Revive Our Hearts Podcast

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Leslie Basham: When Nancy Leigh DeMoss wrote the book Lies Women Believe, she started to hear from a lot of readers.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: What they were saying was, “We wish we had known these things sooner. We wish that we had built our lives on a different system.”

The other thing they said was, “Now, how can we help our daughters and our granddaughters not buy into these lies?”

Leslie: Today, hear how Nancy responded to that request.

This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Monday, August 6.

For years listeners have been asking for a follow-up to Nancy’s book Lies Women Believe: And the Truth That Sets Them Free. Nancy got together with Dannah Gresh, a writer and speaker who has a lot of expertise talking with young women.

In fact, Dannah will be leading the Teen Track this September at True Woman '12.

Nancy and Dannah looked at the issues facing teen girls, and wrote Lies Young Women Believe. Bob Lepine from FamilyLife Today talked with Nancy and Dannah about this book, and we'll hear the conversation this week. Here's Bob.

Bob Lepine: Let me ask you as we get started today: This issue of believing lies—why is it such a life derailer? Why is it such a big thing when somebody is deceived and acts on a lie?

Nancy: Well, Bob, to me that goes back to the power of the truth. It’s the truth that gives our lives foundation and a basis for living.

It’s the truth, Jesus said, that sets you free. Jesus is the truth, so a lie is anything that pulls us away from the truth, that derails us, that deceives us; lies by their very nature are deceptive.

Go back to the early chapters of the book of Genesis; you see that God makes the woman for the man and He brings them together and sets them in this beautiful, perfect environment. Then you enter chapter three, and all of the sudden there’s this huge, cataclysmic disruption.

The serpent enters the scene, and what does he do? He pulls the woman away from the truth. Then she has a choice of going with the truth as God has given it or going with something that counters the truth.

She believes the lie, bites into the fruit, thinks this is going to make her happy and successful and that she’ll be like God . . . and then she finds she’s got a mouthful of worms.

What a picture that is of the human race and life ever since! It seems to me that biblically there’s a distinctive way in which Satan goes after women. Not that he doesn’t lie to the whole human race, but I think perhaps we as women are more prone to fall for those lies, to listen to our emotions and to our circumstances rather than to the truth.

I just know for myself, when I let my mind or my emotions go places that aren’t consistent with God’s Word, I end up with a mouthful of worms.

Bob: Dannah, let me ask you, do you remember a time where you began to become consciously aware of the fact that you’d been believing lies in this area, and you needed to be believing the truth?

I think we go along in our lives doing that without being aware that we’re doing it, and then all of a sudden a light comes on. Do you remember when that happened for you?

Dannah: Well, the very nature of a lie is that it’s deceptive, so we don’t recognize it. We don’t see it. Really, I didn’t begin to see the lies in my life until God began to rescue me with the truth.

If Christ is life, if He is truth, if He says, “I have come that you may have life and have it abundantly” [see John 10:10]. You see that in the Garden before the Fall . . . and then you see consequence. So when you’re mired in the consequences, absent of the truth of Jesus, you just think it’s normal. “I’m supposed to be depressed. I’m supposed to be afraid. I’m supposed to feel like nobody likes me.”

Then when God starts to rescue you, which happened for me when I was probably between the ages of twenty and twenty-six, the lies that had become deeply ingrained in my life as a teenager, God began to untangle one by one.

One of the biggest lies for me was: If people knew my sin, if they knew my past, they would think I was a hypocrite.

Bob: They would reject you.

Dannah: They would reject me. That was the antithesis of truth, because Christ’s rescue in my life is what has equipped me to serve Him.

Bob: I think in the teenage years, young girls are experiencing a lot of life for the first time, and what they’re experiencing is very real. They take those experiences, then they take God’s Word, and they set them side by side, and boy, what they’re experiencing just feels a lot more real than what they read in God’s Word.

Nancy: Emotions are very, very powerful. You’ve got the whole culture screaming at you in all kinds of advertising and entertainment, and teachers . . .

Dannah: Let us not forget hormones!

Nancy: And hormones!

Dannah: With a teenage girl . . . please!

Nancy: They’re screaming at you! I often say, perception is half of reality. We tend to think that if you feel it’s true, therefore it is true.

Bob: Here you are as a teenage girl—you’ve got your feelings, you’ve got your hormones, you’ve got the culture, you’ve got your friends, you’ve got your parents . . . everything is saying, “This is real. This is true. This is experience.”

And over here you’ve got God’s Word, which maybe you’re just becoming aware of for the first time. It says there’s a different truth that contradicts what you’re experiencing.

It’s hard to say, “I’m going to believe what’s here, when this feels so true.”

Dannah: When you’re hiding in the Garden in fig leaves, it is impossible to believe anything other than, “If God finds me, I will be ruined. If my parents really find where I’m at right now, I will be ruined. If the people closest in my life see what I’ve just done, everything will come to an end.”

That’s all you can believe right then and there. That’s why you have to be retrained. It’s a process. It’s not something you can do on your own.

God ran after Adam and Eve when they were believing those lies in the aftermath of the first lie. He ran after them, and that’s what we need to do with young women and women today. We need to run after them with God’s truth.

Nancy: It’s also the Spirit of God that turns on the light in our lives. I grew up in a Christian home, in a Christian school, and Bible-preaching churches, for which I am incredibly and eternally grateful; but there is a huge difference between apprehending truth intellectually . . .

If your emotions, your hormones, your culture, your feelings, your whatever tell you differently, you don’t grab hold of what you know intellectually until the Spirit of God and the grace of God make it real to you.

That’s what we’re trying to do. What I have to do in my own life is to get to Jesus, because truth is not just a set of principles. It’s not a set of dogmas. It’s not a creed.

It is that, but it’s more than that—before that is Christ. As Christ becomes my life, then the truth becomes real to me, and I can, with my heart, lay hold of truth, countering my emotions.

I think so many of our young people are rejecting truth because all they’ve seen is the dogma, but they haven’t encountered Christ; and, sadly, perhaps they haven’t known many adults that they look at and say, “This person really knows Christ in a way that makes me want to trust Him.”

Bob: In the same way that Jesus is truth—He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life”—in the same way, the Scriptures talk about one who is a liar and who is the father of lies. We’ve got to be aware that there is a source.

These lies are not simply bad thinking, but there is a deceiver who is intent on derailing our lives, and he is using lies to do it.

Dannah: I remember as a young woman thinking, “It’s not just that I’m not beautiful. I don’t have value. I can’t contribute anything to the world because I don’t look like Cindy Crawford.”

Well, what I began to do in college is realize that God doesn’t want a measly five minutes a day for me to download a to-do list to Him. He wants me to be a friend with Him.

He wants me to open the Word and say, “God, how do You want me to live today? Who am I? What is my purpose in Psych class at Cedarville University? What am I doing here?”

As I began to spend ten and twenty and thirty minutes and then an hour with the Lord, I don’t know when it happened, but I started looking in the mirror.

Nancy: Which you had avoided.

Dannah: I hadn’t looked in the mirror since I was probably in sixth grade.

Bob: Now wait. What do you mean you hadn’t looked in the mirror?

Dannah: I hadn’t looked in the mirror.

Bob: Well, you have to look in the mirror to get your hair right!

Dannah: Not necessarily. There are tricks. My daughter still marvels that to this day I can put my mascara on without looking in the mirror, because I just learned.

Now, I’m sure I went to school a few days looking pretty scary; I can just imagine. But I so hated what God had created for those junior high and senior high years that I couldn’t look in the mirror.

Now, nobody said to me, “Dannah, you’re beautiful. Dannah, you’re perfectly and wonderfully made,” but as I began to daily encounter the truth in God’s Word, suddenly I was looking in the mirror.

And I wasn’t going, “Wow, what a babe!” But I wasn’t going, “Wow, what a worm! You’re just disgusting. You have no value.”

The truth was transforming every area of my mind, those that I was consciously bringing before God and those that I didn’t really even know needed to be addressed.

Bob: Had someone told you that you were ugly?

Dannah: No.

Bob: You hadn’t grown up hearing, “You’re not very good looking”? This is your self-perception?

Dannah: No. I grew up with a mom and dad who told me I was beautiful, a dad who thought I was the delight of his heart. It was the world just pressing in on me, as it does young women today, too.

There’s one Harvard survey that two-thirds of underweight twelve-year-old girls think they’re fat. These little girls are underweight. They’re not even in a healthy place, and they think they’re fat!

The world just presses in with those images. For me it was Cindy Crawford images. For girls today it might be the Lindsay Lohan images. These images press in against them, and they begin to believe untruthful things.

We’re not really talking about beauty, though. We’re talking about taking these young women into a place where they can’t even live in the fullness of what Christ’s called them to do and to be.

Bob: Yes, we’re talking about all kinds of lies. It may not be in the area of beauty. That’s just one example.

But whether it’s the culture that’s pressing in or your own thoughts that are shaping this or something you did hear from your parents, ultimately we have to peel back and say, “There is a director behind the scenes who is engineering the dispensing of these lies.”

When you believe a lie, you’re falling, just like Eve did in the Garden, for the sweet talk of the serpent.

Nancy: I think it’s important to realize that Satan has an agenda. He’s intentional.

Actually, I don’t really think we’re the object of his efforts. He hates God.

He’s a rebel. He knows he’s doomed, but he’s going to go down fighting God. He hates God. So what does he do? He’s goes after the apple of God’s eye: humans. He knows that if he can bring down those who are created in the image of God, those that God loves, then he has dealt a blow at God.

The fact is: God has not left us on our own to have to deal with him, to do combat with him. We are in a battle. We have to realize that. But ultimately God is the one contending with him.

It helps me a lot in my own battles to remind myself that this is not a losing battle—that Christ in me is victorious, and Christ in this world ultimately will be victorious over every lie, every form of deception. Satan cannot win, and he has no ground unless I give it to him in my life and fuel his deception.

Bob: I think you bring up something that we don’t often think about, which is, ultimately Satan wants to use us as pawns to strike out against God. So when we believe a lie, when we fall for his con, what we’re really doing is joining with him in an offense against God. We’re letting him get to God.

We’ve got to be careful here that we don’t represent that God and Satan are equal combatants fighting against one another. But to the extent that he wants to attack God and His goodness, when we believe a lie, we become allies with him.

Nancy: That’s exactly what Adam and Eve did. They fulfilled Satan’s purpose.

God is the supreme, sovereign ruler of all the universe. He had declared Himself to be that, and they said, in essence, “We’re taking our side against You with this serpent.”

And that’s what we do. It’s not that we’re consciously thinking, “Oh, Satan, I love you” or “I worship you.”

Most of the people I hang around with are not Satan worshipers knowingly. But when I choose, for example, the pathway of bitterness, I am siding with Satan against God, and I’m fueling his deception in my life.

What happens is ultimately, as we think in our hearts, so will we be; what we think about, what we dwell on, we start to believe. What we believe ultimately comes out in the way that we live.

When I act based on things that are not true, ultimately I’m putting myself into bondage. Then we end up with these addictions, these habits, these patterns, these structures in our lives and in our relationships, some of them going back to when we were very young.

Then we start to feel helpless and hopeless and trapped. I think that’s where a lot of Christian women live most of their Christian lives, just feeling trapped.

That’s where we want to go back and say, “Okay, where did this start? What was the genesis of this? What are the sinful patterns, the unbiblical or unholy behaviors? Where do they come from? What was I choosing to believe that wasn’t true, and how did I build a construct in my life that’s based on deception rather than truth?”

Dannah: Didn’t you say, Nancy, at one point in working on this book for teen girls, when you were getting letters from the adult women that had read Lies Women Believe, that their genesis often went back to their teen years?

Nancy: Absolutely, or younger. Sometimes it was things people had said to them or choices they had made; but now here they are thirty, forty, fifty, sixty years of age and older, saying, “I’ve built my whole life on this system, this way of thinking, that had its roots back when I was a younger woman.”

What they were saying was, “We wish we had known these things sooner.” The other thing they said was, “Now, how can we help our daughters and our granddaughters not buy into these lies?”

As I get older, I feel like I probably come off a little lecturing, because what I really want to say is, “Listen to an old lady like me! These are some of the things I wish I had understood when I was your age. These are some of the things the women I know wish someone had told them when they were your age.”

I know when we’re young, we think we know it, and we think we have reality, and it’s harder to listen. The heart of wisdom says, “What can I learn from someone who’s been down the road further than I have been?”

I want to say, “Look, you do not have to go down this pathway that you’ve seen adults go down. Your life can be different if you will make the hard choices now to reject the lies and embrace the truth.”

Dannah: I know my genesis was when I was about fifteen, because until that point, I loved the Lord so much that I was going to be a missionary. Yet I started to believe a lie—one of the ones we address in the book—that I had to have a boyfriend.

Then when that relationship started to get out of control, I started to believe, “I can control him. Nothing bad will happen, because I will be pure on my wedding day. I am a godly young woman, and I can control this.”

When I couldn’t control it, and I’d bit into that fruit like Eve did, I found myself in the aftermath, hiding with the fig leaves and saying, “I will never be able to serve God again.”

I remember distinctly waking up every morning as a teenager and as a college student thinking, “Wow, what a beautiful day! The birds are singing . . . wait a minute. Something’s not right. Oh, yeah. That. I bit the fruit. I’m ruined.”

I remember waking up like that, not for five months, not for a year, but for almost eleven years. I was twenty-six when God rescued me with the truth that His forgiveness was big enough for my sin. But all that while I was dwelling on my past, on my sin, and being shackled in bondage to a life sitting in the back row.

Do you know how many lives, Nancy, I missed ministering to? I believe there was probably a season where I needed to be restored, but I don’t think it was eleven years.

Nancy: And you took that into your marriage.

Dannah: I took it into my marriage.

Nancy: So it wasn’t just the original lie, but it’s lies built on lies built on lies.

Dannah: Oh, he just gets you! It’s like rubber bands twisted all around your heart, and you have to untangle those lies one by one by one to get back to a good place where God can use you again.

Bob: Dannah, let me ask you, if I were to come to you in those eleven years and just said, “Do you believe that God’s grace is free and rich and deep, that His forgiveness is real, that no matter how far you have fallen, God can restore you?” You knew the right answers in your head.

Dannah: Not in my heart, though.

Bob: There’s a difference between knowing it and believing it and acting on it, isn’t there?

Dannah: Yes, there really is. And you need somebody else to help you with that. It’s not something you can do in isolation.

I had asked God to forgive me every day of my life for eleven years. It never got to my heart. It did when I had the courage to tell somebody else, “Look how sinful I am! Am I still forgiven?”

When you hear the voice of God through another human voice, then you start to believe the truth. You cannot do it in isolation. It takes the body of Christ.

Bob: Nancy, I wonder how many people know what’s true, but really believing it and acting on it and living their life according to it—I remember hearing someone say one time, “We stand in church and we sing, ‘Great is Thy faithfulness . . . morning by morning new mercies I see,’ and then we walk out in the parking lot when the worship service is over, and we don’t act like we believe that.”

This is really the issue: to go from what I’ve been told and I know is true to really living my life in accordance with that.

Nancy: That’s right, Bob. I think there’s a huge disconnect between what we know theologically and intellectually, and the heart, as Dannah just said.

That’s why Jesus, in the Gospels, keeps going after the heart. He went up to the Pharisees, the people that knew what was right. They knew the truth, but it had never impacted their hearts.

He said, “The outside of the cup is clean, but the inside is a mess. You’re not trusting what you say you know is true” [see Matt. 23:25].

I’m going to be careful here. I’m no expert on teen culture at all, but it just seems to me that what a lot of teens are rejecting today when they’re rejecting Christianity is a caricature of it that they’ve seen in my generation, in their parents’ generation, that mouths “Great is Thy Faithfulness,” that sings those songs and says those words and gives mental assent to this, but . . . they live with us.

They know what we whine about. They know what we worry about. They know what stresses us out, and they’re seeing this fundamental disconnect. It’s hypocrisy.

But it’s also the fallen human condition, and that’s what Christ came to rescue us from. He didn’t just come to fill our notebooks and our heads with more knowledge so that we would have more orthodoxy.

He came to transform our lives and to make us really believers, not just saying that. Bob, you and your wife and I have talked about this many times over the years in my own spiritual pilgrimage, how many things I know to be true but live as if they weren’t true.

It’s not always going out and egregiously sinning. Sometimes it’s those sins of the spirit—what am I worrying about, if what I say about God is really true? Why am I discouraged, “downcast, O my soul?” (Ps. 42:5).

We have to say that to ourselves. If what I know about God is really true . . .

Bob: . . . then you can “put your hope in God.” You can trust in Him.

Nancy: . . . then I can put my hope in God.

Bob: In the book Lies Young Women Believe, what you’re hoping to do is take the lies that young women are believing and expose them—bring them out into the light and say, “These are lies that will disrupt and destroy you, and here is the truth. You need to not only understand the truth, but you need to believe it, and you need to live according to it, and that will transform your life.”

Leslie: Bob Lepine has been talking with Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Dannah Gresh about why young women can have such a hard time believing truth. The next generation needs us to invest in them, sharing our lives, admitting our failures, and explaining what we’ve learned.

Nancy and Dannah have done that in a book called Lies Young Women Believe. The daughter, granddaughter, and any other young woman in your life will be enlightened about the lies she’s bombarded with about her parents, friends, career, and relationship with God.

What are you doing to counteract the loud voices clamoring around her? This book will provide the truth. We’ll send you a copy of Lies Young Women Believe when you make a donation of any amount to Revive Our Hearts.

Visit ReviveOurHearts.com and make your contribution there, or call 800-569-5959. 

Well, as you have just heard, Dannah passionately invests into the lives of young women. She'll be doing that this September at True Woman '12: Seeking Him Together for Spiritual Awakening. Dannah is leading the Teen Track.

This conference would be perfect for you and your daughter, or another young woman in your life, to get away, hear the truth together, and talk about what you've learned.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss on Bob Lepine will serve as co-hosts, and you'll hear from Joni Eareckson Tada, Priscilla Shirer, Mary Kassian, and Janet Parshall.

True Woman '12 is coming to Indianapolis September 20-22. For all the details, visit ReviveOurHearts.com.

 

Do lies keep you from having full, joyful relationships? Find out how to find freedom tomorrow. Nancy, Bob, and Dannah will all be back on Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.

About the Speaker

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has touched the lives of millions of women through Revive Our Hearts and the True Woman movement, calling them to heart revival and biblical womanhood. Her love …

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