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Archive for April, 2011

In Genesis 3, we find that satan, using three little sentences, and a total of 45 words (NKJV), accomplished the biggest identity theft in history. Not only did he warp our view of God (see previous post), he also stole our worth – our very identity as God’s image-bearers and companions.

He told Adam and Eve that God was keeping something from them because they were different – implying that they were less, were lacking, were unworthy.

And they believed him, and gave up their true identity in exchange for his lie.

And Adam and Eve were so ashamed to be without that identity that they tried making themselves a covering. This didn’t work, so they then hid from God.

And so do we.

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Without that communion with God that Adam lost in the Garden, we no longer know who we are, because we no longer see the image we were created to mirror.

So we go to great lengths to find or create an identity for ourselves.

We get a college degree, or two or three.

We seek identity by following a music star, an actor, a sports team.

We wear clothes with certain labels, and avoid certain other brands.

We try to create an identity at work, at church, in the community – we want to be known for our benevolence or our commitment or our energy.

Or we seek to find our identity in our car or our home – we have the newest, flashiest car, or the nicest lawn in the entire neighborhood.

Just about every war, every evil that one group has perpetrated against another group, every taunt and jeer on the playground, every gang or secret club created, has its roots in satan’s theft of humanity’s identity, and our attempts to create a new one.

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Sometimes we do meet God, that image we are to reflect. But, all too often, we accept a warped view of Him as the true image, so it doesn’t work, and we are still uncomfortable, unhappy.

So, yet again, we try to create our own – we volunteer for more serving, take more classes, do more outreach – anything to feel that we have value and purpose.

Because that’s the bottom line – the real consequence of losing our true identity – we feel worthless. And that feeling doesn’t just disappear with salvation. The lie is too embedded in us.

So we find more chains to wrap ourselves in (like Marley’s ghost) in an effort to create an identity that feels valuable. “I’m a Sunday School teacher, an usher, a deacon.” “I work with the homeless, unwed mothers, addicts.” “I volunteer at the hospital, the orphanage, the church office.”

Ad infinitum. Ad nauseum.

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And all so unnecessary! Because God thinks you are so valuable that He chose you to be His child before He even created this universe, this planet!

Jesus believes you are so valuable, so worth it, that He came here to live in a human body, died an extremely painful death, carrying everything that kept you from God on his shoulders, and rose again to set you free of it all!

Holy Spirit finds you so worthwhile that He never stops teaching you Truth, never stops seeking to show you who God really is, and who He created you to really be.

You have an identity in Christ! You are a child of God, a crucial part of Jesus Christ’s body.

You are infinitely valuable to God! Not for what you can do, but for who you are – a unique person, who can know and love Him like no one else can.

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May you see your true identity in God, as Holy Spirit reveals it to you.

May you understand how worthy and valuable you are to Him.

And may you be set free of everything that keeps you from living who you really are.

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How many of us really believe that is true?

Do you believe that God is good?

Really?

Down in the bottom of your heart, isn’t there a part that believes that He is only good as long as you do what He wants?

Or He is only good to certain (perfect/blond/tall/skinny/smart/ordained/etc) people?

Or maybe that dark corner harbors the belief that God isn’t good at all, but because He is the big, powerful Creator, we better obey His rules.

We all were born into satan’s kingdom, into his brainwashing, which constantly tells us that God isn’t really good, He can’t be trusted, and He withholds the really good stuff from us.

Same lie he’s been telling since Eden’s garden, with the same effect – we all struggle to believe in His goodness.

And we can’t trust Him if we don’t believe He is good.

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Few of us are aware of how deep this foundational lie runs, or how thoroughly it’s entwined into the very fabric of our psyches.

We just run from God at every opportunity, rejecting everything about Him.

Even when Holy Spirit reveals God’s love for us and His desire to have a relationship with us, and we accept Him into our lives, we can still believe this lie.

So we put ourselves into the chains of religion – all those ‘Do’s and Don’ts’ we are told are His will for His children.

Or we continue to hide from Him in the deepest recesses of our hearts and minds, while outwardly ‘following Him’.

Or both. Or more. There are so many ways we live out our belief that He can’t be trusted.

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What we believe about the goodness of God, whether He can be trusted or not, has a direct influence on what we believe about all the facets of our lives.

Only Holy Spirit can show you what you really believe, and what the truth really is. But it’s interesting to ask a few questions.

For instance, if you are having a problem with a coworker or family member, who do you talk to about it? Do you talk to God, or to someone (anyone) else?

What about when you are having a really good time on vacation – do you share your joy with God? Or do you hide it, feeling like maybe He’d be angry that you were having fun?

And then there’s the question of money – do you believe God wants you to have any?

Love – what about that? Do you think God wants you to have a good marriage?

And life – do you believe God wants you to have an abundant life, or a life of pain and suffering?

Our lack of belief in the goodness of God, combined with our feelings of unworthiness, keep us locked in to satan’s bondage. And create more and stronger bondage as time goes on, unless and until Holy Spirit begins to reveal Truth to us.

It is only as we begin to see that He is good, that we begin to trust Him enough to really have the kind of relationship with Him that He desires. A relationship that gives us peace and joy.

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May Holy Spirit reveal to you the truth about God’s character, His love for you, and His desire for your good.

May every lie be broken that keeps you from believing His Truth and trusting in His goodness.

And may your relationship with Him grow deeper and broader the more you trust Him.

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I’m sure most people are familiar with the story in Genesis 3, where our enemy deceives Eve, causing the fall of mankind. (If you’re not, take a few minutes and go read it.)

If you look closely at the conversation between Eve and the serpent (satan), you will see that every lie that any human has ever believed is contained in those three sentences the serpent spoke.

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Here’s satan’s part of the conversation:

Verse 1 — “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree in the garden’?”

Verse 4, 5 – “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

First, he questions God’s words, then His goodness and His integrity. Our enemy tells Eve (and Adam) that God has withheld something good from them, because He doesn’t want them to be like Him. They are not worthy, in God’s eyes, he implies, to be equals; otherwise, He would have been honest with them about the consequences of eating the fruit. And finally, he presents the fruit to them as the solution to this problem.

So here’s the first lie – God can’t be trusted!

Second lie – God finds you unworthy.

Lie three – the way to solve this problem is to fix it yourself!

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Over and over again, down through all the centuries, the enemy speaks the same lies to mankind. They may be said in different words, but they have the same effect.

When we believe that God can’t be trusted, we avoid Him. Even His children will hide from their Father (just as Adam and Eve did), when we believe that He is not good. So we avoid listening to the quiet nudgings of Holy Spirit; we avoid reading the Bible or praying, because we are afraid of what He will say to us. We don’t trust Him.

When we believe we are not worthy, we look elsewhere for something to give us value. Sports, college degrees, money, love, acclaim for some thing or another, drugs, alcohol, sex – the list is endless. But none of it brings us the worth that only our Father God can bestow. Even in churches, we find people striving to achieve worth – teaching Sunday School, serving as an usher, giving to missions, whatever. It’s an unending cycle of work to earn acceptance.

Because we ALL believe the third lie – the solution lies in my own hands. I am the only one who can fix the issue. God can’t, or won’t. Sure, Jesus died to pay for my sins, to give me eternal life, but what I do with that life is all my responsibility. So I must be busily working ‘for the kingdom’. We wear ourselves out on works that we chose for ourselves, rather than seeking those He chooses – those ‘light burdens and easy yokes’. If we’re not exhausted, we feel we’re still not worthy. So we add more ‘good works’ to our load!

UGH!

The net result of Christians believing any or all of these foundational lies is that we are tired, we are scared, and we feel hopeless.

And all of this is unnecessary!

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Because God is good! And He is love! And He can be trusted!

He loves each of us! He chose each of us! And we are worthy in His eyes!

The solution has been perfectly met in Jesus Christ! And we can do nothing to add to it!

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Before the foundations of the world, God knew what would happen in this whole creation. He knew that satan would tempt mankind and they would choose to disobey God.

He knew that there was only one solution to sin – a perfect sacrifice to pay the penalty for all sin for all time.

He knew, and He deliberately set the whole train of events in motion, having already prepared the solution.

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When Jesus Christ died on the cross, He paid for it all, for all time. He defeated satan, and took the keys of death and hell from him. And then He gave all His power over the enemy to us, His body.

I’ll say it again – satan is already defeated! He can do nothing to hurt us. The only power he has is lies. So when he can craft a lie that we believe, he just handed us the first bar for the cage. Every defeat we suffer, every pain we face, every betrayal, every bit of neglect, of abuse, has its roots in some variation of one of those first lies.

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May you see clearly who God is, and that He is trustworthy!

May you also see clearly the true value you have in His eyes.

And may you be free from every lie that holds you in bondage to sin, fear, despair, hopelessness, anger, and working to achieve value.

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