If we say we are a Christian and believe that God’s Word is inspired and infallible (For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Hebrews 4:12) then there are some of truths that we need to face.
I have just finished reading Nancy Leigh DeMoss’s book Lies Women Believe. But wait! Before you say “I am not a woman so this doesn’t affect me”, listen to a few of these truths that she brings to light that affect every Christian, no matter if you are a man or woman, young or old–
1. God is good (Psalm 119:68) . This is so easy to believe when the sun is shining and everything is going our way. But when the clouds come and life is hard, this is still true. It is so important to remember this at all times.
2. My past does not have to plague me (I Corinthians 6: 9-11). We are new creatures. We are not a victim of our “yesterday”. Yes, we need to suffer with the consequences of some of our choices. But the good news is that we can make good choices today. We can live for Jesus today. We can react and respond in a way that pleases God. We can’t go back and change how we were treated as a child or make a different decision. But we can choose to forgive today. We can make the right choice today.
“The Truth is that our past-our upbringing, the ways we have been wronged, and the ways we have wronged others-these things do not have to be hindrances. In fact, by God’s grace, they can actually become stepping stones to greater victory and fruitfulness.” p. 258
3. I can do anything God asks of me, through the power of the Holy Spirit (I Thessalonians 5:23-24). As Nancy puts it on p. 259 There is no one we cannot forgive. There is no one we cannot love. We can give thanks in all things. We can be content in every circumstance. Those are pretty convicting words, aren’t they? Because it means that if I am struggling with any of those things, it has been my choice to struggle. I have chosen not to forgive. I have chosen to live a life of complaining, instead of the better way of gratitude. God has provided the Holy Spirit to comfort and strengthen us. Why are we struggling so hard to live on our own power?
4. I will reap what I sow (Galatians 6:7-8). In this day of “instant everything”, we have a hard time thinking past the present moment. We fail to reflect on what consequences the choices we make today will have on our lives– and on the lives of those we love–tomorrow, or a week from now, or 5 years from now. Sometimes we focus on only the big “life” choices (who we marry, our careers, etc), but every choice we make–from failing to eat correctly to what entertainment we choose to spend our time on to the friends we choose to hang with–all have consequences.
5. The pathway to true joy is to relinquish control (I Peter 5:7) Oh, this is a tough one. Especially for mothers! But how true. We can only control one thing. Ourselves. We can control our responses and reactions. We can control what we say and what we think. But we need to put the rest into God’s hands and rest in Him. Sometimes I find myself relinquishing control of the same situation multiple times a day. For some reason, I keep going back and picking up the burden!
6. Personal holiness is more important than temporal happiness (Ephesians 5:26-27). This certainly flies in the face of a culture that says personal fulfillment is the ultimate goal, doesn’t it? My happiness is not all that important. God wants to mold and shape me into the likeness of His son. As I grow older, I should be more like Jesus. Does this mean I will be happy? Not necessarily by the world’s standards, although I will have more of the real joy and peace that comes when we follow Christ whole-heartedly. Happiness-that feeling that is so temporal and relies on shallow, external circumstances– is over-rated, anyway.
Those are just a few of the truths that challenged me when reading Nancy’s book. I know most of you will never read the book and so, I thought it might be helpful and challenging to highlight a few of these truths.
The other day, one of my kids asked me how I know this Christian stuff is real. And, while I don’t espouse relying on experience to prove my faith, it is amazing how, as we get older, we have seen God work in our hearts and lives, so that we can’t help but remember the marvelous ways He has worked through many of the truths listed above and dramatically brought about forgiveness in our hearts, or changed our thought processes, so that we knew that it was not us but the Holy Spirit working through us. God IS real. I feel humbled and blessed to be part of His family.