29 Sep The Lies We Believe
If you believe something to be true, does it make it true? If you can identify it as a lie, is it possible to still believe it?
Whether we like it or not, chances are, there are lies that we believe. There may even be lies that I can identify as a lie, and yet, I still believe it. How does this happen?
In the Restoring the Foundations ministry, we call the lies that we believe, “Ungodly Beliefs”. Because anything that doesn’t align with God’s truth, is simply a lie, whether someone believes it to be true or not.
We may know the truths of the Bible, and yet still live our lives out of Ungodly Beliefs that reflect the lies that we believe.
Where do these lies come from?
They can come from past experiences that seem to reinforce the lie. They can have been spoken or implied by people who have authority in our lives (parents, teachers, other family members, good friends, bosses, church leaders, etc.). They can also come from our culture, whether with good intentions or poor.
Common Ungodly Beliefs
Here are some common Ungodly Beliefs, I’ve selected a few from a list used by Restoring the Foundations. Can you identify with any of them?
1 / When something is wrong, it is my fault.
2 / I have to plan every day of my life. I can’t relax.
3 / No one will love or care about me just for myself.
4 / I must be passive in order to avoid conflict that would risk other’s approval
5 / I will never really change and be as God wants me to be.
6 / I have wasted a lot of time, some of my best years.
7 / Turmoil will always be normal for me.
8 / Other people don’t meet my standards so I must do it myself.
9 / I will always need to be strong in order to protect and defend myself.
10 / I am too much / I am not enough (often go hand in hand)
This is just a short list of the dozens of common Ungodly Beliefs that we believe. Even if we only sometimes believe some of them, inevitably it means that we are living out of untruths. That’s not where God wants us to operate. He wants us to live fully in the truth and light of His glory and love.
How do I deal with Ungodly Beliefs?
Identifying that there are lies we believe is the first step. But the way to overcome it is not with our own power (because we all know how well things go when we I try to do it by myself). These are some simple steps for replacing Ungodly Beliefs with Godly Truths (they’re based on more concrete steps that we go through in RTF ministry):
1 / Ask the Lord to show you what the source of these lies are. Is it because of someone, or something that happened?
2 / Forgive the people who contributed to the ungodly belief taking root in your heart. For example, if your Ungodly Belief is “I’ll never be smart enough”, and God reminded you that your high school math teacher said “You’ll always be a dummy at math”, make sure to forgive them. If you also noticed that your mom tends to believe that she’s not very smart, then forgive her because she allowed the Ungodly Belief to go down your family line. If you feel it’s generational (perhaps your siblings, parents, grandparents, or even great grandparents have struggled with it), you may want to pray to stop it from going further down your generational line.
3 / Forgive yourself for believing the lie. Forgiving yourself can sometimes be the hardest part. We can have a lot of grace for others, but it can be difficult to extend ourselves the same grace.
4 / Ask God to forgive you for believing the Ungodly Belief. When we believe a lie, we are not agreeing with God – this is a form of sin. But no need to beat yourself up, just remember that Jesus’ blood covers you completely, and God is faithful to forgive (1 John 1:9)
5 / Release all the people you’ve forgiven, take a deep breath, remember that forgiveness is a choice, not a feeling. You may not feel like forgiving your math teacher. But you can choose to. Forgiveness doesn’t mean what they did was ok, but it does mean that you are canceling the debt they owe you, just as Jesus canceled ours. And forgiveness sets the forgiver free. (Matthew 6:15)
6 / Ask God to tell or show you what His truth is regarding this particular lie. Listen for His voice – it may come in a picture or words or a sense. Bible verses are good, and you should absolutely use the Word for reference to test that what you received is true according to the Bible. But during this particular moment, try to hear what the Holy Spirit is saying to you specifically. God’s truth, spoken directly to you and for you, will be a powerful weapon when the enemy tries to stir up the lie again.
7 / Receive the truth. Write it down. In Restoring the Foundations, they recommend reading your God-given truth every day for 30 days, or longer. This practice of meditating on the truth is great for renewing your mind.
My Own Ungodly Belief
To make this more concrete, I wanted to share an example from my own life. (Note: This is just one of many Ungodly Beliefs that God has helped me identify. And he continuously shows me more that I need to bring to him.)
For a long time, I believed the Ungodly Belief that “I don’t belong, I will always be on the outside / left out.”
The Holy Spirit revealed to me that I believed this because, growing up as one of very few Asian Americans in my town of mainly White Americans, I sorely felt that I did not belong. When I was little, I wanted so badly to have blonde hair and blue eyes. I wanted to eat Mac & Cheese and Hamburgers. I wanted to go to school dances and the town pool in the summer. I was embarrassed of my own differences and my family’s culture.
Even though as I grew older, I realized that it’s great to be Asian American, I still lived out of that lie. Whenever we moved, I tried so hard to fit in, to prove to people that I was worthy to be one of them. It contributed to my behavior of people pleasing, and in my striving to show I belong, then I would overextend myself, and become bitter and resentful that no one seemed to appreciate everything I did. It was a destructive cycle I found myself in.
I walked through the process I discussed above – forgiving the people and myself who contributed to this. Some made me feel like an outsider on purpose, others didn’t know, but had hurt me. Again, forgiveness doesn’t mean what they did was ok. But it also doesn’t mean they were aware of what they did. In any case, if they caused you pain, just forgive them and give them to the Lord. It releases them from being tethered to you.
After asking God to forgive me for believing this lie, I asked him to show me what He wanted to say about it, what His truth was.
I listened and waited. And after a while I started sensing that God was showing me all these faces of people who had made me feel like I do belong. Ever since I was a little girl. He reminded me that throughout my life, He had planted people around me to welcome me in, who loved and appreciated me just for who I was. And He told me “I am surrounding you with a family, my family. You will always belong here.”
That’s the truth that I hold on to. I know it’s from God because of the numerous Bible verses that talk about the church being the Family of God, and me as an adopted child into His family.
When the lie starts trying to creep its way back in (and I can usually tell because the fruit of the lie is people pleasing) – so if I start finding that I am leaning toward people pleasing behavior, I fight the lie with my truth. I don’t need to prove myself, because I belong to a very special family, one that loves me unconditionally – the Family of God.