Discovering our strength in Christ through our weakness in flesh
The way up is down. How contradicting? How does that work? Lately I have been reading a lot on prayer, and this song lyric really hit while driving. When we bow our heads, or drop to our knees to pray, we are surrendering, and the act of surrendering is giving ourselves up. This lyric about prayer fits this post because our weakness in flesh drives us into prayer and that is what allows us to discover our strength in Christ.
A passage that used to be so confusing to me and made clear over the past few weeks is 2 Corinthians 12:9-10. If we read this verse it talks about how God’s power is “made perfect in weakness” and how “when I am weak, I am strong”. This is difficult for us to grasp in today’s society with everyone preaching independence and being strong. Yet, we don’t fully know how to be independent because we weren’t made to function that way, and our own strength will never be enough to handle the difficulties that are sure to abound our lives. We are just told.
A life of independence is actually just the opposite of what God calls us to. He calls us to an abiding life in John 15:4:
“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me”.
Abiding means to continue without fading or being lost, so we are being called to this relationship with our Heavenly Father, not to act on our own, but to continue remaining in Him without being lost. This isn’t to say that we won’t have trials in our lives, He tells us we will, John 16:33 “in this world you will have trouble”. Now that part of the verse may sound disheartening, but the next part is comforting, He says “take heart for I have overcome the world”. That is why our dependency can be found in Him. He knew we couldn’t handle it on our own, and that is why He affirms us, so that we can take heart in our dependence on Him.
How are we made strong when we are weak? What does this even mean? How can something that is weak be made perfect? Our inability to be perfect is what allows God to move in us. Weakness causes us to feel helpless, and that is where God comes in.
Matthew 11:28: “Come to me all you who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest”. We meet Jesus face to face when we are real, when we are weak, when we are helpless. This helplessness drives us to look for dependency, and who better to look towards than God? Our dependency drives us into a regular conversation with Him, in essence, we are bringing our weaknesses to God. Dependency is the Christian lifestyle and the heart of prayer.
We realize we can’t do this on our own anymore, and we turn to God for help. Many of us realize this step, but once God has intervened and helped us, we toss Him to the wayside. Maybe because we feel like we are bothering God, or maybe because we just look at Him as a life support. Like we only come to Him when we need help and once the help has come it’s over until the next time. I am here to tell you, that life is not satisfying, it is the bare minimum – a glimpse of what God wants to do in your life. God tells us that He is with us wherever we go, through the highs through the lows, He is right next to us. I had this outlook of not wanting to bring my problems unless they were urgent, other than that I figured I could handle it on my own, and that was exhausting. I realized I wasn’t treating my relationship with God like a son would his father, and eventually that is what broke me.
Now after we have realized we can’t do this on our own anymore, and God intervenes, that shouldn’t then just result in us going back to our normal lives waiting on the next time we need to call on Him. That should actually affirm that we need Him in our lives! Our relationship with Jesus shouldn’t change, how we receive Him is how we follow Him, Paul says in Colassians 2:6 “Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him”. We are to continually walk in our helplessness because that is the only way God’s grace works, it is how we came to Him – weary and heavy-laden.
When you feel angry, pray. When you feel anxious, pray. When you feel excited, pray. When things are going right, pray. When things are going wrong, pray. Every aspect of our lives is meant to be included with God, He wants it all. God is not to be compartmentalized. Give up your kingdom for His kingdom, there can’t be both. Be like a little child and be dependent on God for your every need, admit your weaknesses and ask that He fill those gaps. When prayer becomes our lifestyle we lose control and independence. Allow prayer to take over your life, in this you abide in Him, and in this His power will be made perfect in your weakness.
Chance Huff, a Niceville, Florida native, is a Junior at Georgia Tech where he plays baseball. A huge fan of The Office and all things food, you can find him enjoying time with friends, family (including brother Christian and sister-in-law, Sadie), and encouraging people toward Jesus.
Note from Team LO: We are SO excited to bring you this month’s post from our LO sister member, Mahala Bradburn! If you want to be a part of this incredible community, you can join today and your your first week FREE! Find out more about this online sisterhood HERE. Now, enjoy today’s post from Mahala 🙂
I miss you, old friend.
When was the last time I called to catch up? March? January? It’s been far too long. Things have been crazy here in Nampa. I don’t know if you’ve heard or not, but there’s like a massive pandemic shutting down the entire world right now. Crazy, right? That’s what I thought. What’s worse, basically our whole spring volleyball season at Idaho State University got cancelled because of the virus. Can you believe that? It’s like the worst thing that could ever happen to me. How do people expect me to go about my life as if everything is fine when the thing I love the most has been taken away from me? On top of that, all my friends moved home while I was still in Pocatello (well, except for a handful, some of which couldn’t have cared less whether I was there or not). So not only do I no longer have volleyball, but I’m also utterly and completely alone. Let’s just say, the spring was not fun. With summer in my sights, I embarked on a sunny journey towards high hopes and new adventures… But that didn’t last long, as COVID only got worse, and the separation from my people was even more glaring than before. Sounds pretty awful I know, right? Oh well, I’ll get through it or something like that.
Oh shoot, it’s time for dinner. I feel bad, but I need to go eat. I’ll try to talk soon. Until next time.
P.S. Oh, how are you? Sorry, I forgot to ask.
If your quiet time with Jesus was summed up in a letter, would yours write something like this? I know mine would, and I’m guilty.
No matter to what degree your world has been affected by COVID, we have all become bitter one way or another. It’s easy to be bitter when life isn’t going the way you want it to. I should probably have the word bitter tattooed in big letters on my forehead at this point. But there’s only so far bitter will take us. And even if we decide to journey with it for only a little while, it won’t take us in a good direction. In bitterness, we are moody. In bitterness, we are withdrawn. In bitterness, our hearts are hardened. Yet in bitterness, we desperately seek for someone to empathize with us; we crave connection. Does a moody, withdrawn, hard-hearted person achieve connection? It seems like a stupid question. So why do we tell ourselves the answer is yes? And then continue on the path to our destruction and wonder why we’re obliterated… We are going in the opposite direction of what we’re longing to achieve and wondering why we’re not getting any closer.
Friend, get off the train. Don’t wait for the next stop, flat out jump out the window. Bitterness is not the answer. Take it from someone who’s tried it the last four months. If it’s not COVID, it’s your relationship. If only he was cuter/smarter/taller, then we’d have the perfect relationship. If it’s not your relationship, it’s your job. I work my butt off (dare I say, harder than everyone else) and still go without recognition, promotion, or affirmation. There is always something to be bitter about.
Let’s live to a higher standard. Let’s be set apart as God has called us to be.
“Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, SET APART as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.” 2 Timothy 2:21 (ESV)
Instead of being bitter, let’s surrender and let God be enough. Before this pandemic, if anyone were to come up to me and ask where my identity laid, I would’ve said in Jesus. I wouldn’t have admitted to having any idols in my life. As COVID wrecked everything I spent my time doing and poured my heart into, I realized I was left with nothing. At the end of the day, I was no one if I wasn’t a volleyball player, a student, a friend. This is not true. But it’s what I had grown to believe, and it took a worldwide pandemic to get me to open my eyes and realize it. How sad.
But the truth is, I am still a volleyball player, a student, a friend, and everything else even if those things no longer occupy a majority of my time each day. But most of all, I am a child of God. And most importantly, that was my true identity the whole time I was trying to find it in all those other things. While those worldly titles serve a purpose today but could be gone tomorrow or at any time, my identity as a Daughter of God never changes. It is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Just as Jesus is (Hebrews 13:8). What a hope we have in an ever-changing, unpredictable world!
As God speaks to me often through music, I can’t help but think of the lyrics to Branan Murphy’s song, “Enough:”
Reminiscing, missing how You captivate me
Lately, I’ve been wondering if I can make it…
Cause I think we lost who we are
In the times that we rise, the times that we fall…
When did You stop being enough for me?
When did You stop being enough?
Is Jesus enough for you? If not, what are you going to do about it? We’re in this together. After all, Jesus + nothing = everything (always).
Write Him a letter. He’d love to hear from you.
Mahala Bradburn is one of thousands of members of Sadie’s app, LO sister, and a student athlete at Idaho state university. She hopes to be a secondary math teacher along with a mental health counselor in the future. She loves to write, create, and help those around her have a happier life. She believes we all need some light in the darkness.
Note from Team LO: We are SO excited to bring you this month’s post from our LO sister member, Abbie Miller! If you want to be a part of this incredible community, the doors are currently open! Find out more about this online sisterhood HERE. Now, enjoy today’s post from Abbie 🙂
I’m not writing to you as someone who wants to preach at you or tell you to suck it up. I’m not going to chastise you for the decisions you may have made that have led you here. I won’t call you dramatic or insist that you are nothing more than an attention seeker. I refuse to tell you this is all a mental thing and that you’ll feel better if you just “think about good things.” More than likely, thinking about good things hurts even worse, doesn’t it? At this point, you wholeheartedly believe those good things are out of your reach. You think you’re too dirty. You think you’re undeserving and unworthy. You believe you are broken.
Are you exhausted from forcing yourself to smile, when smiling is the last thing you want to do? Are you terrified to dream for fear of waking up to the pain that never seems to be completely gone? Are you desperately seeking love in any place you can find it, knowing that if you give in, you’re going to wake up tomorrow feeling more useless than you felt today?
Dear Hopeless Heart, my friend, I’m not here to feed you with empty promises of a tomorrow that is completely free from worry or pain. I’m here to tell you that I know you. And though you may feel all alone in that dark and hopeless place, you’re not. My friend, you are never alone.
I met someone a little while ago, while I was grieving for my own hopeless heart. Maybe you don’t trust men. Maybe you don’t trust fathers. That’s okay, I didn’t either. This Man is different. He didn’t meet me with a look of disappointment. He didn’t walk away from me when He listened to me curse at Him nor did He turn His eyes away from me when He saw my past. The names I had grown used to hearing, the way my body was misused and taken advantage of, the alcohol, the countless nights I questioned if there would ever be anyone who wasn’t going to walk away from me -He saw it all. My shame and guilt had finally become too big to hide and too heavy for me to carry, and I broke. Right in front of Him, I broke. And as I looked up, expecting to see another person running away from me, I was met with the tear-soaked face of this strange and magnificent Man. Slowly and gently, He began to wipe away the mascara stained tears from my cheeks and whispered to me what He saw in me.
You are beautiful.
You are strong.
You are enough.
You are good.
You are worth fighting for.
You are going to move mountains.
You are an overcomer.
You are important.
You are My friend.
You are My daughter.
My friend, I had never ever let myself believe that there was better. I had accepted that the darkness was all life had to offer me. And if I had never met that Man, you may know Him as Jesus, darkness is the only thing I could have expected to find. A long time ago I was told that darkness is merely the absence of light. This Man, Jesus, is a light that can never burn out. Where He is, darkness flees. His nature is one of mercy, love, compassion, and patience. As you mourn for all that this life may have taken from you, He kneels down to meet you right in the middle of that mess and embraces you. My friend, that hug is what gave me life. At last, I could breathe. I ask, I beg, let Him hold you. Dare to believe Him. Dare to let Him in.
Dear Hopeless Heart, as impossible as it may seem, you have the potential to be a beacon of hope for others who have felt what you are feeling right now. Your pain is not meaningless. Jesus is The Redeemer. He uses it all, nothing will be wasted. Dear Hopeless Heart, dare to hope again.
I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Abbie Miller currently attending West Texas A&M University where she plans to major in Social Work. Her dream is to spend her life speaking the words God is so good at filling her with. You can read more from Abbie at www.heyletsthrive.com
The “Young and Scrappy” (aka Team LO) are coming to you from the blog today! We’re bringing the behind the scenes of our team to you. Each of us has our own gifts, talents, and advice that we want to share with you! We all were was asked to share the best advice they have ever been given, and a little of our story of how we ended up at Team LO.
**PLUS: Team LO has invented something called the “egg test” and had a ton of fun with it. Keep reading to find out: which egg are you?
Court (over medium egg):
Up first is our California girl, Court! The best advice she has ever received is from her dad. He shared with her, “If you are doing the Lord’s work, and you can make what you need to live, then you will be the richest person on earth.” This advice has stuck with Court as she has navigated the transitions of careers in her young adult life. Court’s dad is a very successful businessman who spent most of his life pouring into business, so for her to hear that from him, she knew it was right.
It’s a lot easier said than done to really live out the gifts that God has given us in our careers. We can get so distracted by what the world tells us is right in a career that we aren’t paying attention to what God is telling us we need in a career. It is so important to step into what God has called you to do, and he will provide.
Court has been on Team LO for three years, now. Sadie and Court had become friends before team members, and Sadie had asked Court one day, “Are you living out the dreams and skills that the Lord has given you?” Whoa. It was a hard reality when Court realized that the answer to that question was, no. She had a great career working in marketing for a university. Her degree was in marketing and this just seemed right. When she thought about the questions harder, she knew that she had a heart for college ministry and designing. But where in the world was she going to be able to find a job with both those things?
Fast forward a week, Sadie called Court and asked her to say yes to Team LO which was very unknown at the time. Court knew that though her prayers the Lord was calling her to say yes. The yes was to trust God knowing that he would provide. When you say yes even though you can’t see what’s coming, God rewards that and he has blown Court away in the way that he has provided abundantly.
She moved to Nashville with Sadie and day by day they asked God what he wanted them to do. They got a website together, started the Instagram, and truly just prayed for direction. God showed up and provided in all the small moments in friendships, the team, and creatively. Court has learned so much in creating, pursuing the Lord, and how to be a good friend and teammate.
When God is calling you to a yes, you don’t know what is on the other side of that! God is going to reward that yes.
Steph (hard boiled egg):
Next up we have our key dot connector, Steph! Her best advice also comes from her dad and that’s, “Think before you act.” It sounds simple but this has saved us all from a great deal of heartache and pain along the way. It’s so easy to fire off a quick response, but in the background hearing “think before you act” causes us all to take a step back and think about the consequences of our actions or our words if we aren’t careful.
Steph and Sadie met on a beach trip with mutual friends. Steph worked in the entertainment industry at the time and studied music business at Belmont University in Nashville. She had the perfect “dream job” working at a music label. But there was a part of her that felt a call into ministry, but she wasn’t sure what that looked like yet. Sadie later reached out to Steph and asked her to join the Live Original team as a Tour Manager. This was scary. Steph was given a choice to stay where she was and be comfortable in her “dream” job or jump into the unknown. Steph didn’t feel equipped for this job based on her skill set or personality. Praying through that was scary and the only way she said yes was because God had asked her to step into it.
Steph realized that if God is calling her, he was going to equip her. He would never call her to something that she wasn’t capable of. God reminded her that her personality type as the perfect type for this position and God developed her into the person that she was. Steph has built so much confidence in the Lord through this position. And yes, it can still be uncomfortable and scary, but every time those feelings come, God shows up. Loving the uncomfortable is so important. God brings an abundance of joy when you step into the uncomfortable that God takes us unto. He increased our faith and shows up every time.
Morgan (scrambled egg):
Now we have our scrambled egg, Morgan. Morgan’s best advice ALSO comes from her dad. Morgan lost her dad when she was 15 very suddenly and that was a very confusing time in her life and caused a lot of questioning and pain. But her dad wrote her a letter before he passed and said, “Always remember where your home is”. At the time this seemed random and Morgan was confused as to what or where her home was. Through the years, this advice has been a reminder to Morgan that we can be stripped of anything in life, but at the end of the day if we can remember where true home is, that’s always going to give us peace hope and stability. Our home is not found on this earth and is not out forever. Her dad was giving her a taste of the future. When the world is telling us that our world is found here in earthly things, we can remember that our citizenship is found in heaven. Every good gift here is a glimpse of what’s to come because we are promised so much more, which is our heavenly home.
Morgan was working in real estate before joining Team LO but got to tag along on the tour since her husband was the tour pastor. On the tour, she noticed the way that team loved and cheered each other on. Morgan felt the need to pray with Sadie and she knew that in 2019 God was going to do big things. Morgan had a burning desire to run the race with the team but kept that desire to herself because she didn’t feel equipped. Next thing you know, Sadie had asked Morgan to join the team. Morgan was not a writer at all but was asked to come on the team as someone who leads the blog and join and lead LO sister.
If you have a desire that you know aligns with what God would want, He put that there for a reason and you should go after that. She knew that it wouldn’t be her own skills that would get her thought it, but God’s. Morgan actually failed the editing test for the job. TRUE STORY. Sadie hired Morgan anyway and told Morgan, “I don’t care about the editing test because that’s not why I’m hiring you.” What Sadie conveyed to Morgan that day was that our value is not found in our performance. He is a God who shows up in our weaknesses. Are we asking God to show up in places where we would fail without him? He had to show up for Morgan or she couldn’t do the job that was being asked of her.
The common thread of each of these stories is that God is the center of all of this, and none of it would be possible without Him. Everyone said yes to LO before it was even a thing or successful. They all said yes when they had successful careers, but felt the Lord calling them to something else.
The value of each team member is in their hearts and who they are in Christ. Man looks at the outward appearance, but God does something for the heart. Everything we do as Team LO is so much bigger than who we are as individuals. It has to be God. God is bigger than anything that we could ever accomplish on our own. God is enough for all of this.
When you introduce yourself, what do you say? How do you answer that prolific little icebreaker, the one that often pops up during a job interview or at a meeting of semi-acquainted friends, “Tell us a little about yourself.”
I’ll go first. Here’s what I used to say:
“Hi, I’m Paula. I’m a journalist for ABC, where I anchor the weekend edition of GMA and serve as a co-host on The View.”
Occasionally, I might add that I’m a wife and a mother. That I grew up in the Midwest. That I’m a Christian. But I always, always led with my career.
My career wasn’t something I did. My career was who I was. My entire identity was completely enmeshed in my vocation—and at the time, I didn’t think anything of it. In my mind, being a good journalist and giving my all to my career was what it looked like to pursue my life’s calling. I was making the most of my natural-born talent, given to me by my Creator when he formed me in the womb. Wasn’t I?
Until God got my attention through a series of unfortunate events—that’s putting it lightly, it was a year of hell, really—I didn’t understand that perhaps being obsessed with my job, with advancing in my career, with leaning in, with making a name for myself, wasn’t the point.
So what exactly did it take for me to get there? Within seven months, I experienced a miscarriage, a concussion, a head-on car crash, and influenza that turned into pneumonia. I finally accepted that it was time to step off the fast track, and I finally left the anchor chair at GMA Weekend and departed the co-host seat at The View.
But when I did, I was utterly and completely lost.
Who was I outside of what I did?
As a Christian, I’ve heard the buzzwords “purpose” and “calling” tossed around my entire life. For the longest time, I thought calling and career were synonymous, because as great as we are at talking about callings, we are pretty terrible at communicating how to determine and pursue the all-important, ever-elusive calling.
Stepping back from the spotlight started me on my personal journey to discover my calling. I came to find that in this life, we all have two callings: a faith calling and a vocational calling.
Faith calling is our PURPOSE. It will never change. It’s why we’re on this earth. For me, it’s to love God and to love people. Notice, it has nothing to do with career.
While faith calling is who we are, vocational calling is what we do. It is sheerly the vehicle, the conduit by which we’ll love God and love people, by which we’ll fulfill our faith calling. Vocational calling can and WILL change throughout our lives. If we attach our identity and purpose to doing, to “what we do,” when that vocation inevitably shifts, we’ll have an identity crisis. I know. Because I had one.
I had to learn that living out our faith calling is the most important thing that we can do in this life—more important than our careers. But living a life of purpose requires you to know why you’re doing what you’re doing and who you are doing it for. It means never deviating from the why no matter what path you choose.
But how do you stay rooted in your faith calling when the world puts so much pressure on you to work the next hour, make the next dollar, go after the next big promotion? By remaining attached to who you are in God.
Jesus tells us in John 15:1, 4, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. . . . No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine.” This verse is not primarily about vocational calling. It applies to all of life. If we’re to bear fruit in the Christian life—whether at home, in our communities, or in our vocations—we have to remain fixed to Jesus, rooted in him. We have to be about the things he was about and moving in the ways he wants us to move. We have to draw all our wisdom, all our strength, all our sustenance from the true vine. We have to let God direct all our outcomes.
When it comes to our vocational calling, rooting into the vine might mean passing up career opportunities and slowing down to be more present to your family, friends, and community. It could mean taking the promotion, or changing career fields, or becoming a freelancer, or stepping away from your career to be a stay-at-home wife or husband so that you can express the love of God to various people in different ways.
No matter the branch of your vocational calling, though, if it’s not rooted in the true vine of faith calling, if it’s not supported and nourished by God’s life, it won’t bear fruit. And what does Jesus say about branches not rooted in the vine, branches not bearing fruit?
“He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch
that does bear fruit he prunes, so that it will be even more fruitful.”
Looking at my own career, I suppose I could say it had been fruitful in a certain sense. There were times I expressed my faith calling, my purpose through my career. I’d been open about my faith, had shared God’s love with people. But was my vocational calling completely rooted in my faith calling? Hardly. So God pruned away (using the Year of Hell, no less), ultimately calling me to take a step back and reevaluate my vocational options. As I did, as God revealed the ways I’d rooted my identity in the wrong things—my own career—he helped me correct my course. He helped me find new identity in him. He helped me see how I could use my vocational skills to spread a different message—a message of faith and purpose.
So what about you? Do you know who you are outside of your job?
Maybe you find yourself in a situation similar to mine. You’re a determined achiever, completely caught up in proving your worth by building a successful career.
Maybe the change in pace, the time off from work or the time spent working from home during the last few weeks has you realizing that you’ve invested too much of yourself pursuing a career instead of pursuing a calling. Maybe it’s revealed you’ve misplaced your significance in things that shift and shake in a crisis.
Or maybe you’ve suddenly found yourself without a job, wondering what’s next, and who you even are anymore, as so many have in the midst of these uncertain times.
I want to encourage you to look past your vocation for your worth, your identity. Your worth isn’t in your work. Your value isn’t in your vocation. Your calling isn’t in your career.
Now, more than ever, the world needs for people to be living out their faith callings. Living purposefully, showing God’s love to one another, whether that’s at work or from the confines of your home. And you have something important to bring to that table.
You are the only you—an original. God created you with unique talents and interests, a combination that is unique to only you. You’re the only one who can use that unique combination of talents and interests to spread the love of God, a message of faith and purpose, to all those you encounter. And I can assure you, there are many who need to hear that message—from you—right now.
You are so much more than what you do. You are a child of God.
Paula Faris is a senior national correspondent at ABC News, host of the popular podcast Journeys of Faith with Paula Faris, and author of the new book Called Out. An Emmy Award-winning journalist, Paula previously was co-anchor of the Good Morning America weekend edition, as well as a co-host of The View. She lives in New York with her husband and children.
In the very beginning, the Lord spoke, and when He spoke, there was life and light and beauty and order. When He spoke, there were boundaries in pleasant places. When He spoke, there was freedom. This is the Lord. He created people in His own image, in His image He created people without shame. He walked with Adam and Eve, the first man and woman, in the cool of the day because He made people to be in relationship with Him. He designed us to be in relationship with Him, and He desires a relationship with us. He said this was very good; He was pleased; from His Word came goodness.
One day, the serpent approached Eve and asked the very first question ever asked in the Bible. He asked if God really said what He did. The enemy questioned God’s Word. He questioned the character, the perfection, the word of God in the ear of Eve. She first responded to his lie with confidence, but he responded to her with an answer of deceit to his own question. The serpent told her that God was trying to withhold goodness. Eve was convinced and therefore, she disobeyed God, as did her husband, Adam. Immediately, they felt shame (see Genesis 3). Wow. What the enemy offered to be pleasing was the very thing he used to steal their freedom and intimacy with the Lord . . . and it all started with a questioning of the Word.
Again, when the Lord approached Gideon in Judges 6, He declared that Gideon was a mighty warrior, a hero. Yet Gideon replied with “Pardon me” and began to explain why he couldn’t be who God said he was and couldn’t do what God was calling him to do because of his status and his family history. Isn’t it interesting that the enemy would whisper lies of insecurity and fear in the midst of God speaking courage and provision? The enemy does not want us to hear and believe the Word of the Lord, because when we believe, the Lord begins to do exceedingly and abundantly greater things than what we could ever ask or imagine according to His power at work within us (Ephesians 3:20).
And again, in Matthew 4, Jesus is in the wilderness, and the enemy approaches Him three different times. He approaches Him with questions. He questioned Jesus’ identity. He questioned the Lord’s provision. He questioned the contentment that the Lord gives and how worthy the Lord is of all worship. But Jesus, all three times, responds with God’s Word. Jesus lived in a way that we should follow. Jesus believed the Word, learned the Word, spoke the Word, and lived out the Word.
If we don’t know truth, the lies we are told will appear to be true because we won’t know any better. The Lord has placed on my heart three lies that we as women believe, and the truth that He wants us to know to combat them.
Lie #1: I am my title/relationships/accomplishments/failures.
My dad came into my room one morning and sat with me as he shared something with me I will never forget. He told me to pretend that all of my titles were taken away. He told me to pretend that there were no more book deals, no more speaking opportunities, no more YouTube subscribers, no more Instagram followers, no more boyfriend (now fiancé), no more education, no more (fill in the blank J) . . . and then he proceeded to ask me, “With all of these things taken away, who are you?” I sat and thought, and he told me that I am a daughter of the Lord no matter what title or position I am given. No matter what relationship I am in and no matter what other’s opinions are of me, I belong to the Lord. No matter how many successes or failures I have, I belong to the Lord.
But this is a lie that the enemy will whisper into our ears. He will seek to convince us, just as he has since the very beginning, that our worth and value and identity are discovered in what we do, what people say about us, what relationships we are in, and what positions we have. The moment that these things change though, if we have believed this lie, our worth and value and identity change right along with it. Once we fail, well, now we must be failures. Once people disapprove of us or speak hatefully about us, well, now we must not be loveable or enough. Once relationships end, well, we must not be pretty enough. Once positions change, well, we must not have been important to the team or brought enough to the table or not be as talented as we thought. Whew! It’s exhausting.
I have had someone tell me that I was hideous and someone else tell me that I was beautiful in a matter of seconds—how confusing! What am I supposed to think about myself hearing that? When that’s where my identity is, I am a constant hot mess.
Lie #2: Some chains just don’t unshackle, and this is just who I am.
Another lie that is commonly whispered and believed is that we are our fears, our anxieties, our thought patterns, our addictions, and so on. I raise my hand on this because I do sometimes speak with a defeated tone in my voice because I feel as though there is no getting around worry or thought patterns that leave me exhausted.
We tend to think, “I know that Jesus came and defeated my sin, death, and the grave; I know that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus; I know that Christ came so that I may have abundant life—but this is just different.” It’s almost as if we know that the same power that raised Jesus from the grave lives in us, but we aren’t actually believing it. The enemy wants us to believe that there are certain things beyond the Cross—certain things out of God’s reach—certain things that simply cannot be impacted by the power of the Cross, and it’s simply not true. If the enemy can convince us as women that we are what we struggle with and that the power of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus is limited, then we will unknowingly walk in a limited version of what God originally intended for us as His daughters.
When you think of who you are, do you automatically think about what you struggle with? Have you believed that this is simply who you are and that nothing can change that? Are you convinced that maybe this was meant to be?
I beg to differ, my love. God does not contradict His Word and what has been written above is pretty opposed to what He actually says about me and you.
Lie #3: My freedom is restricted when I obey God’s Word.
There is a misconception that many people have, which is that “if I am living out God’s Word than I am missing out on fun and freedom.” The enemy has whispered a lie in the ears of women that the Word of God is a list of rules, do’s and don’ts, and if we live by it then we never get to experience true satisfaction and happiness because we are restricted.
Just as the serpent made disobedience to God look pleasing to the eye and good, so does he want us as women to believe that we are missing out on true pleasure by being obedient to God, so therefore, we should go do whatever looks good to our eyes and whatever feels good to us in the moment. He does this by tricking many to be convinced that God’s Word is restricting rather than liberating.
But, as we saw with Adam and Eve, the moment they gratified themselves and went against God’s Word, they were ashamed, and they hid. The enemy knows that God’s Word is our hope that does not put us to shame, so of course he doesn’t want us being obedient to that which deepens our relationship with our Creator! The enemy is deceitful and crafty, but he is doing the same thing he has been doing all along. He attempts to convince us that the world is better than the Word, and every time we take a bite of this lie, we are left unsatisfied. He lies to us by saying that if we’re living out God’s Word, then we’re missing out on true fun and freedom.
Speaking about the truth that God wants us to know, I simply want to share His Word that combats each of these three lies. I encourage you to write down the verses that resonate with the season you are in and put them somewhere that you will see them every day (whether that be on your refrigerator, in your car, or on your mirror). It’s one thing to read an encouraging blog, but it’s another to take this truth beyond this moment and believe it, learn it, speak it, and live it out in your own daily life. This is powerful, ladies. This is life changing and nothing I ever write in a blog to you is more powerful than what the Lord has already spoken to you in His Word.
Truth to combat the lie that you are your title, relationships, positions, accomplishments/failures, or others’ opinions of you: Genesis 1:27; Psalm 23:1; Psalm 139; Ephesians 1:1-14; Ephesians 2:10; Philippians 4:12-13
Truth to combat the lie that some chains just don’t unshackle, and your struggle is just who you are: Isaiah 41:10; Matthew 11:28-30; John 10:10; Galatians 5:1; 1 Peter 5:7
Truth to combat the lie that you are restricted from fun and freedom when obeying God’s Word: Psalm 119; Isaiah 55; Matthew 7; John 8:32; 1 John 5:3
The power of God’s Word is so real. The enemy is the father of lies and therefore, always leaves us questioning the Word (John 8:44). Psalm 29; Psalm 138; Jeremiah 17; Jeremiah 20:9; and Ephesians 6 remind us that we have can have confidence in the Word of God because we have confidence in God. Because we have confidence in God, we have confidence in what He says.
Emma Mae Jenkins is a 21-year-old lover of Jesus and people. The color yellow, smiling, and flowers are some of her favorite things. She is the daughter of Jason and Amanda Jenkins and older sister of her brother, Nolan Jenkins. Emma attends Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, where she majors in Women’s Christian Leadership. Out of an overflow of God’s love, she travels throughout the country speaking at conferences and retreats to be a messenger of God’s Word. The Lord has blessed Emma with platforms of influence to glorify Him through social media and YouTube. Walking in obedience to these opportunities, she is able to invest in the lives of thousands worldwide.
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