Tag: God and Jesus

Contradictions

WE HAVE JUST ENOUGH  knowledge of good and evil to believe we know right from wrong. We only run into a wall when the lines get blurred or we look backward and see that we only thought something was right but turned out to be wrong.  (more…)

A decorated mask.

16. The Lies We Believe

ON THE DAY I MET JESUS, I learned that my strategies for success were counterfeit. It then took another twenty-three years to actually believe that my strategies for success were counterfeit.

That is how long it took to get my brain and my heart to agree with the truth.

If you get nothing else from my work, I hope you will not have to take as long as I did to sort out the truth from the lies you believe.

When I look back to that day of the most bizarre experience of my life when Jesus chose to visit me in my home, the truth was right in front of me. Of course, Jesus said he is The Truth, and he also said he was The Life, and The Way, so I should have simply kept my eyes on him.

And I would have, except that he disappeared as swiftly as he came.

I have shared my story many times and it has never mattered to me if I am believed or not. However, because I had already been in the church off and on since I was ten years old and claimed to be Christian, and because of what Jesus revealed to me, I listened to the words of Shame and Humiliation and kept the experience to myself.

Shame and Humiliation are a couple of the demons that stood guard outside the prison of my self-designed solitary confinement.

I listened to them regularly as they warned me to be careful of the dangerous world out there where I would be destroyed if people knew the truth about me.

So, I added one more secret about meeting Jesus to the many others I had accumulated over the past thirty-two years. It was those secrets that kept me in prison.

Death gives us plenty of room inside solitary confinement.

Mine was extraordinary. I had power, position, prestige, possessions, and people. I owned my business and therefore owned my time. Sort of.

I had more than a million dollars in the bank and could spend it as I pleased. Sort of.

I was a single woman. Sort of. Let me explain that one.

I hadn’t bothered to get a divorce from my second husband because neither of us was planning to get remarried anytime soon. I, for one, was never going to get married again. I figured I would look for a sperm donor a few years down the road—when I had enough money to retire and really focus on being the best mother the world has ever seen.

I thought I was already doing a pretty good job with the five-year-old I had, but my heart sank every time the nanny or other stand-in-the-gap college kid told me about a “first” or the wonderful day they had together playing.

I had a boyfriend and the fact that he was still married was another technicality.

I told you I was an adulterer and a thief.

It was an easy secret to keep because I could easily hide his clothes at the back of my closet when my parents came for a visit, and as long as he kept his own home, which I insisted upon, we weren’t really living in sin.

And with the times thankfully changing, and the fact that I was a powerful and successful woman; and the truth that God himself made me with this desire for a man in my bed; and we are consenting adults who just want to be happy, and I am not flaunting, but instead, I am hiding the truth; I figured I could still be regarded as the respectable woman I presented out there.

How’s that for case-building?

On the day I met Jesus, I was not looking for him. The truth is that I had no idea that I needed him for anything.

Before I met Jesus and experienced his unconditional love for me, I went to church for fifty-nine minutes every week because it made me look good, and I’d silently ask for forgiveness for the sins the church people pointed out in the scriptures.

And then I’d spend the next 167 hours of my week fighting the dragons and giants that were threatening to rob me of some measure of love, respect, significance, and security.

As a result, I kept a few secrets about God.

I did not believe God cared about me and I certainly did not believe he was good. When bad things happened, I believed there was no way God was powerful and until I met him, I believed all my secrets were hidden.

My life was a rinse and repeat of the Vicious Cycle in which I was entrapped like a hamster on his wheel running as fast as he could and getting nowhere.

My goal was to get ahead of the dragons and giants.
So I could rest.
And I really believed I could get there.
If only.

If you are on the short end of power, position, prestige, possessions, and people, you may think your “if only” would be a longer list than mine was. But that would be a faulty belief.

The truth is that if God is not the center of your life, then you are.

If your if only begins with “If only I had more power; If only I had a higher position; if only I had prestige; if only I had more possessions; if only I had the right people; if your if only begins with I, you are the center of your life.

This makes you the center of the universe and puts you in a coveted position of taking, even if you believe that when you get there, you’ll be able to give.

If you were told that you were going to meet Jesus on Monday night, what would you expect? Would you expect him to praise you for being a good person?

Or would you expect him to condemn you for the ugly truth found hidden among your secrets?

What do you suppose might be on his mind if he wanted to visit with you? Do you think he would want to talk about your success in life or would he like to focus on your failures?

Don’t bother to put a resume together because, if it happens to you, you will find that he already knows everything about you, even things you’ve long forgotten.

And you will know that he knows, because when he visits, he does not ask you to step outside your prison, and he doesn’t whisk you off to heaven to sit at his feet where he sits on the right side of God.

Rather, he will enter into your solitary confinement where you feel safe and secure from condemnation and judgment, and where you wear no mask or costume.

And you will stand naked before him.

The visit will be intimate.

It is in that moment, as the ugly truth about who you really are is exposed, and at the same time, you will be overwhelmed with a love that you have never experienced.

And I don’t care what you may have been told by the church people, without even asking for forgiveness, you will know that he holds absolutely nothing against you and because he already paid the price for your freedom, you have already been forgiven.[biblegateway passage="1 John 2:2"]

When he visited me, he spoke my name first and followed with one question, “Why do you call yourself Christian?” and before I could embarrass myself with an answer, he took me on a whirlwind trip through my past that proved to me that he knew that I was a fraud.

I knew that he knew that I was no friend to God.

But, as his love flowed through my being, I knew that I wanted to know him.

Time must have stood still because the company in my home was unaware that the author and finisher of Love had touched me. When we returned, much like we return to the present after listening to an old song that transports us to the past, he made one statement to me.

He said, “I want your life.”

What I did not understand that day was that Jesus came to set me free.

He did not come to be an example for me.

He came to be an example of me, the me I was created to be.

In the moment I gave him my life, in which he said he wanted, I was transformed. Something changed in me, and I was different.

How it happened remains a mystery to me, but without doing anything except speaking “okay” through the voice in my heart—which I didn’t know existed—I would never again be the same woman I was.

On that very day, Jesus set me free to enjoy a full measure of love found in the only One who will never need anything from me—not my time, money, or talent.

He is the only One who will never condemn or judge me for being human.

He is the only One who will never keep a record of my deeds or misdeeds.

The next twenty-three years, however, while I was trying to be just like him—the perfect Christian—I missed the whole point. Read More...

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