SUMMARY: As men we do have an enemy working against us that want to keep us from God’s purposes for our life. Our enemy knows he cannot destroy God’s purposes. However, he can keep us from knowing these by distorting the truth. Distortion of truth has been Satan’s tactic since the beginning of time. In today’s Resolute Podcast, Vince Miller gives us three categories of distortions we believe on our path to pursuing our purpose.
Benjamin Kyle was a name given to an American man who during 2004 and 2015, an eleven-year period, had severe amnesia. No one was sure of his real identity, despite a national search. What happened was in August 2004, he was discovered behind a Burger King in Georgia, unconscious and naked behind a dumpster. He had three blunt force depressions in his skull from a beating he endured. Employees discovered him and called emergency services which took him to a hospital in Savannah. He had no ID, and medical staff recorded him as “Burger King Doe.” It was not until two weeks later he regained partial consciousness. After waking up, staff asked for his name, and he remembered that it was Benjamin, but could not recall his last name. After being released from the hospital, Benjamin spent several years between the hospital and men’s shelters. But for years even amid search, no identity was confirmed, and no one came forward. In 2008, he was invited to appear on the Dr. Phil show in hopes that someone might recognize him. But no one did. It was not until late 2015, genetic detective work discovered his real name, which was not Benjamin, but William Burgess Powell. What an incredible story. I cannot imagine what how this would feel. To one day wake up behind a dumpster beaten and just not know who you are. I would assume this would be very perplexing and confusing especially since he was claimed by no one – not one family member or loved one. What is interesting about this story, is that this is almost a parable of our manhood. You see as men; I believe we search our whole life for our identity and roam around confused and lost, looking for it, but never finding it. An experience like this can feel lonely, confusing, and frustrating. However, we know that God does not want us to live this way. And while we are confused about our identity God is not. He knows our purpose and wants us to discover. He does not hide it from us; he wants us to know it and own it. In our last podcast, we clarified the framework and process for knowing this identity. But we do have an enemy working against us that want to keep us from God’s divine, moral, and unique purposes. Our enemy knows he cannot destroy God’s purposes. However, he can keep us from knowing these by distorting the truth. Distortion of truth has been Satan’s tactic since the beginning of time. Just quickly glance back at the garden. The enemy takes the truth and twists, distorts, and manipulates it so that we experience confusion and believe lies disguised as truth. And there is a plethora of distorted truths that he presents to men in our pursuit of purpose. So many that we do not have time to name them all. So I want I would like to do is to give you three general categories into which these distortion fall. And the best way to do this is to look at the temptation of Jesus and how Satan attempted to distort the truth on Jesus’ path to purpose. It is found in Matthew 4:1-10. It reads, Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” 4 But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” 5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple6 and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, “‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and “‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’” 7 Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” 8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” 10 Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’” So how do we see our enemy attempting to distort the truth to lead Jesus away from his purpose? Well in Jesus’ three temptations we see three distortions. First, Satan will try to distort the process on our path to purpose. This is often the case for men. Therefore, we try to speed up the process in our pursuit of purpose like we said last time. And it you have not listened to the last podcast in this series you need to. What we tend to do is begin the process at the end with our unique purpose. This is very tempting. What we learn from the first temptation is that seeking immediate fulfillment will truncate the process and often leave us deeply unfulfilled. When we fall for the lie of seeking success based on our ability, we will eventually be disappointed. I cannot tell you how many times I have a met a man at the end of a long career that wonders if he wasted his whole career pursuing personal fulfillment. And this state of confusion comes from living in his own identity and not God’s. Second, we notice that Satan not only distorts the process but will also take a biblical truth and distort parts of it. This is where Satan is shrewd for two reasons. First, because the lie will look like truth, and second because these lies are often tiny and numerous in nature. This is where distortions are harder to identify. Here the culture, people’s opinions, or sinful are planting tiny thoughts or beliefs in our mind that disguise themselves truth when they are not. And on your journey as a man of God you will encounter hundreds of myopic lies. But for the sake of illustration, let me just give you. How about the lie that, “God knows your purpose, but he is concealing it from you?” Now there is part of this self-talk that is true. “God does know your purpose.” But the second half contains the lie. And the way I know this is that Scripture has a different perspective. For example, take Jeremiah 1:5 where God speaks to the prophet Jeremiah saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” Or how about later on in the same book Jeremiah 29:11, which reads “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” God is not concealing his purposes from us; he is revealing them to us over time. And this slight distortion can be easy to believe when you add in some emotion from the moment, when we do not also take into consideration the timing, and when we are not consistently reading God’s Word. But again this is only one of hundreds of distortions that we will believe over a lifetime if we are not constantly subjecting our mind to the Word of Truth that battle with these lies, which is precisely Jesus’ response here. He fought the distorted lie, with a biblical truth. Third, Satan will distort the end purpose. Finally, we watch as Satan attempts to speed up the process as Jesus pursues his purpose. And while Satan cannot offer the exact product, he appears to offer a similar product. This is a feeble attempt by Satan give he has swung at the ball twice and missed. But for men like you and you me we fall for this shortcut in the process on our way to purpose. I cannot tell you how many times I will put something on a credit card because I want it right now. And we not only do this with the purchasing of products but in pursuit of our purpose. And the key concept here is motivation. Motivation. The question this temptation forces me to ask is, “Do I love God and his purposes so much that I would be willing to be patiently obedient to take the longer path over the shortcut?” Compelling question right? And I know is that Jesus did. He did not let Satan distort his end purpose with a quick fix. So, there you have it three distortions in our pursuit of purpose. The distortion of process, parts, and purpose. Overcome these one day at a time. You have an identity and it based in God’s Word. You don’t have to be like Benjamin Kyle wondering through life confused about your identity. So today I want you to consider the distortion that might be keeping you from living out this identity. And then I want to challenge you to jump onto a web browser and find a verse in the bible that combats this truth. Just type in the lie you have been believing and then type the words “bible verse” after that lie and find a verse that you can hold onto this week. And just for kicks let me leave you with one. It is Matthew 6:33, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”