January 18, 2016

Lies We Tell Ourselves: #1 Things Will Never Change

Politicians do it. Business CEOs do it. Even sweet dear old Mom does it. The truth is, you and I do it, too. We lie to others- and we lie to ourselves. Every lie has a series of unknown consequences far beyond its original intent, but the lies we tell ourselves may be the ones that truly keep us from being everything God has intended.

For those of us who diligently follow the Lord Jesus Christ, it is of the utmost importance that we take him at his word. The Old and New Testaments combined form the only true word of God. Other books, how ever well intended, are not the word of God. They may try to explain it, offer alternatives to it, or even deny the truth. However, if you are looking for eternal truths that never change, do not look elsewhere. 

Why is it important to understand the truth as God designed it? Simple. To do otherwise is to live within an alternative universe created in your mind. But it is one that does not exist. A very, very  wobbly place in which to make important life choices- one that always changes based on how you feel. 

The Apostle Paul wrote the following to the Colossian church to encourage them in understanding the truth as only God defines it.

“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.”        Colossians 2:6-8

It is with this thought in mind that I'd like to share about the lies we tell ourselves, beginning with one of the biggest whoppers I hear most often.

LIE NUMBER 1: “Things Will Never Change”

How Do We Hear This?  What Does It Sound Like?

“The situation will never change”
“He will always be this way”
“I’ve Resigned Myself to it”
“I Was Born this Way”
“God Could Never Forgive Me”
“I Can’t Forgive Myself”

Anything that communicates  “God doesn't care enough about me to do anything" qualifies as a lie we must fight. What lies such as this do you currently believe? Do you want to get past it? If so, read on.
This is a battle in our minds, but we must fight for the truth by the power of God's word and in the strength of His Spirit. Sometimes, we like to believe the lie that things will never change.  Problems abound when this lie has taken root in our lives. It's a not so subtle progression that goes from bad to worse, and it's very easy to move down the sliding scale into hopelessness after you begin buying into it.

First and most importantly, believing this lie denies the character, the power, and the plan of God. Let's look at each one individually.

Even a light reading of the Old and New Testaments reveal God’s Wonderful heart toward us! His character is without fault. Pure, righteous, forgiving. He is worthy of our faith in Him because not only is He the creator of the world, he is the definition of Love Itself. He treats us not as we deserve but in compassion and mercy, desiring to draw all people to himself through His Son Jesus Christ. They very Son He sacrificed on the cross for our sin.

God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?
 Numbers 23:19

Those who love and follow the God of the Bible know well that we serve a god who goes before us, one who has our best interests in mind even if circumstances do not make sense to us, one who is dependable, one who is loving, and one who follows through on what He says we will do. Unlike the leaders of man in any field - even the church itself- God can be trusted and depended upon.

The Power of God is without limit. He can do absolutely whatever He determines must be done. He created our world and its holds it in His Hand. All creation displays His Glory, and yet He is near when we call on Him.

God could be distant and aloof, demanding of us, ruling over us, making us fear for our lives and for our eternity. Instead He alone conquered sin through the death and resurrection of Jesus. Because of His great love for mankind, he clearly tells us that is the only way to eternal life with Him. Period.

He performs miracles so we can see not only His personal love for us and His power but for his desire to reveal Himself for who he is - altering the very rules of the universe He created!

God's plan is perfect. God's plan for you is perfect. It doesn't mean your mistakes, your choices, your sin cannot cause you to take a different and much more difficult route than what God intends. The ultimate "first step: in God's plan is that you would come to know Him as both the One who died to pay the price for your sin, the Father who loves you deeply, and as the very One whose lead you follow.

Choosing to follow Him and turn away from your current life in this way means we become children of God. (See Galatians 3:26 in the New Testament). At this point, God begins a wonderfully great transformation in your life. Slowly, and maybe without ever knowing it, you become more like Jesus and begin to desire to please God. (See Romans 8:29). 

Imagine a life that begins to make sense, a life with peace and purpose and hope! It goes far beyond the freedom forgiveness brings. This world promises us riches and power and pleasure but delivers disappointments one right after another. It's God who blesses us with the good things we have... and only because He is loving and desires we would come to know Him. 

God gives us His personal promise that He will complete that substantial work of changing us. Then, He will use us for the truly important things in life, blessing people and sharing His Sacrificial Love. This love is so powerful, so transforming, that we may end up going all over the world as well as across the street to share the news. So much better than the world's wealth.

The best news for those who believe comes when its time to say goodbye to life on this earth. Just listen to what God promises:

For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.
 I Thessalonians 4:16-18

YOU can have all this! Or you can choose to believe the lie that things will never change. The choice is yours, but let me warn you, if you continue to believe the lie, you'll lose out on so much. You'll also go down the path to destruction. But more about that next time...

(Art copyright The Walt Disney Company.)

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