Originally published by ChurchWithoutWallsInternational.org.
When I came to the Father when I was 16, my horrible self-image came with me: Rejected by my earth-dad, struggling in school, morally up and down, and burdened by being the oldest of 4 children with my suddenly single mom trying to raise us. I had the pressure of suddenly being the ‘enforcer’ in place of my dad, and generally not caring about, school, life, and not having direction or even desire to do anything. That was who I was.
But when I came to know the Father, He was just the opposite. I would read in the Bible a truth of His love, but internally argue against that love because of how I felt about myself. I knew my past. I knew my sins. I knew my hurts. I knew the anger and bitterness at the unfairness of life in my heart. I knew the worst about myself.
When I compared what I knew about myself with what the Word said of His love for me, it was hard to believe. The differences were so vast, so opposite. How could He have faith in me when I didn’t have faith in me?
“When Satan speaks a lie, he speaks of himself” is what Jesus told the religious leaders in John 8: 44.
Satan is alone when he speaks a lie, and hopes we will latch onto the lie, creating agreement between him and us, thus giving him and his minions access into our life.
First came the awareness when I became a believer, that my horrible self-image and all the other ‘bad’ things in my heart, were sin and something to be rejected. I hadn’t thought of those things as ‘sin’ but rather this is just life, just what I saw around me, though intuitively I knew the behavior of some of my hight school classmates would lead them to destruction and an early grave. So when I came to the Lord I first had to believe the ‘negative’ desires and thoughts in me had their roots in darkness, in Satan’s realm.
Once I saw that and understood it, I realized it was the first step to seeing life from God’s point of view. So that was good. Then I had to un-believe all that reality – it was true – those things did happen to us as a family, my parents really divorced and so on. I really was angry, hurt, and so on – that was all true and real, but grounded in the darkness of Satan’s realm. Spiritually I was no longer in agreement with him, but mentally and emotionally I had to break that agreement. I had to think new thoughts. Feel new feelings.
Breaking the agreement
If you un-believe the truth as Satan sees you, it breaks the agreement so Satan is once again literally in the dark, no longer having access to your life. But I learned I could not hang on to Satan’s plans and thoughts for me while also trying to believe God’s Word and plans for me.
James said in 1: 7-8 that if we seek God’s wisdom we cannot be double minded; it’s either our wisdom of God’s wisdom – grasping both is unstable and such a one will not receive what they need from the Lord.
That was me – on the one hand knowing and therefore fully believing the darkest parts of my heart, versus what God said about me. Like two boxers standing in their respective corners glaring at each other before the fight starts, so too was there a boxing match inside of me, fighting against what God said because I knew my own heart.
But intuitively I knew this: I would have to un-believe what Satan said about me, which seemed to be true for I had lived it, in order to make what God said about me a reality. You cannot hang onto two masters. You cannot be double minded and think you will receive from the Lord. You will stay in misery until you are willing to let go of how the truth of your past life has made you into who you were when you came to the Lord, and choose to believe the larger truth of what the Father and Lord Jesus have done for you. There is no other way. Forgetting the past and reaching forward, as Paul said to the Philippians.
I remember as a 16 and then 17 year old purposely going to war against what I thought of myself. I had to constantly remind myself that what God said about me is true no matter how I felt. Emotions lie. God’s Word is truth. If I believe the truth of what He says, my emotions will line up with those truths. I made myself think and feel differently based on what He said of me.
I’m thankful I had that internal war as a teenager. It allowed me to take the best of my shattered life, learn from my mistakes, and fully believe what my Heavenly Father said about me. Many Christians are now going through what I went through back then. I feel for them.
But there is no laying on of hands, no prayer, no prophetic word that can change your thoughts and emotions. The Christian in torment are those who know what God says, but they are choosing to believe their past and what they know of their dark inner self more than God’s Word, because that is what they feel. They want someone to give them a word, pray for them, make it all go away. It doesn’t work like that. Been there, done that.
There is no way around it – we must renew our mind to think like God thinks of us in order to undergo the metamorphosis Romans 12: 1-2 talk about. “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” The Greek word ‘transformed’ is metamorphosis. The same process a caterpillar goes through to become a butterfly. That’s us. Only we can do it. Only we can change how we feel and how we think. There is no other way presented in scripture. It’s up to you. A stack of teachings from the best teachers can’t do it. Each person must learn to control their thoughts and emotions. It’s hard, but there is no other way to grow up in Christ. We have to think His thoughts, then His emotions naturally follow.
Unfortunately our cultures and societies teach us our emotions are real and the basis on which we reason and make decisions. The Bible teaches it is reasoning and thinking new thoughts as the basis for decision making. You are not subject to your emotions. Start controlling them. How does one do that?
And that’s where we’ll pick it up next week – until then, blessings,
Author: John Fenn
John Fenn is the founder of The Church Without Walls International and author of “Pursuing the Seasons of God” and ‘Return of the First Church’. John graduated from Rhema Bible Training Center in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma in 1980. Known for teaching with anointing and by revelation and flowing with the gifts of the Spirit, his heart’s desire is to make known the ways of the Father God.