James 1:13 "When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone."
Beginning a New Year and restarting a Bible reading plan found me in John 1 this morning as I sat in my living room with a blanket over my legs and prayed. John 1 starts out with some great theological fodder with verses like, the Word was with God. The Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. But this morning my attention was focused on something else.
In verses 19, 20 the Jews send priest and Levites to see if John was the promised Messiah. He quickly told them no, but that the Messiah was among them and indicated that He would be revealed shortly. But when Jesus is revealed by John, the guy they thought was the Messiah, no one believes him.
John didn't perform miracles. Didn't socialize with anyone - priest or sinner. Didn't heal the lame or free the demon possessed. He just preached, Prepare the way of the Lord! For this he is asked if he is the Messiah. But when Messiah is revealed with signs and wonders, healing and casting out demons. The Priests and Levites seem to be oblivious to this. It seems to me to be a willful case of mistaken identity.
And then my mind started going - which often happens - and I jump to something seemingly unrelated.
I have also mistaken God for someone else.
The truth is that I have at times mistaken God for the one causing my problems. I have blamed Him for everything, from a lack of finances, to broken down cars to struggles in my marriage or with my kids. It occurred to me that I was pointing at God when I should have been running from Satan. Mistaken identity.
God does not harm us or bring harm to us. He teaches. He instructs. He disciplines. But those are completely different from tempting or harming. Satan uses these tactics to get us to blame God for our problems - but it's misplaced. Mistaken identity.
In this New Year I will be more aware of Satan's schemes to get me to blame God for a particular situation or challenge. I will look to God for help, recognizing that Satan wants to harm.
Monte Drenner in his book, Spiritual Breakthroughs says this, "Satan's lies are much easier to believe and to live than the promises of God."
His lie is that God is out to punish you. To harm you. To pay you back for your sins. But it is Satan who is tempting you. Satan who is disrupting your life and causing you pain. He is a liar and so you can trust that everything that comes out of his mouth is a lie. He hates you and wants you to die so that you suffer with him. God loves you and sent His own Son to die in your place so that you wouldn't have to suffer.
Father, help me to see You for who You really are. Forgive me for the times that I have blamed you for the things that Satan has brought into my life. Help me to recognize his games and turn to you for help and hope when He is on the attack.