When I was a little girl, a look of disappointment or disapproval was the only thing my parents or teachers needed to do to change my attitude and behavior.
Yep, I am a firstborn people-pleaser!
Even as a teen and young adult, I carefully evaluated my words and actions and did what I could to avoid any and all choices that had potentially negative consequences.
Looking back, I think most of my friends thought I was boring.
I guess I was.
For the most part, it worked for me.
Except for the fact that fear makes a lousy motivator and it’s impossible to live free when we’re bound by fear.
My story would be easier to tell if I could say that it was my desire to honor and glorify God by obeying His commands and following His will that inspired me. But…
The enemy is a great deceiver. He loves to find anything he can to get God’s children to doubt their Father’s love, care, and provision.
For me, it all started with my heart’s desire.
The Bible says,
Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.Psalm 34:7
I’m a pastor’s wife, teacher, student of the Bible, and I’ve always believed in Jesus as my Savior . . . doesn’t that equal “delighting” in the Lord?
Why wasn’t God giving me the desire of my heart?
Maybe you can relate.
You’ve prayed and waited for:
- a spouse
- a child
- a job
- a home
And like me, maybe it’s been a year, two, five . . . or longer, and your heart is crying as the wait continues.
That’s when the enemy approached me through the words of a friend.
“You’re not fun anymore.”
“God’s not going to…”
“You need to…”
Words I desperately wanted to hear … so, like Eve, I grabbed hold of that fruit and took a big ol’ bite!
But unlike Eve, I didn’t pay the consequences right away.
I got what I wanted. My prayers were answered and life seemed perfect!
I even convinced myself that my actions were all part of God’s plan for me and for my family.
But then the perfect crashed and burned.
I’m not going to share the details of our story with you, they’re not really important. What is important is the way God used it all to work a miracle in my life and teach me the truth about His forgiveness and love. He offered me the grace I needed to live free!
The Vision that Changed it All.
God allowed me to see myself standing at the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in the center of the Garden. I heard Satan’s hissed words, “Did God really say?” And I believed his lie that God’s “no” was not out of love but because He was holding out on me.
My inner “good girl” flattened. There I was with a half-eaten piece of fruit in my hand, humbled, broken, hurting, and in need of forgiveness. I’d always known I was a sinner but I guess in reality I’d never thought of myself as being that bad.
Suddenly I realized what a poor miserable unworthy sinner I was and all I could say was…
“Father, please forgive me!”
And the Lord, so rich in love, grace, and mercy, led me with apple in hand to the foot of the cross.
If we confess our sins, He will forgive our sins, because we can trust God to do what is right. He will cleanse us from all the wrongs we have done.1 John 1:9
Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”Luke 7:48
But with You there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve You.Psalm 130:4
I have tears in my eyes as I type this. I’m so overwhelmed by God’s undeserved grace offered in and through Jesus.
My inner “good girl” was full of self-righteousness but in a moment I became a humbly forgiven “redeemed girl” … surrendered and able to live free.
Free of the past failures and free of fear disappointment and disapproval in the future.
God’s grace really is enough.
He said to me, “My grace is enough for you. When you are weak, my power is made perfect in you.” So I am very happy to brag about my weaknesses. Then Christ’s power can live in me. For this reason I am happy when I have weaknesses, insults, hard times, sufferings, and all kinds of troubles for Christ. Because when I am weak, then I am truly strong.2 Corinthians 12:9–10 (NCV)
Friend, whatever past regrets or problems you’re dealing with today . . . God’s grace is enough. It’s enough to forgive you, enough to give you courage and strength, and enough to give you freedom as you do your best to live for His glory.
Satan will still tempt us. He will still lie and do whatever he can to deafeat us…
The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy.John 10:10a
His message has been the same since the Garden, but there’s Good News…
My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.John 10:10b
We have the Good News that God’s promises are forever and always greater than the enemy’s lies.
“For this is how God loved the world: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent His Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through Him.John 3:16–17
Jesus has defeated that lying cheating enemy!
For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.Romans 3:23
Can be forgiven.
Then He [Jesus] opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. And He said, “Yes, it was written long ago that the Messiah would suffer and die and rise from the dead on the third day. It was also written that this message would be proclaimed in the authority of His name to all the nations, beginning in Jerusalem: ‘There is forgiveness of sins for all who repent.'”Luke 24:45–47
I love the following quote…
“To win the war against fear, we must know the true God as He is revealed in the Bible. He works to give us lasting peace. He receives joy, not from condemning us but in rescuing us from the devil. Yes, the Lord will bring conviction to our hearts concerning sin, but it is so He can deliver us from sin’s power and consequences. In its place, the Lord works to establish healing, forgiveness, and peace.” ~ Francis Frangipane
How to Reject the “Good Girl” Lie and Live Free
- Know that satan is always at work tempting you to doubt God’s love and saving grace. He will lie to you to steal the truth, kill your faith, and destroy your relationship with the Lord.
- Accept the truth that you have taken a bite of the fruit satan offered but God is faithfully inviting you to carry it to the foot of the cross. He longs to forgive and give you everything you need to live for His glory.
- Live confident that you are forgiven and free to live no longer a slave to satan’s lies of guilt from a broken past but released to use your new life for God’s glory without fear of the future.
Although the enemy is relentless he is defeated. Jesus won the victory and by His grace you and I can reject his lies and live … forgiven and free.
So, from one surrendered and redeemed “good girl” (or “good boy”) to another! Stop today and celebrate God’s grace, remember His immeasurable love, and live FREE!
So if the Son makes you free, you will be truly free.
We have freedom now because Christ made us free. So stand strong. Do not change and go back into the slavery of the law.John 8:36, Galatians 5:1 (NCV)
Thank you so much for joining me today.
And a thank you to BibleGateway.com for sources.
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