Saturday night at LifeChurch242, I taught the story of Gideon and showed how Gideon’s faith came through knowing who God said he was. Gideon thought himself as a weakling but God knew he was a valiant warrior. Gideon had believed the lies of the enemy. He drank the Koolaid of deceit and lies that the enemy served. To get him to the point of a conqueror God had to show Gideon how He saw him. Once Gideon understood God’s view of him, he became a powerful vessel for the Lord’s use. He became “more than a conqueror.”
As I reflect on my life as a Christian, I realize that some of the worst emotional times have been when I believed the lies others spoke about me. Have you been there? Has somebody, or even a group of people, spoke down to you? Have you experienced the ugliness of somebody saying you would make nothing of yourself? Here’s one, have you even heard such thing from the very people who were supposed to be your biggest encouragers? This often happens in churches and among those who are commanded by Jesus Christ to build others up (Eph 4:29). I have experienced much of that. I have had church members tell me to my face I was worthless and should never pastor. I have been told I was a horrible teacher of God’s word, that I am a terrible leader, etc. I have heard ugly and horrible things said about me. Unfortunately, I must say that I was prepared in my life to reject the lies of non-believers who spoke ugly to me, but never did I think so-called “followers of Christ” would tear me down. And to my face? But, they did and they will continue to do so. Such can be some of the most difficult emotional challenges one can go through unless you understand how to reject the lies. What is important is not what others think about you, but what your Heavenly Father thinks about you. There will be many who use their mouths for the devil’s work, but your heart should only hear what God says because that is the truth!
Here’s how I have learned to overcome: First, give justice over to God. Allow the Lord to judge those who have told you ugly things. Every careless word will be dealt with when they meet Jesus (Mt 12:36). Of note, every word we say will also be judged so don’t be the one who spreads ugliness!
Second, listen to what God says about you and reject anything that counters His thoughts. He loves you – you are loved! He accepts you in Christ – you are accepted! He has purpose for you – you are valuable! He never condemns and does not reject you. He sent His Son Jesus to die for you so through faith in Him you can be saved and know His love! He paid a high cost for you. Such a high price points to how much He loves you. I have adopted a practice of underlining in a red pen every scripture that tells me how God sees me as a true believer and follower of Christ. I often go over these scriptures thanking God for what He thinks. If you want to try this, check out Ephesians chapters 1-3 and see what Paul says about the believers in Ephesus… you are a believer too and those things apply to you as well.
Finally, pray for those who have torn you down in the past. Pray for God’s benevolence and blessing upon them. This will change your heart toward them and give you a compassion for them. Praying for them regularly will show you God’s heart for them. With His heart, you can quickly overcome all the pain they have dealt you. Why? Our sin and ugliness was placed upon Christ so we are just as guilty of the same sins as they are against us. God’s heart was on full display from the Cross when Jesus said, “Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.” When we have His heart for those who hurt us, we will overcome and live healthily toward them. With His heart, we can forgive and bless and move forward.
So to live as a conqueror, believe the truth about you. As one pastor said, “YOU IS GOOD.” The truth is what God thinks, not what man says. When you believe the truth and walk in the truth of God by faith, you will walk as a warrior. You will walk in victory, not defeat. Just like Gideon, when you learn your true identity and stop believing the lies of the enemy about who he says you are, you will live in power and in love and victoriously!