Every other Monday night, you can find me sitting around a dinner table with six of my closest friends. A few months ago most of us had never met before, and probably only knew of one another because of mutual friends on Facebook. I think I awkwardly followed all them on Instagram before meeting in person… but we all do that right? We now know one another deeply as we study through scripture together and learn how it applies to our lives today. I’ve talked about how I’ve felt God’s calling over the last year to start and lead a bible study of my own. Leading a bible study has always been intriguing to me, but I never had the guts to actually do it. But you know how it goes… When God calls you to something, no matter how hard you push back, He eventually gets His way, and you end up doing the very thing you think you’re incapable of doing.
So here I am. Leading a bible study, trying to understand scripture, and in return attempt to teach or guide a group of women. Talk about intimidating. I’m thankful that no one except my husband sees me the hour before they arrive at my house. Pacing the floor, going over my notes, praying God calms my anxious heart… My mind is typically racing with lies like:
You don’t know the bible well enough.
You don’t have a quiet time every day.
You’re not worthy of leading a bible study.
You can’t teach the bible the right way.
And on and on.
These lies might sound familiar to you. Maybe you’re not leading a bible study. Maybe the lies you hear sound something like this:
You’re not smart enough.
You don’t deserve to be happy.
You’ve messed up too many times.
You’re not pretty enough.
You’re not skinny enough.
You’re not the mother your children need (or want).
You don’t have anyone on your side.
Your family doesn’t care about you.
You will always be alone.
And on and on.
Maybe you’re like me and you actually believe these lies far too often.
But if you remember, about a month ago I talked about focusing on these things. In moments like the hour before my bible study, rather than believing and focusing on the lies Satan puts in my mind, I must believe and focus on the truth that Jesus died for. Like Philippians says, I must believe and focus on whatever is true because when I do, God promises to remove my anxieties and fears. He promises that through believing and focusing on His truth, He will make me whole and in harmony with Him.
The clearer image we have of who Jesus is, the more we are able to combat who Satan says we are. Without knowing what is true, we literally can’t stop thinking about what is false.
Sidenote: I hope you know that I’m not talking a works-based faith here. We are justified by faith, and faith alone. Nothing we do or don’t do effects God’s love for His children. However, growing Christians should see fruit of their faith in their lives, and in order to see fruit we must work. Our motivation is the love of the Father for us, not to be loved by the Father.
So here’s what I know to be true:
I have a friend in Jesus. He lived fully human and experienced all that I’m experiencing now. He’s felt betrayed. He’s been alone. He’s experienced hurt. He’s been tempted. Because my God was once man, He can relate to me. He understands me. (Hebrews 4:14-16)
As a believer, I am no longer condemned. Jesus paid the price. He suffered the punishment meant for me. And because His death and resurrection erased my punishment, I’m able to live without fear. Fear of failing. Fear of dying. Fear of not being enough. All of these fears are wiped away, because Christ barred them on a cross in the greatest act of Love ever know. (1 John 4:18)
When I feel weak, He will give me strength. And even when I feel strong, it is only through the Lord. I no longer have to depend on myself, but I have the privilege of depending on the One who is stronger and more durable than anything I can offer. (Isaiah 41:10)
The only thing God asks of me is to have faith. With my whole heart and a willing mind, I will find Him. I don’t have to do anything more except seek after Him. He promises to be right where I look. When I feel far away, He has not moved. (1 Chronicles 28:9)
Without anchoring these truths, and many others, into my mind, I will fall every time to lies of inadequacy and intimidation. God gave us His word for a reason: