Wednesdays with Jillene: fighting the lies

There are times when a word or phrase won’t leave my head, constantly running like a song lyric you just can’t stop thinking about. But more than a song I can’t escape, there are words and phrases that won’t leave my heart alone.

That’s what happened this weekend.

Actually, it started (again) in earnest weeks ago and grew ever stronger as the days counted down for Women’s Camp here at Camp Cowen.

“To know who you are is to know whose you are, who He is, and who you are in Him.”

“You are a beloved child of the King, lavished with His mercy, filled with His grace, loved beyond imagining.”

I’ll be honest, I second guessed myself (and a third, fourth, fifth, etc.) because I’m that way sometimes. But God made it clear. He made it clear when Jana the Bible Study leader stood up and started talking about identity. He made it clear when Deb our missionary speaker spoke of being challenged on losing hers. It was clear in the conversations happening all around camp…

  • I’ve lost myself.
  • I’m not who I want to be…
  • I’m not sure who I am any more.
  • Things haven’t been right in my life for a long time…
  • I know God loves me and I love God but I feel lost.

And I knew it was time to again speak those words that had been echoing in my mind and tugging on my heart.

So… Saturday night Vesper service, I stood up and shared my heart. I’ll do it again today here in written form. Why? Maybe you need to hear it today… right where you’re at in this moment. Maybe you are one of the many women who heard it Saturday and have asked for a refresher or a copy of my notes.

So here it is… from my heart to yours… seeking to share the truth of the word of God with you. (And if you know me, I am wordy, so this post is long. But I think it is worth the read, even if you have to come back later to finish reading.)

Who Am I? Who is Jill Narraway? You can read my bio in promo materials, follow me on Facebook, watch me on Instagram, see videos I recorded on YouTube… whatever. But the question is… do you know me?

We’ve been asked it all day: Who am I?

We know the labels: friend, daughter, mother, sister, listener, shy, talkative, good with kids, athletic, quiet, emotional, stoic, teacher, nurse, stay-at-home mom, cook, cleaner, chauffeur… The trouble with our answers: they let us down, we can’t live up, sometimes don’t fit. What about when our friends are mad at us? What about there is a family break up… we’ve lost our husband… we’re fired or quit our job… we’ve lost our child… we can’t be who we’ve always been…

Then what? Who am I when all the labels don’t fit? Am I lost? Sisters, I think you’re searching for something more- because it is at the core of who we are… to know whose we are and who we are in Him.

If you’re taking notes or want it all boiled down here it is: You are a child of the King, lavished with mercy, filled with grace, loved beyond imagining.

This is not just a phrase. It is the answer to: Who am I?

I don’t know about you but, often I’m concerned about the REAL answer of: Who Am I? Afraid if people knew the truth… afraid if I knew the truth… But God knows.

Ephesians 2 tells us who we are… and we’re gonna go deep right now. ‘Cause there is no other place to go… the shallow doesn’t get us anywhere but surface.  I heard a speaker say once, “The bad news is worse than you thought, but the good new is better than you imagined.” You have to face the one to have the other. That is what Ephesians 2:1-10 gives us. Let’s take a look.

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.

That beginning… wow… it is rough. But it is real. You probably know the verse, heard it since you were little, from Romans 3:23, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” And you likely know the consequence of sin too, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23. The Word of God is clear: we all have sinned. That sin is ugly; it is deadly…

And just when the despair kicks in, right when we need it most, verse 4 starts: But God… there are few words that are more beautiful than those two because those two change everything.

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

And there is the beauty: God who is rich in mercy, full of grace, loved us so much that through Christ [while we were dead in our sins] we are given forgiveness of sins, offered new life, and are children of God. John 1:12 says, “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God…”

But there is a problem… it has been a problem long before any of us existed, a problem that Satan used on Eve in the garden and has been eating away at us ever since: LIES. The thing about lies is that they are tricky. They don’t come with a billboard; we don’t grow a nose like Pinocchio or turn a strange color when we tell them… And they are sneaky because they most often are rooted in a tiny bit of truth and grow into a nasty, twisted weed filled with thorns that choke out our lives.

Those lies tear away at our identity in Christ. Those lies cause us to find our identity in anything and everything else… those lies steal our life from us. And friends… we were never meant to combat these lies alone.

We have the word. The word who became flesh to tell us and show us and embody truth. AND we have each other.

Better together… remember. You are loved. Live loved.

You probably are very familiar with these words of Jesus too from Matthew 11:28-30

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

What does rest mean to you? A break, release, vacation, relaxation… and it does. But do you know there is a second definition? Read them both here:

“To be placed or supported so as to stay in a specified position. Goodness… what if the rest I truly need is to know who I am? Because there is no greater burden we could carry than trying to work out our salvation on our own, trying to be good enough, do what is good enough… No greater burden than still looking for the living among the dead. The greatest rest we can find is to “be placed or supported so as to stay in a specified position” as a child of the King.

“To know who you are is to know whose you are, who He is, and who you are in Him.”

“You are a beloved child of the King, lavished with His mercy, filled with His grace, loved beyond imagining.”

Ephesians 2:10 tells us, that no only did God rescue us, but He has created us anew in Christ for a purpose. “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Each of us, equipped by God, has a special purpose, a gift to serve others.

Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.

Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.

Ephesians 4:11-16

We need one another. We need each other to build up the body of Christ to maturity. Why? So we won’t be blown about by the wind of every new teaching. Why? So we won’t be tricked by lies so clever that they sound like truth. We need to speak truth into the lies that surround…

Think of the lies that surround and strangle us:

  • I’m not good enough
  • Not pretty enough
  • Not successful enough.
  • I’ll never succeed.
  • No one needs me.
  • No one could love me
  • I can’t live up
  • I can’t stop sinning
  • How can God love me?
  • God can’t love me
  • God doesn’t love me

Friends, I have a question for you: Why are you looking for the living amongst the dead? We just celebrated Easter… remember when the women came looking for Jesus in the tomb? The men gleaming, clothed in white asked, ““Why do you look for the living among the dead?” Jesus wasn’t in the grave. He had conquered sin and death. And through His death and resurrection… we are dead no longer. The grave has no hold over us.

How often do we still look for the living among the dead? Stuck on what we aren’t, stopped by what we can’t, knocked down by what we’ve done… That is not our identity. Ephesians 2 is clear: the bad news is worse than you thought. “But God…” Ephesians 2 is also clear: the good news is better than you imagined.

“To know who you are is to know whose you are, who He is, and who you are in Him.”

“You are a beloved child of the King, lavished with His mercy, filled with His grace, loved beyond imagining.”

So, friends… when those lies too clever that they sound like truth try to trick us… right then, we need to speak the truth of the word of God. Who does God say that you are in Him? And friends, this is when we need to be the body of Christ for one another. Let me ask you this, ever stubbed your toe and it hurt so bad you couldn’t even see straight? It isn’t just our physical bodies that hurt that way, so do our emotional and spiritual selves. How many times, as lies tear away, are you in so much pain that you can’t find or speak truth? Be there to speak truth for one another! Know you are part of a family. Live Loved- build relationships and speak life into one another.

We need speak truth in love… spirit led, serving others, choosing to die to self, speaking life to one another. That is what the Body of Christ needs to do to face the lies…

Friends my heart seeks for yours today and asks these three questions:

  1. Are you a believer? Have you accepted the beautiful, life-giving forgiveness that comes through Christ? If not, write to me today! I’d love to share with you how you can do that.
  2. What lies are speaking to you, stealing your identity? What is the truth of the word of God to those lies?
  3. To whom do you need to speak truth? Who has God placed in your life that needs you to speak life and truth into the lies that are attacking them today?

~Jillene

4 thoughts on “Wednesdays with Jillene: fighting the lies

  1. Jillene, methinks finding who we are in Christ is a life long, ever-evolving journey as we dwell (& move) closer to the center of His Sacred Heart that beats with eternal love for us – & others. Thank you for this post – sometimes it’s hard to hear Christ’s heartbeats inside us when we squash our minds with what the world says we’re meant to be. Blessings!

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  2. Pingback: Wednesdays with Jillene: I don’t think I could do it… | ThinMoments.com

  3. Pingback: Wednesdays with Jillene: boasting of my weaknesses? | ThinMoments.com

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