Study Scripture:  31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. – John 8:31-32

Introduction:

In yesterday’s message we started off by talking about Willpower, and we found out that our willpower is nothing compared to the power we get by surrendering to God.  The more I thought about yesterday’s message the more I began to really understand that relying upon our own willpower and strength says a couple of things that we really don’t want to say to God.

(1).  The main thing we’re saying is that we don’t believe God’s strong enough to help us with whatever situation we’re trying to use our own strength to overcome.

(2).  It’s a matter of pride, and not wanting to admit that our strength isn’t enough.  This is usually the person who says that God is a crutch.  They rely on their own strength because they would rather get the credit than give it to God.

Now, I realize that none of us are really trying to say those things to God, but when we would rather rely upon our abilities, and not God’s…the biggest thing we’re saying to God is that we don’t trust Him.

So, today’s message is about knowing the truth, and without any further delay…let’s get into what we’re supposed to get into today.

Today’s Message:

I need to make sure to always make mention that this series is a small portion of a book and devotional written by Joyce Meyers.  The nice thing about this series is that I get to include her own commentary on what we’re reading for the day, and add mine to it.  I believe that we can learn from anyone, and Joyce is a very good person to learn from.

In my book Battlefield of the Mind, I write about John, a low-key type person. He was a man who had been verbally abused by his mother and taunted by playmates in childhood. He hated confrontation and couldn’t stand up to his wife, Mary’s strong will.

John was convinced that it didn’t do any good to stand up to anyone; he was going to lose anyway. He thought the only way to get along was to be quiet and accept whatever happened.

John also believed another lie–that he wasn’t truly loved by God. Because he felt that way, he had believed the devil’s lies. “I felt as if God said to the world, ‘Believe in Jesus and you’ll be saved.’ I got in on some kind of package deal–but I never felt I was worth loving.” – From the book Battlefield of the Mind Devotional by Joyce Meyer. Copyright © 2005 by Joyce Meyer. Published by FaithWords. All rights reserved.

I have a feeling that at the end of this series I may actually have to take the time to read the entire book because I know exactly who John is.  I grew up in a verbally and physically abusive home as a child, and I was basically kind of an outcast when it came to my childhood. I had heard the same thing most hear in that situation, and over a period of years the more you hear things like…”your no good”…”you’ll never amount to anything”…”loser”…”nerd”…”your just not normal”…the more you hear those kinds of things eventually you come to believe them…and you live your life based upon the belief system you have.  So, if you internalize those kinds of things, and you begin to believe them…eventually your outward life can bare the fruit of your inward beliefs…isn’t that really what we’re doing as Christians…trying to allow the world to see Christ within us?

I see already that this series is also going to help me to reflect a little bit more on the lessons I need to learn about my first marriage.  Because I, like John, married a strong willed woman, and being the laid back none confrontational person I am…it took me a long time before I was actually able to stand up to my wife, and begin to assert myself.  It took even longer for me to stand up to my mother, and that’s because she was the one who was the most verbally and physically abusive to me as a child.

I can also relate to John as to how I used to view God’s love for me, and I took my feelings and beliefs about myself as reasons to disqualify me from being useful to God.  And the devil used that.  I have made some monumental mistakes, and when you add in the results of those mistakes to the image I had of myself…and then I get socked with the knowledge that I’m not here just to take up space, but serve a holy God.  You can bet that my first reaction was to run from the calling of God on my life.

That’s why it’s taken me so long to get to the place where I am today, and you know what?  I still have a hard time seeing myself through the eyes of God sometimes because of the old voices of the past that tell me that there’s no possible way I can do any good for the kingdom of God.  I still drink beer, I still smoke cigars, I still swear occassionally when I get mad, I still don’t always turn the other cheek when someone does me wrong, I still haven’t learned to become a peacemaker or peacekeeper, I still don’t always love everyone the way I’m commanded to, and the list could go on for quite a while.  The devil knows this list, and it’s exactly what he uses on a regular basis to try and discourage me from serving God…and you know what…sometimes the devil wins.

Sometimes the devil pushes just the right buttons, and plays the right videos in my mind from things of the past to get me into a place of vulnerability.  Remember yesterday how we talked that the devil is never in a hurry?  Well, he’s not.  He’s even messed with me since I’ve began writing and posting messages on Facebook, and I can tell you exactly what he says.  “Why do you waste your time?  No one reads this stuff, no one believes what you write, and no one is being helped by anything you right.  Writing messages is pointless, and not only is it not helping anyone, but it’s a waste of your time.”

Yes, folks, this is exact things I’ve heard the devil speak to me, and you know when he does it?  He doesn’t do it when your on a bit of a high because someone you least expected decided to let you know that what your doing is ministering to them.  He waits till the moment that your discouraged because no one likes or comments on anything you post, and you’ve been stuck on 28 when Facebook wants you to have 30.  He waits until you’ve done something against God that your sorrowful over, and that adds to the feeling that your unworthy to continue serving God.  Then, here comes the devil speaking those things I just told you in your ear.  He plays images in your mind of things you’ve done in the past, stuff that you thought you were over, but you still haven’t really forgiven or forgotten.  Before you know it, a month has gone by…and it’s coming up on May…and you realize that you need to get back to doing what God’s called you to do…because God doesn’t call the qualified…He qualifies the called.

If the enemy of your mind can convince you that you’re too bad or too worthless, he has set up a stronghold in your mind.

Although John was a Christian, his mind had been imprisoned by his enemy. – From the book Battlefield of the Mind Devotional by Joyce Meyer. Copyright © 2005 by Joyce Meyer. Published by FaithWords. All rights reserved.

I like what Joyce writes here.  “If the enemy of your mind can convince you that you’re too bad or too worthless, he has set up a stronghold.”  What did we just write about that yesterday.  I shared a little bit with you about how it didn’t take very long for me to get discouraged, and feel worthless enough to take a step back from walking in the call of God upon my life. The problem here, is that most Christians in this mindset try to overcome this stronghold with their willpower, and what we actually find out is that the ONLY thing that is powerful enough to destroy strongholds is the Word of God.

Which is why we come to today’s message about needing to know the truth…and the only place you can find absolute truth is in the Word of God.

John needs to know that he is loved, and that he is as valuable to the kingdom of God as Paul, Moses, or anybody else. For John to win his battle and cast down the mental strongholds the devil has built, he needs to know the truth. Jesus said, “If you . . . [hold fast to My teachings and live in accordance with them], you are truly My disciples. And you will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free” (John 8:31b-32). – From the book Battlefield of the Mind Devotional by Joyce Meyer. Copyright © 2005 by Joyce Meyer. Published by FaithWords. All rights reserved.

The single most important things that have happened in my life outside of confessing Christ as Lord and Savior were the times that God revealed to me Himself that He loved me.  I, like the character in Joyce’s book needed to know that I was loved and valuable.  That was something my first wife was never able to do was love me and convince me that I was valuable to her.  So, when someone came along that did attempt to make me feel that way it was only natural that I was drawn to the woman that did those things, and even though it was only temporary…she at least for a moment showed me what I was missing.  To be completely honest with you…the reason it was so easy to leave my wife for that woman is because she was able to do something…even though it was for a short period of time no one else had ever done…she made me feel loved, valued, and appreciated.  She was the first person that I felt actually loved me for me as I was, and I remember I once said to this woman that if my wife had treated me the way she did…I wouldn’t be with her.

So, let me give a little side journey here to say to all the ladies and gentlemen if you want to hang on to your spouse let me encourage you to do the following.  First, love them as they are, and don’t try to mold them into YOUR image.  We are meant to be molded into the image of God not yours.  If your trying to mold your spouse or significant other into your image…then the god your really worshipping is yourself.  I understand that’s a hard saying, but it’s the truth.  If you believe your building your significant other into a image that you prefer…then you’re not allowing them the freedom to become who God’s designed them to be.  Secondly, you need to make sure they know that they are loved.  Don’t just assume they know.  By the way, just saying that you love them isn’t enough.  The reason that I fell in love with a woman other than my ex-wife is because she was genuinely interest in what I was doing.  My ex-wife never went to any of my softball games, but the other woman did.  She even came to watch me bowl sometimes.  Now, anyone that’s ever gone to watch someone bowl knows that’s not really a great time of entertainment…but the truth is she did it because she wanted to spend time with me.  Those are little things, but the spoke volumes to me.  They spoke that even though she didn’t enjoy going to the bowling alley…it was about being able to hang out with me…and also being a cheerleader.  Third, that brings me to another point…be their biggest cheerleader.  They’ve probably heard enough times over that they are losers or hopeless or stupid, but they don’t need to hear that from you too.  They get enough of that from the world, they don’t need you pointing out all of their flaws, and voicing your displeasure in every little thing you do or don’t do the way you expect them to. First of all, lower your expectations.  Secondly, realize there is a god and your not Him. Third, if you don’t have anything good to say about your significant other…then keep it to yourself.  You’d be amazed how just a little bit of encouragement will change your significant other’s attitude towards you.  So, instead of being their biggest trader try being their biggest cheerleader instead. Finally, I’m sure you don’t like hearing that your replaceable so don’t tell your significant other that they are.  This is kind of one of them golden rule things.  Treat your significant other the way you want them to treat you…and do that regardless of the way they treat you.

Okay, I think I’m finished with that side journey.  I’m sure that I’m going to rub some people the wrong way, but I’d like to encourage you that if your going to be mad at someone about what I just wrote…take it up with the One who inspired me to write it.

John learns truth as he reads God’s Word, prays, and meditates on what it says to him. He also learns as he applies God’s Word in his daily life and has the experience of watching it work as Jesus said it would.

I have learned from the Word of God and life’s experiences that God’s Word is filled with power and will tear down the strongholds Satan has built in our minds.

You cannot be free unless you know that the weapons of warfare are available to you and that you can learn to use them.

– From the book Battlefield of the Mind Devotional by Joyce Meyer. Copyright © 2005 by Joyce Meyer. Published by FaithWords. All rights reserved.

Like John, I’ve found my value in God.  I never have to place the burden on my wife of making her try to make me feel a certain way that only God can make me feel.  I am really happy for the first time in my life.  My wife helps with that, but it’s not her responsibility to make me feel happy.  I get my value from God.  I understand today that I’m loved far beyond a measure than my wife ever can.  I understand that if all the world turned away from me…there would still be One that loved me…and that One is Jesus.  When you understand that truth…that is the truth that sets you free.

Today, I’m free of the need to have others validate me.  I’m free of the need to have others make me feel loved, needed, or appreciated.  I’m free from that because today I understand that I am so valuable to God that He laid His life down in order to show me that.  So, what that does is allow me to freely give out love because I’ve freely received that love.  That’s why I can tell others I love them, and have that be sincere because my love for them isn’t based upon a worldly love.

The Bible says that the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, and that the world will know God’s people by the love they have for one another.  I have the ability to love freely because I received God’s love freely, and the love I have in my heart is no longer my own…but His.

Like I said.  The most important thing to happen in my life was the day I understood that God spoke to me that He loved me.  You can go through life knowing about God’s love, and believing that He probably does love you.  BUT when the revelation of the truth comes, and God tells you He loves you…it’s life changing…and this is where that freedom comes.

John 8:31 – 32 is one of them passages of scripture many people know, but don’t really understand until they KNOW it.  The truth that sets you free is the knowledge that God really does love YOU so much that He sent His only begotten Son into the world so that through Him you might be saved.  There’s nothing in the world like hearing from ABBA Father that He loves you…just like you heard and read all these years…but at this one moment in time…it became personal.

Conclusion & Prayer:

Lord God of heaven, remind me that I am important to You and that I am loved by You, even if I don’t feel loved. Help me to learn that I am as important to You as any other Christian and that You love me as much as You love them. I thank You in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

So, yesterday we learned that Willpower really has no power.  Today we learned that we need to know that truth.  I can’t wait to find out what we will be talking about tomorrow.  As always, my hope and prayer is that this ministers to you in some way.  Thanks for reading…I hope you come back again tomorrow for day 3 0f 14 of the Battlefield of the Mind Devotional.

Correction To Today’s Message:
I have to make a correction to today’s message.  The message about Willpower wasn’t a part of the Battlefield of the Mind Devotional…it was part of a message that I wrote on my own personal Facebook page, and I see that since this actually ties in with what I’m writing about today that I am going to simply add the link to that message, and encourage you to read along.
I’m actually doing another 2 week sample of another one of Joyce Meyer’s devotional books for my personal devotional time…called New Day, New You…and since yesterday’s message ties in so well with what we’ve talked about when it comes to the Battlefield of the Mind…here’s the link to the message that I’d like to tie into what we’ve been talking about.