It’s true, y’all. The lies — all the lies — are killing us. Not political lies — though those may physically get us dead. I’m talking about the lies about God and life and humans and love and ‘erthing.
I’ve been in a wrestling match with the Lord. Or maybe it’s been a wrestling match with myself before the Lord. Or maybe a wrestling match with lies. Whatever. There’s been wrestling going on. Mainly because Carlos Whittaker’s dang book has me all digging into my past and uncovering lies that steal life from me. The nerve of him. Actually his book is more like an exclamation mark at the end of a looooonnnnng sentence that I’ve been slowly speaking for about two years now. A long, run-on sentence with lots of grammatical errors.
I’m not sure if you were around these parts a couple years ago when I turned 40 and jumped out of an airplane. (You can hear/see more about it here and here and here.) That became known to me, myself, and I as my freedom jump — an ushering in of greater freedom to my soul. But the truth is, since then, I’ve still struggled with some specific chains that have had me bound. I like saying chains rather than idols because it seems more palatable. But let’s be honest.
The chains — the lies — that have had me bound can be summed up in two words: man’s approval. And y’all, I’m sick of it. Sick and tired. I can look all the way back to my little girl years and see traces. From such a young age I bought into the lie that says God’s approval isn’t sufficient and man’s approval will satisfy. And those complete lies birthed fear and insecurity that slowly grew to be a part of me — a part of me that I didn’t even know I could be released from. Like another appendage or something. An ugly appendage with fangs and bad breath. But here’s the thing: Man’s approval cannot satisfy and God’s approval cannot be earned!
Man’s approval cannot satisfy.
God’s approval cannot be earned.
In clamoring and fearfully speaking/not speaking so as not to ruffle feathers or cause waves, I’ve been slowly strangled by the lies. I’ve savored the approval of humans more than the love of my Maker, denying His all-sufficiency. I’ve done it nicely. I’ve done it Christian-y. I’ve done it Pharisee-ically. But I’ve done it. And I’m repenting. Because God is too good, too glorious, too beautiful, too satisfying to lose my gaze.
“In Jesus Christ — in a solid, God-chosen relationship with Jesus —
man’s disapproval cannot hurt you.
And man’s approval cannot satisfy you.
To fear the one and crave the other is sheer folly.”
When we see that our hearts have roots that go deep into the soil of a lie, there’s only one way out: The Lord. We humble ourselves and repent to Him. We cling to Him. We gaze at Him. And we declare our complete insufficiency in ourselves to set ourselves free. We need His Spirit to do an uprooting in our deepest parts. We need because He truly is the One we crave. We need because freedom from a good God awaits.
Once we repent, we have to replace the lie with truth. We reject the lie and then replace it with what God says. We replace it out-loud and every time the lie creeps in.
So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Truth that Destroys the Lie
As I’ve been walking through my own process of greater freedom in the Lord, Carlos’ book prompted me to trace the face of God. To stare at the face of God. To see God for who He is. To see myself through His eyes of grace. And as I prayerfully stared at His sweet face, this is what I saw:
Your face, Lord.
Your eyes are kind and compassionate, not distractedly looking around, rather tenderly and genuinely focused on me, Your child.
Your jaw is strong and powerful, but not tense in anger, just ready to defend.
Your mouth curves in a small smile as you watch me, Your daughter, be me, making the lines around your eyes show — wisdom that defines You to the core.
Your nose breathes in and out — slow and steady — life flowing from and through You alone, giving breath to all there is.
You are so different from me — so other-than — yet I see glimmers of myself in Your face.
You are my daddy, and You aren’t angry with me. You love me kindly and truly.
God isn’t mad at His children. All His wrath was placed on His Son. If we truly believe that Jesus took the punishment on the cross that we as humans deserve, we have the Father’s full approval. Yes, we mess up. Yes, we disobey at times. Yes, we look to things and people to bring the satisfaction He alone can give. But He’s not an impatient father fed up with His ridiculous kids. He’s kind and faithful. And the mercy and grace of the cross is that in Christ God sees us as righteous — a scandalous exchange has occurred.
His kindness doesn’t give us license to walk a foolish life. His kindness leads His children to repentance, to worship, to obedience, to freedom. Because He is life. In Him is fullness of life.
So that’s where I’m at these days. Wrestling. Repenting. Believing. Awed by the mercy of my Maker — my Father — who gathers His children in with compassion and heals with His everlasting love.
Fill me, Lord…
(In true Southern style) how are you doing these days?
Reading any good, life-shifting books?
Being stripped of lies that have had you chained? Maybe it’s just me.