God will never send anyone away empty, unless they come full of themselves.
– Daniel Kolenda
If someone walked up to you and began telling you lies about yourself, you’d likely be confused and irritated at best and really pissed off at worst. It seems like an unlikely scenario yet it happens to us on a daily basis but with such subtlety we often miss it.
What do you believe to be true about yourself? Whose version of truth do you esteem the most? God’s? Your own? Your family’s or friends’? The world’s?
The validity of your answer is in what you think and say about yourself. It’s also in how you live.
Many are the times when our actions do indeed speak louder than our words. We may not say anything untoward about ourselves, but the way we handle our lives loudly declares exactly what we think of ourselves.
When we make choices that are not mentally, emotionally or even physically healthy for us. Choices to include people and things in our lives that aren’t good for us and we know it.
When we make choices to stay where we need to leave and leave where we need to stay.
When we live in a cycle of comparison with everyone in our lives and those we follow online.
When we continually throw pity parties about our lives and find one excuse after another for why things are as they are.
When we expect little or nothing of ourselves and our lives.
When we apologize for our existence in all the ways we are prone to as human beings.
When we rely solely on our feelings to tell us what is true about us forgetting that truth can acknowledge our emotions but isn’t bound by them.
When we stubbornly hold on to the life we desire and expect at the expense of what God is offering us; not realizing that our wildest dreams couldn’t hold a candle to His dreams for us.
When we shun those God has positioned as rods and staffs in our lives; rods that provide correction and staffs that provide direction. There is a unique root of insecurity that masquerades as pride on the surface. It doesn’t allow for correction, rebuke or discipline. Any blind spots in your life that are called out by others get filtered through what you feel about what’s been said. Yet it wouldn’t be a blind spot if you had the ability to see it.
My few years of life and even fewer of ministry have shown me that you can’t affirm and encourage anyone out of their wrong beliefs about their identity. Affirmation and encouragement ideally serve to build on truth that has been embraced to begin with. At some point, a person has to make the choice to believe that who they are and what they do matters. Anything you say or do as an outsider stands or falls on the decision they make.
For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
– 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 NIV
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.
– 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 NKJV
Casting down thoughts about ourselves – both “good” and bad – that exalt themselves above that which God has spoken as truth over us takes brutal resolve. It takes death to self. It takes humility to allow God to determine who you are in a world that champions self-made heroes and heroines.
You can’t say you want to be grounded in your identity in Christ and have the status quo of your life remain. In all likelihood, it will cost you everything to see change. Yet, we fumble with truth because we don’t recognize it as the power that stands between life and death for us as believers. If we did, we would take our relationship with God seriously. If we did, we would take the word of God – logos and rhema – seriously. If we did, we’d actively seek out and consume truth not passively go about our lives unconcerned about what we allow to access our minds, hearts and spirits.
The enemy has the ability to present you with lies about yourself; which he shrewdly maximizes by planting craftily packaged half-truths everywhere our eyes can see and ears hear.
But ultimately, the power of choice on whether to own his lies or embrace God’s truth falls squarely on you.
Not merely in this moment but with every choice you make from here on out when life is serene and when life gets stormy.
It will humble and empower you in equal measure.