I realize that is not a good way to start a story on a Christian blog post, but I am nothing if I’m not honest. Stick with me though, because I think this is important. Also, I have heard your cries for shorter posts. So, this is part 1, but you have to promise you will read part 2 when it comes out also.
There was a time in my life where my thought life looked like this: “What did that look mean? Does that look mean she thinks I am a total dork? Am I a total dork? Am I going to die? What if I die, what will happen? Does he like me? Am I pretty enough? Am I pretty at all? She is skinnier than me! I am so fat. I am definitely skinner that her. I think I am as pretty as that girl. Are they laughing at me or with me? I am not actually funny; I am just making a fool of myself? What will happen to me if I can’t make myself perfect. What happens to people when they die. I need to work harder so that I can be perfect. I have to at least be as good as her. Maybe I can knock her down a few pegs so I can get the upper hand. I hate my life, everyone has more than me. I need more money. I can’t keep doing all this. I am going to fail. I need a someone to help me, wait, no I don’t then everyone will know I am weak. I can’t do this anymore I just need to know that I am enough and that someone likes me.”
I was constantly criticizing and scrutinizing every little thing and move I made. My head was full of anxious thoughts, fear of the future and fear that I would not measure up to the people around me. What I believed in my mind, the thoughts I thought, motivated my actions. I believed I was not good enough, so I made myself work harder. I believed I was not loved so I sought love from all the wrong places. I believed in the circle of life from the Lion King as the answer to what happens when we die and Hakuna Matata and all that. I lost hope because this was as good as it was going to get for me. I believed I was dumb because I kept failing classes, so I shunned school and just “got through it.” I believed everyone hated me because I was not pretty and was chubby, so I did things (like being funny) to get people to ignore my ugliness and fatness.
Ok tuck in, because we are about to talk about some wild stuff. First of all, there is a spiritual war going on for your soul. Yes, right now, better than any action movie you have ever seen. There is this guy named Satan, aka the devil, and the bible calls him the Accuser and the father of all lies. He was the snake in the garden of Eden that caused sin to enter the earth. Now we inhabitants of earth are under his control. He likes to say things to us like : “be afraid of everything. Don’t trust anyone. Everyone is out to get you. No one loves you. You are horrible, look at this list of jacked up stuff you have done just today? There is no God, no one is coming to save you from this life. You are lost. No one knows what happens in the afterlife. Church people are just delusional. You better hide your feelings. Look at all this injustice and suffering, aren’t you going to do something about it? You are going to fail so don’t even try. God said you have to be perfect and you girl are far from perfect. Look at your body, look at your face. You are a horrible representation of a human. No one likes you. That girl over there is perfect and you sister will never measure up.” And friend, Satan was winning that war for my soul…….
But then I met this guy named Jesus when I was 33. He said I was so loved by God the Father that He sent his one and only son to die on a cross to bridge the gap caused by my sin so we could have a relationship. He said that I could put down my burdens because He was the one strong enough to take them on! Ok, I am paraphrasing but you get my point. In His word, Jesus told me I receive grace from the Father, and I could put my faith in Jesus. He said I was adopted and chosen. He told me He was saving an inheritance for me. He said I was a child of God and a heavenly citizen. He said I was a new celebrated creation. He said I was sanctified, and he called me His beloved. I had a forever friend in the God of all creation. I received hope and a blessed assurance that He would do all that He promised. I was protected by His Spirit. I was forgiven of all sin and justified. I was redeemed and no longer a slave to Satan. And Jesus himself would be my advocate to the father when I did sin. This was a revelation and a punch in the gut to my old way of thinking.
In getting to know this Savior through His word, he starts to teach you about “If you think about murder, then you are a murder.” Wait what? No one knows what I am thinking. As long as I don’t act on it, I’m good, right Lord? The 10 commandments and all that. Do this, don’t do that, that’s all you care about right Lord? And in His love for me He says no Sarah, no it’s not just about your behavior. If it was just about your behavior, I would put a shock collar on you and just zap you when you did something wrong. No Sarah, this is a relationship where I, as your Loving Savior, am going to not only save you from Hell but also save you from your sin nature everyday of your life. (again, I am paraphrasing) Check this out party people: Romans 12: 1-2 And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. See God knows when we finally come to him we are used to thinking like Satan. He teaches us how to start thinking like Him instead. This transformation is so important because this scripture says that whatever we spend our time thinking about is who we are worshipping.
And this is the point in where I realized I was a devil worshipper. After getting saved I acted like a Christian. You know all the things new believers do. Less cussing, less drinking, less debauchery and more church. My thought life however stayed the same. It now sounded like: “Does God really love me? I bet He would love me more if I was as good a Christian as her. She is really pretty, I bet God loves pretty people more than ugly people like me. How come I can’t have a position at church? Oh I am not “holy” enough for you? Do I really have to read this bible? Is it really the word of God or is it just a bunch of rules I am going to have to work really hard at only to fail? I can’t love these people they are jerks. I can’t share my faith I am not cool enough. Does anyone really like me here or do they just have to like me because God told them to? What will happen when these people find out I am not perfect. Do enough people see me doing holy things? Do people see that I am serving? Why do I get no recognition for all the work I do? Everyone always loves all the stuff that girl does. I don’t want these spiritual gifts I want hers. What if I fail?” Over time you guys, I realized I was saved by the Lord, secure and loved, but I was still believing Satan. If you slip through Satan’s hands and actually become a believer, he will whisper to you just like he did to Eve and cause you to doubt, question and accuse. And here is what I know today. However you spend time thinking is who you are worshiping.
Where do you find yourself? Are you rocking and rolling along with God and having thoughts that line up with what He says about you? Or are you like me realizing you have been worshipping the wrong thing. Check your thoughts this week. Make note of the things you think. Do they line up with what God says is true of you or with what Satan says is true of you. Do not have shame over your thoughts. Jesus is your advocate and He is crazy about you. He will not leave you thinking like Satan. Next week we will talk about the learning curve that is “being transformed by the renewing of your mind.”