Replacing the bad news for His Good News
Replacing is important. If you go to the gym, you might notice the serious body builders chugging a white, powdery mix after they finish their workout. What they are doing is vital to the muscles they are building. The nutrients in the powder quickly mix with the depleted muscles, providing strength and vitality as the muscles work to revive themselves from the stress of such hard work. The extra nutrients increase the rate of growth and development as the muscles heal and recover. What they are putting into their bodies is helping restore strength quicker and better.
I once had a friend who drove her car until she blew the engine. The oil light was on, but she never did anything about it. Stopping week after week to fill up with gas wasn’t helping and she could not figure out why. A car will only run for so long with the engine light on until it blows up. Refueling is important. Refueling with the right things is even more important.
Knowing the majority of our thoughts consist of things we allow access to our lives warrants us to pay better attention to our surroundings. Sometimes moving forward requires a willingness to lay aside mind-numbing distractions. We cannot expect to recognize and resist the lies of the enemy for long if we continually replace what we spit out with more lies. Same lie, different format. Same lie, different t.v. series. Same lie, different person. Same lie, different mind numbing distraction escape.
If we stop and think for a minute we might notice that we all have a go to place. When confronted with the lie of the enemy and worn out by the work of resisting many times the temptation is to retreat, escape, forget or distract. The invitation from the Father is to replace. The Gospel is the Good News of Jesus, which means, if what we are hearing isn't Good News then the invitation is to reject the lie and replace it with the truth.
Sometimes we have to search for truth.
"You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord." Jeremiah 29:13-14
He promises us, when we look for truth we will find it. So the question we must ask when we struggle to recognize it is, are we looking in the right places?
There are so many ways to replace the lies of the enemy with the Truth of the Father, but for today, lets start by what we say and what we allow ourselves to hear. We speak things into being. Meaning, what we say eventually becomes, what we do. What we do, eventually becomes who we are. Dave is an amazing dad, but what would happen if I told him every day how terrible of a dad he was? What if I pointed out every little thing he did wrong and continually drew his attention to the misses he had with our girls?
You can probably predict what would happen. Eventually, Dave would start to believe the lie that he is a bad Father. Even more so, as he started to believe this lie, he would inevitably begin to walk it out. He might start second guessing how much our girls love him. He would likely start doubting the way he disciplines and maybe even begin holding back for fear of doing it wrong. He might withhold affection, thinking he is doing them a favor by not getting close. Before you know it, he would be distant and hurt, guarded and unavailable. All because one lie planted and began to take root.
One lie can do extensive damage when allowed the freedom to roam about.
"Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lionlooking for someone to devour."
1 Peter 5:8
The things we take in with our eyes and ears have to be processed somewhere. God’s heart, in warning us to guard our minds is because He fully recognizes what we don’t. Growing up playing soccer meant training was not an option. We worked hard in and out of season so we would be better prepared each time we stepped on the field.
Fight for your mind. His lies do not get to define you. They do not have power over the person you are or the one you are becoming. Believing them will only keep you from what your Father has for you.
For years the enemy spoke the lie of shame over my life. The burdens of my past rested heavy on my shoulders. I knew nothing about walking in the freedom Christ promised. Shame sometimes kept me from praying for weeks. Not because I didn’t want to pray, but because the enemy convinced me I didn’t deserve to pray. I had messed up too many times. God’s grace was enough, but it wasn’t enough for me, not this time, not again. I had gone too far, done too much. In my mind the Father stood far off, arms crossed, shaking His head at me.
I just didn't know how to recognize the voice of the enemy. He schooled me with his craftiness and thus I lived short of what God had for me. The battle has been won. We already walk forward in victory but we must recognize the distortion from the enemy, we must resist his lies and we must replace it with the Truth of our Father. The Truth I couldn't see back then was, the cross was enough. When Jesus died, He knew I was going to sin and He did it anyway. In fact, He's given me His Spirit to help me because He knew I couldn't walk the straight and narrow on my own. It was a part of His redemption plan. To need Him. To partner with Him. My sin wasn't something that needed to drive me away from Him. It was something that needed to drive me to Him.
Like the broken walls Nehemiah worked on, brokenness in our lives sometimes leaves scars. The good news is, those scars are not your identity. You get to be a part of God’s redemption. You are promised freedom, forgiveness and grace. You have the privilege of replacing the lies with the Truth. When you resist the words of the enemy, he will get tired and leave. He doesn't have what it takes to outlast Holy Spirit. When you replace his lies with Truth, the Truth will take root enabling you to stand stronger than before.
If you find yourself having a hard time replacing the lies, try replacing some of the things surrounding you. Think about what you listen to, what you read, the conversations you have, the places you go; the things you take in have to be processed somewhere. What do you spend your time doing?
“If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away”
Matt. 5:29, NIV
Jesus’s words here are pretty extreme. I think He means, if that book makes it hard for you to be married to your husband, stop reading it or even better, throw it away so no one reads it. If that show makes you want what you cannot afford, turn it off. If those friend entice you to fall into sin you have sworn off limits, find new friends. If you find yourself tripping over the same wire over and over again, do what it takes to remove it.
As much as we wish the old saying to be true, things rarely go in one ear and out the other. Participating in the purposes of God is a privilege. This privilege comes with great responsibility. God will continue to show up and blow your mind with what He does in your life, if you will continue to be responsible with what He shows you.
If the promises of God are not winning out in your life, start by looking into your mind. It’s possible the battle started long before you realized. Change the way you think and it will change the way you act. Be protective of the things you take in. Take in things leading you more fully to Jesus. Soak yourself in thoughts that create a hunger for more of God. Turn your ear towards words leaving you with a holy expectancy of the more He promises.
You have what it takes to overcome the lies of the enemy in your life. He's given you all you need. Go and be the person you were created to be. Walk in the freedom you've been promised.