Lies Women Believe About GodIs God Just Like Your Father?
Leslie Basham: Nancy Leigh DeMoss says we’re often tempted to think God isn’t enough.
Nancy Leigh DeMoss: What else do we turn to looking for satisfaction in addition to God? A husband? Relationship with marriage? Children? Relationships with children? Acceptance of friends? Achievement? Did someone say a job? Same thing there. Trying to get approval and recognition, satisfaction.
Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Wednesday, January 16.
Nancy’s picking up the series she began yesterday, Lies Women Believe About God.
Nancy: We said that when we believe lies, we will end up in bondage. It's the truth that sets us free. What we believe about God is so important because it determines what we believe about everything else.
I received a letter from a woman who said, "The lies that God doesn't love me; God is just like my father, have put me in bondage. Believing those lies has put me in a position of not being able to experience and sense God's love for me. God seems to be impatient, unpredictable, and hard, if not impossible, to please. It has made it extremely difficult for me to have any kind of close, intimate relationship with Him."
I want today to touch on one of those lies referenced in that letter, the lie that "God is just like my father." Now, as women, our view of God is often shaped and strongly influenced by the men that we have known in our lives, and more so by a father or a husband or brothers—men that are closely related to us.
I am very thankful to have had a loving, involved, committed father. I will acknowledge that that has made it so much easier for me to trust my Heavenly Father and receive His love for me. But I'm also aware that for many women today their experience is just the opposite. And I know that if we could go around the room and talk about what we think when we say the word "father," there would probably be more women who would have painful thoughts than would have easy or blessed thoughts when they think about a father relationship. So when I speak of God being our Heavenly Father, for many women today, that just makes them cringe. It's a painful thought.
Your father may have been distant, absent; he may not have been there at all. He may have abandoned your family when you were young. Or he may have been very much in the home but overbearing, harsh, or abusive. Or maybe he wasn't either of those two extremes, but he just didn't know how to express love.
Perhaps you relate to one or more of these women who have written me about this matter.
One woman said, "I had a stepfather who was cruel to me, and it's very hard to accept that God is not like him at all."
Another woman said, "My dad is a Christian and a good guy, but I've never heard much encouragement from him. For instance, when I would help him paint, I would say, 'Does this look okay?' hoping to hear, 'Hey, that looks really nice.' But he would only say, 'Try not to . . .' whatever. Maybe that's why I imagined God finding fault instead of loving me unconditionally and accepting me."
Another woman said, "My father abandoned me when I was four years old. I have trouble relating to God as a father. One of the lies I have believed and still struggle with is, God is not really there."
Now, if you've been wounded by a father or a husband or another man that you trusted, you may find it extremely difficult to trust God. In fact, you may even find yourself being afraid of God or even angry with God.
But I want to remind us that our Father in heaven is not like any other man or woman that you have ever known. In fact, the kindest, wisest, most compassionate, tender, earthly father is just a pale reflection of our Heavenly Father. At their best, every man is a flawed representation of God. That's why we can't get our view of God from other people—men or women.
If you want to know what God is really like, you need to turn to the place where He has revealed Himself, and that's in His Word. If you want to know what God's really like, you need to get to know Jesus because the Scripture says that Jesus is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of His being. So whatever Jesus is like, that's what God is like.
Jesus came to reveal the father heart of God to us and to make it possible for us to become adopted into the family of God. There are women in this room—and I can't tell by looking at you who you are—but there are some of you who are so afraid of God, so afraid of your Father God, afraid that He's going to abandon you, to disappoint you, to put you down or harm you as perhaps your earthly father did. Could I say that is not the Spirit of God speaking within you?
The Spirit of God within us says, "Abba, Father!" “Abba” is an Aramaic word that is a term of intimacy and endearment. First John chapter 3 tells us, "How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!"
God knows your name. He keeps track of the most minute details of your life. He has lavished His love upon you. He knows the number of cells in your body, the number of hairs on your head, and for some of us that changes rather frequently. He collects, the Scripture says, your tears in a bottle. He's intimately acquainted with you. His heart is stirred with compassion toward you. He rejoices over you with singing. He longs for an intimate relationship with you. That's the God of this Book.
Now, that doesn't mean that He gives us everything we want. No wise father would do that for his children, and it doesn't mean we can always understand His decisions. God is far too great for us to be able to plumb the depths of all of His decisions. And it doesn't mean that He never allows us to suffer pain.
In fact, Hebrews 12 tells us at times, God actually inflicts pain upon us. Why? Because He loves us. You say that's a funny way of showing love. Well, Hebrews 12:10 says that "God disciplines us for our good, so that we may share in his holiness." He's sanctifying us; He's transforming us; He's working on those rough edges and making us into the likeness of Jesus.
So regardless of what we feel or what we think, the truth is that God is a good father who dearly loves His children and can be trusted with our lives. When you come to know the love of your Heavenly Father, it will transform not only your view of God, but also your ability to love and respond to others.
One woman said,
There were only two men in my life: my father and my husband. I tried every way imaginable to get them to love me. Both of them deserted me when I needed them most. I learned that only God can love me in the way I need to be loved. My father never talked to me when I was a teen. I could count on one hand the number of times, and they were all put-downs.
I married my high school boyfriend and he divorced me after twenty-seven years of marriage. But once I came to understand the enormity of God’s love that surpasses all understanding, I found that I did not need to earn love and I was able to forgive and to love my father and my ex-husband.
To know God as your Father is to find acceptance, security, and peace. I love that verse in Psalm 27 where the Scripture says, "Though my father and my mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me." (27:10). He's infinitely different than any human father or man that we may know. Do you find it hard to accept that your Heavenly Father loves you; that He accepts you? You may know it in your head, but have you ever had it connect to your heart?
As I was preparing for this session, I just kept having in my mind's eye a picture of a father standing with outstretched arms with a child, a little child, up on a table or a sofa, some higher place; and the dad saying, "Jump into daddy's arms." I picture that child feeling so insecure, so fearful. “What happens if I jump but he's not there?” We have those feelings.
“What happens if we jump into the arms of God and find out He's not there?” But that dad knows that that little boy hasn't experienced yet that those arms are secure, they're strong. And I just pictured us as that little child with our Heavenly Father saying, "Jump! Jump into My arms! And underneath you will find are always the everlasting arms of our Heavenly Father."
Leslie Basham: Nancy Leigh DeMoss will be back with more teaching. That message is part of the series, Lies Women Believe About God. When you order this series on CD, you’ll hear one additional message. It’s on the lie, “God is supposed to meet all my needs.” To order the CD series including this bonus message, visit ReviveOurHearts.com, or call us. The number is 1-800-569-5959.
Well, what would it take to make your life complete? Nancy will address that question picking back up in the series, Lies Women Believe About God.
Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Do you know that little chorus “Christ is all I need. Christ is all I need; all, all that I need. We sang that at a conference that I was at recently. And you know, that's easy to sing when we're at church. But the question that crosses my mind is, “Is He really all that we need?"
One of the lies that many of us believe about God is that “God is not really enough.” Now, like many of the other lies we've been discussing, most of us would never say out loud, "God is not enough to meet my needs." But the way we live reveals what we really believe.
When it comes down to it, so many of us don't really believe that God is enough—that His Word is sufficient to deal with my issues, my problems, my specific situation. We think it can deal with everyone else's, but does God really speak to my life? We feel that we need God's Word . . . plus.
We need our Bible and what it has to offer us, but we also need these six bestsellers from our Christian bookstore. Or we also need this tape or this message or this conference or this counselor or this therapy or this medication. We need God plus a whole list of other things that we think are important in life . . . plus good friends, good health, a husband. Do we really believe that if we have God, we have enough? Or are we more like these women that have written to tell me how they were taken into bondage by this lie?
One woman said,
God is not really enough. [She put that in quotes.] I did not know I believed this until I realized how much trust I put in other things and people. I thought I trusted God fully and kept telling my husband we just needed to trust God, but then I would run to my friends to discuss our marriage or finances.
What she’s saying, "I discovered by the way that I lived, that what I was really believing is that God is not enough."
Another woman said,
I've denied the truth that my relationship with Jesus will satisfy my longings. Through the way I live, I have shown those around me that I need things in order to be happy. I've been critical, complaining, and irritable most of my life.
The only difference, by the way, between that woman and some of us in this room is that she got honest enough to admit it. She said, "I've been living this lie."
She believed the lie, and what did it result in? She became critical, complaining, and irritable. You see, we've said that every sin issue in our lives can ultimately be traced back to believing a lie. When we believe something that's not true, we're going to end up in disobedience.
Over the last couple days, I was intrigued by a passage in Genesis chapter 29. Genesis 29 tells the story of Leah, who was the older of two daughters of the father Laban. Jacob comes into the picture. He falls in love with her younger sister, Rachel, who the Scripture says was lovely in form and beautiful. She was an attractive woman. And, the Scripture says Leah had weak eyes. Now, I don't know what that means. But apparently, she was not as beautiful as her younger sister, Rachel.
So Jacob falls in love with Rachel, the beautiful one. He makes an agreement with the girl's dad to work for seven years in exchange for Rachel as his wife. Laban deceives Jacob, some or you are familiar with the story, and instead he gives—after the seven years of labor had been concluded, he gives Leah to Jacob as his wife. Then in exchange for another seven years of labor, Laban also gives Jacob the other daughter, Rachel, as his wife.
Now we come to Genesis 29, verse 31, and there's a paragraph here that tells of Leah having this desperate search for love and fulfillment as a wife—longing for the approval, the acceptance of her husband. Verse 31 tells us: "When the Lord saw that Leah was not loved, he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren. Leah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Reuben" (vv. 31–32).
Now, the word Reuben in Hebrew sounds like the word that means, "He has seen my misery." The name means "See, a son." She names the child, Reuben and she’s saying to her husband, "Look, I've borne you a son, someone to carry on your name, our family line." For she said, "It is because the Lord has seen my misery. Surely my husband will love me now "(v. 32).
"She conceived again," the next verse says, "and when she gave birth to a son, she said, 'Because the Lord heard that I am not loved, he gave me this one too.' So she named him Simeon," (v. 33) which probably means "One who hears." She is trying to get the attention, the affection of her husband and ultimately to know of God's favor and approval, because in those days, childbearing was so connected to a sense of God's favor.
And the next verse says, "Again she conceived, and when she gave birth to a son she said, 'Now at last my husband will become attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.' So she named him Levi" (v. 34). The word Levi sounds like the Hebrew for the word "attached." She's trying to find fulfillment and satisfaction through her performance.
Then we read, "She conceived again and when she gave birth to a son, she said, 'This time I will praise the Lord.' So she named him Judah." Judah sounds like the Hebrew for the word "praise." And "then she stopped having children" (v. 35).
See, here's a woman who's in a frantic, desperate search for acceptance, approval. She wants to know that she's loved; she's always needing something more to satisfy her. But she comes to the point in her life where she says, "What God has given me is enough. I will praise the Lord. If I never get the love and the affection of my husband, God is enough."
Do we truly believe that God is enough, or are we looking to other things and people to fill the empty places of our hearts?
What are some of those things that we try to use to fill up the empty places of our hearts? What comes to your mind—some of the things we look to for satisfaction? Help me out. Food? Okay. We've already read a testimony of that. Many times we're not eating because we're hungry, but because we're trying to fill up the empty places in our hearts.
What else do we turn to looking for satisfaction in addition to God? A husband? Relationships with marriage? Children? Relationships with children? Acceptance of friends? Achievement? Did someone say a job? Same thing, trying to get approval and recognition, satisfaction, love.
"Looking for love" as a woman said recently "in all the wrong places." She acknowledged that that's what she had been doing. Do we believe that God is enough to meet not only our needs, but the needs of others that we love?
Listen to this letter that I received from a woman. She said,
I was only able to help a family member suffering from depression and alcoholism when I finally believed that God is the answer to all her problems. This realization changed the way I prayed for her and talked with her. She began seeking God and letting Him change her. I found such freedom in trusting God to meet her needs and mine.
You see how believing the truth that “God really is sufficient” will set us free? The truth is that God has made us in such a way that no one and nothing can fill the innermost longings and meet the deepest needs of our hearts apart from God Himself.
I love that passage in Psalm 73 beginning in verse 23 where the psalmist reflects on all that he has in God. Here's what he concludes:
Oh God, I am always with you. You hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterwards you will take me into glory.
I mean, when you have all those things, what more do you need? When God is with you, when He's holding you, when He's guiding you with His counsel, when He's promised you a future and a hope, to take you to glory, what more do you need? He goes on to say:
Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (vv. 25–26)
You know what the bottom line is? And this is where we need to counsel our hearts according to the truth. "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want." (Ps. 23:1) In Him, with Him, in Christ we have all things. The truth is God really is enough.
Father, we confess that we have a big need list, things we think we need in addition to You. And I thank You for those times when You strip us of some of those things we thought we couldn't live without so we can find out that Christ really is all that we need. We know that we'll perhaps never find out that Christ is all we need until He is all that we have. But I thank you that when He's all that we have, we will find out He really is all that we need. So we're content with You. You are our shepherd, we shall not want. In Jesus name, amen.
Leslie Basham: That's Nancy Leigh DeMoss reminding us that God is all we need. Nancy's been speaking on the lies that women believe about God. If you've been challenged to re-think some of your ideas, we encourage you to get a copy of Nancy's book, Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free.
In the book Nancy exposes eight areas of deception most commonly believed by Christian women: lies about God, sin, priorities, and more. She then explains how we can be delivered from bondage and set free to walk in God's grace.
When you support Revive Our Hearts with a gift of any size, we’ll send you the book, Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free. Just visit ReviveOurHearts.com to make your donation and get the book. Or you can call 1-800-569-5959.
Well, do you have a “yes face”? If so, Revive Our Hearts might be able to use your help. Here’s Nancy to explain.
Nancy: Well, what I call “yes faces” are so important to me. And by the way, they are to your pastor as well. When I’m teaching, I’m constantly looking at the women in the audience and asking myself, “Are they getting this? Are they responding to what God is saying through His Word?” And when the women are paying attention, nodding, following, engaging in the text, that is so encouraging to me as a teacher. I call those “yes faces.” They add so much to the teaching that you hear on Revive Our Hearts, as it’s recorded with a live audience.
Well, I’m hoping to see a lot of “yes faces” this spring during the Revive Tour. We’ll be recording Revive Our Hearts in eight different cities teaching them the names of Jesus for an upcoming broadcast series. So if you’re anywhere near one of our tour stops, I would really love to see you.
The Revive Tour is coming first of all in the month of March to Texas. We’ll be in Dallas/Fort Worth area and then in Houston. And then in the following months, April, May, and June, we’ll be in Grand Rapids, Michigan; Chicago; Indianapolis; Cleveland; Lynchburg, Virginia; and Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
Here’s what’s involved. First of all there will be a free evening event for you and your whole family. Then the next morning there will be that free recording session for women that I was just telling you about. And if you are involved in women’s ministry in your church, I hope you’ll join us for a leadership luncheon as well. That’s for women’s leaders, teachers, small group leaders, counselors, pastors' wives, any woman who’s involved in disclipling or serving other women.
Well, you can get all the details of the Revive Tour by visiting us at ReviveOurHearts.com.
Leslie: Well, Angie will never forget the night her mom stabbed her dad. We’ll hear Angie’s redemptive story starting tomorrow. Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.
Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.
All Scripture is taken from the NIV.
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