Last week we talked about lies that the enemy feeds us about God. This week, we are looking at lies that we believe about ourselves. Have you ever said, “I will never,” or “I could never,”? Maybe I should rephrase that and ask you to think about how many times you say those words every day?! Unfortunately, I have been a big fan of these dangerous phrases in the past.
When God called me into ministry, I was 16 and had only been a Christian for 2 years. I didn’t know Bible stories and God was actually asking me to teach them to other people. “I could never be a leader.”
When I went to Bible college, I literally ran out of my public speaking class crying because I was so nervous. “I will never be good at speaking in front of people,” I said.
I had impossibly high standards for the type of man I wanted to marry. “I will never meet the right man.”
I falsely assumed that my circumstances would never and could never get better. I tragically allowed those statements to became part of my identity. Think about some of the “I will never/I could never” statements that you have agreed with:
I could never __________. I will never __________.
I could never survive __________. I will never forgive __________.
These lies are called inner vows. They are often not even something that we know we are believing, but they root deep into our souls. We stake our ground in a desperate attempt to protect ourselves and feel powerful. The problem is that these statements come from fear and the desire for control (both of which are the enemy’s territory).
“He was a murderer from the beginning and a hater of truth—there is not an iota of truth in him. When he lies, it is perfectly normal; for he is the father of liars,” (John 8:44 TLB).
Instead of praying or asking God to protect us, we determine that He must not be trust-worthy since He allowed _____ to happen. We take matters into our own hands and say things like, ““I will never ____/I could never ____.” The subject of those statements is “I.” Not God. Full of pride and fear we agree with the bait that the enemy offers us and attach our wills to his evil schemes. We believe lies.
Jennifer Sum says this about inner vows:
“Inner vows are a form of self-determination and idolatry because we place our desires above God’s desires for us. We decide to rule the direction of our futures by vowing to make what we want to come to pass, when we can’t even predict or control the future.
I highly recommend reading her entire article.
Inner vows give us the sense that we are doing something productive to move us toward peace, strength, and healing. For example, a child who vows to never be like his abusive father, genuinely sees the sin and flaws in his father and doesn’t want to continue the destructive patterns. However, instead of allowing God to empower him to change, he feels that the responsibility falls on him. The deep-seeded anger and resentment he already possesses from past wounds, is exacerbated by an overwhelming sense to rectify the injustices caused by his father. And what ends up happening? The anger from the abuse and the responsibility takes over and he become abusive (whether verbal, emotional, or physical), just like his dad. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.
“Your words are so powerful that they will kill or give life, and the talkative person will reap the consequences.,” (Proverbs 18:21 TPT).
Every time I have told God that “I will never ___/I could never ___,” that’s exactly what He ends up asking me to do. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. “I will never have children. I will not speak or preach. I will never be involved in women’s ministry. I will never move out of Texas. I will never stay home with my kids. I could never homeschool.” It’s hilarious how we think that our plans are so spectacular and that we have a right to tell God how it’s going to be. It’s a battle of wills. My sinful will fights against God’s good plans for me.
The Bible spells out the truth for us plainly: “I can do all this through him who gives me strength,” (Philippians 4:13 NIV). That means ALL things! There is truly not one thing that you and I can’t handle with the help of the Holy Spirit.
I want you to think about your “I would not/I could not,” inner vows. Regardless of how bad a situation might seem, God is with you. He will empower you, strengthen you, heal you, and give you whatever you need to finish well.
- Make a list of every inner vow you’ve made. Ask yourself why those topics make you feel sensitive. God needs to heal those raw areas of your heart.
- The enemy twisted the truth and manipulated you into believing there were things that you and God could not handle. Ask God to forgive you for agreeing with his lies.
- Submit your desire to Him. Your reasoning my be valid for not wanting ____ to happen. Like in our example of the child who doesn’t want to be like his abusive father- it is not an evil thing to want to be a good father! However, God is the one who makes that possible. Just submit that part of your heart to Him. (I wrote about this in more detail here – What If.)
- Ask God how He sees you and then behave according to His standards. He wants you to be free and whole even more than you do.
- Stay in the Word and around Godly people. You will change as you fill your mind and soul with God’s presence.
With God’s help, we can conquer anything that life throws at us. Our wills have to be submitted to the Father. He is the One who gets us where we are supposed to go. He charts the path and can see the whole picture.
With His help You CAN and you WILL!