5:8-9)
While hunting their prey, lions will use a cunning approach and stealth. As they near their target, they will break the silence with a large roar, confusing and scaring the prey. This disorients these helpless animals with confusion and fear. The targets that are the weakest and most isolated are easily trapped. Satan is like a loud, boisterous lion. But he doesn’t start roaring from far away. He waits until he’s close enough to pounce. The danger doesn’t start with the roar. It begins with his crafty pursuit in silence.
Temptations show up as whispered suggestions, half-truths, or even truths told as a lie. They linger long because they are embedded into our culture. They could be realities we assume to be true, or they could show up as respected structures in society. These kinds of temptations are the residual work of our Enemy long at work. Satan quietly uses them every day to draw near to us—and we don’t even know it. He’s just waiting for the right time to confuse, isolate, destroy, and conquer. Christians must take hold of the truth that discerning how the Enemy tempts is the first step in better discerning the voice of God.
At the sound of the word “temptation,” we typically jump to the capital-letter temptations that take the form of various addictions. But there are more subtle versions in the lies of success, false identity, and religiosity. The tendency is to trivialize or dismiss these, but their presence may be even more controlling—and more constant—than the usual suspects. Truth and Lies will help group members understand how God uses temptation to reveal and bring character out of them. Discover how the Enemy works, how to identify the Accuser’s schemes, and what Jesus teaches us through His temptations.
If you want to study this unlikely role of temptation with your group, the Truth and Lies Bible Study Kit is designed to help. The study has six 30-minute teaching videos and a study book to help you and your group discuss and apply Scripture together as well as study further on your own.
This week, I am giving away 10 copies of Truth and Lies: The Unlikely Role of Temptation.
Register to win 1 of 10 copies here or in the form below before 12:01am CT Thursday, August 20th.
You can also purchase a copy at LifeWay.com/TruthandLies.