If we lived according to how God sees us, I think our lives would look drastically different. So often we settle for less, give up or don't even bother praying for our hearts' desires because we're trapped believing lies that keep us from God's best. Thoughts like, 'it's too late anyways," or "I've sinned too much to deserve better" become patterns of thinking that eventually evolve into strongholds if we don't identify these lies, and dispel them with the truth of God's promises. Many long-time Christians are kept from the best that God has for them-freedom over bad habits, career or ministry triumphs, relational breakthroughs-because our thinking is out of line with God's. When we learn to see ourselves through His eyes, and understand our power and ability to overcome is through Him, it absolutely changes the way we approach life Here are a few of the enemy's fan faves.
It's Just Too Late
This is a killer. With every botched career move, failed relationship and deferred hope, we hear that familiar, accusatory whisper. "It's too late now." Went through a killer divorce? Don't even bother-who finds a soulmate at 40, with three kids in tote. Didn't get that promotion or higher title? Just be happy we're you're at. Another rejected loan? Seriously, what were you even thinking? Death to that voice. God is the giver of second, third, and 1,000 chances. He never, ever gives up on us, and time is irrelevant for him. He knows our dreams because he's the one who imparted them within our minds and hearts when he created us. Now place that entrepreneurial venture, dream project or heart's desire in the light of that truth, and simply choose to believe it's not too late. Press in with prayer and trust that God's timing, will be just right.
You've Screwed It Up
I have made more mistakes than David, Esau and Peter combined....and that was last week. But God has never failed to offer me jaw-dropping grace and mercy that really overwhelms me when I reflect on it. Relationship fails. OMGee what was I thinking in '06 Lord?! So much mercy. Bad job decisions, friend choices, different wastes of time-the list of utter life fails could carpet a continent. But one of the top attributes my fallen self has come to appreciate is this: God causes everything to work together for those who love him. So if it's good enough for Paul, who killed a Christian or two before writing much of the New Testament, it's good enough for me. Lamentation 3:22 says His mercies are new every morning. 11 hours 'til the sunrise....phew.
You Don't Have the Time or Energy
Sometimes when we're the most sleep deprived, most pressured, or most unenthused to follow God's will, we're most "wowed" by God if we're obedient in the end. I think the enemy scores the most in this department, especially in westernized culture, where we're pulled in a 100 different directions and lured by a million distractions. It's easy to think we don't have time to start a life group every Wednesday. Or join a prayer group, or take a new Christian under your wing and take them out to breakfast once a week. And this is the excuse a lot of use tell ourselves when wishing we had time to pursue our dreams or personal ventures. If I had believed this lie years ago When God called me to a prison ministry with two babies in diapers and four hours of sleep per night, I would have missed out on the biggest spiritual adventure of my life. It might test us at first, and be difficult in the moment, but God always gives us the strength to get through, day by day. And the rewards are endless. If we have time to binge watch the newest season of Parenthood, commit to spinning class or a weekly round of golf, we have time to serve him. We'll leave our time on Facebook out of this.
You Don't Have What it Takes
Ah, self doubt. Whenever you hear that voice of negativity accusing you of having less than what it takes for that position, relationship, parental task, ministry, etc. shut it down. Shut it down with scriptures like Matthew 19:26 assuring us nothing, is impossible with God. That we can do all things through Chris who strengthens us. Now this doesn't mean we can become a pointe ballet star at 45 years old by namin' and claimin' it, but if God has planted a dream in your heart, or has called you to something you're doubtful of, he'll equip you with the capability. So many of us give up before even trying, because we think a project or dream is beyond our abilities or the stakes are against us. I think some of us pray more than actually try. One of the biggest accomplishments of my lifetime was a result of prayer, but I still hit dozens of snags, hurdles and rejections along the way before succeeding. God will see it through, but you sometimes you have to be in it for the long haul.
You Don't Deserve It
As a reformed jerk, this one really got me for a while. I was so happy when I finally gave my stubborn heart to the Lord, but I think I still carried around some of the guilt and shame from my formerly selfish ways, that I didn't necessarily see myself as a perfected, sinless child of God and heir to His Kingdom. More like a beggar let into the King's kitchen for the leftover scraps. I'd say things like "I'm praying about that, but I'll be happy with whatever God wills." Or "I'm just happy with whatever." Salvation is and should be enough for us. Anything else God chooses to bless us with is frosting on the cake of life, but Jesus spoke of abundant life, for all of us. Including former partiers who considered recycling an act of benevolence. We're not just supposed to scrape by, grateful to be alive and one day in eternity. He wants us to be fulfilled, passionate about life and blessed with goodness and health. The enemy can't take our salvation, but he'll try harder than heck to rob us of our joy and destiny while we're still here. Speak goodness over your life, and don't let him rob you of another second of victory.
Whether it's self doubt, guilt over past wrongs or just feeling inadequate, learn to recognize those aren't God's thoughts, they're the enemy's way of keeping us from joy, peace and success. We're made in God's image, created for excellence and there's nothing we can't do through Him, if we learn to trust in his Word and see ourselves through His eyes. No more lies!