Revive Our Hearts Podcast

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Nancy Leigh DeMoss: As we’re facing one of the most challenging times in the history of Revive Our Hearts, one simple act can make a huge difference.

Woman 1: It’s changed everything for me.

Nancy: One donation to Revive Our Hearts can help us reach one more listener for one more day.

Woman 2: This ministry has made me feel like I’m not alone in this walk and in my pain.

Nancy: Would you perform one simple act that could make a huge difference? As we come to the end of this year, we’re facing some unusually great needs. In fact, it’s no exaggeration to say that this is the most financially stretching time that Revive Our Hearts has experienced in our ten-year history.

Several friends of this ministry who are aware of our current challenges want to help us in a significant way. So between now and December 31, they have offered to match each donation, dollar for dollar, up to a matching challenge amount of $300,000.

You can make a donation online at ReviveOurHearts.com, or you can give us a call at 1-800-569-5959.

I want to assure you that your gift at this time will make a huge impact in many, many lives.

Woman 3: I can help support the ministry and be an outreach to people that I may never know on this side of heaven.

Leslie Basham: How can you battle an idol in your life? Here’s what Bob Lepine says:

Bob Lepine: It’s not just saying, “I will forsake the idol.” You have to replace the idol with something else, and that something else needs to be God. You can replace one idol with another idol.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Wednesday, December 8.

Nancy: Food, beauty, and control . . . do you have an unhealthy desire for any of those three things? Yesterday Bob Lepine showed us how food and beauty can easily become idols.

We heard a message he delivered at the True Woman conference in Fort Worth in October. If you missed it, you can listen to the entire message or order a CD or DVD copy at ReviveOurHearts.com.

Today we’ll hear Bob’s third caution. The story of Eve in the Garden of Eden not only shows how easily we’re tempted by food and physical appearance, but we’re also tempted by the desire to control.

Bob: Eve saw that the fruit was good, physically appealing, good to eat. It was aesthetically appealing, a delight to the eyes; and now we come to what Ken Hughes says was the great enticement—the fruit was able to make one wise.

Now wait a sec? What’s wrong with that? Doesn’t the Bible say we’re supposed to be wise? Isn’t being wise commendable? Well, let me ask you. What does the Bible say? Where is the beginning of wisdom? The fear of the Lord. So what Satan is saying is, “That fruit will make you wise without having to fear the Lord anymore. That fruit will make you wise, and you’ll never have to depend on God anymore.”

The great enticement for the woman was: “I can be free from God’s domination over my life; I can be in control of my own life. That’s what I want.”

Men desire affirmation and respect. We like to be affirmed and respected. So what men often will do is they’ll pursue money or sex or power because those are the idols they look at and say, “If I get these things, I’ll be affirmed or respected or admired.”

Women, instead of desiring affirmation and respect, women often desire safety and security. So for a woman, what she will do is think, “If I can just be in control of the things in my life, then I can be safe. If I can just exercise control over things around me, then I’ll be safe.” Is that true? No! You being in control of things around your life is not going to bring you safety.

Ultimately, when Eve took the fruit, she was believing this lie. She was believing, “I will be better off if I know what God knows about good and evil, and then I can decide for myself what’s the right thing, and I won’t have to trust or rely on God anymore. I can be in control of my life.”

When God created the world, He said, “It’s good.” Here we’ve got Eve looking at the fruit, and she’s saying, “It’s good. It’s good. It’s good.” She’s already replacing God’s role in terms of what’s good in her life.

I believe that longing for safety and security is what’s in the heart of every woman. In fact, Mary Ann and I have joked about this. We’ve talked about the fact that, “Does she really want me to be the leader in our relationship?” If I asked you ladies who are married, “Do you want your husband to be the leader in your relationship?” you would all go, “Yes, I do.” And then, just like Mary Ann, you would say, “As long as he does exactly what I want him to do.” (Laughter) Right? You want him to lead until he says, “Okay, we’re going here,” and you go, “No, no, no, no, no, no, no, that . . .”

Here’s the great illustration that we had of this in our relationship: When our daughter Amy was 15 years old, she was part of a youth group at church. She came home one day, and she said, “The youth group is going on a missions trip to Honduras, and I would like to go.”

I’ll never forget this. Amy was looking at me, asking me. She was saying, “I would like to go.” Mary Ann was behind her, where Amy couldn’t see her, and she was [shaking her head no]. (Laughter) And I said what a wise husband ought to say at that moment. To my daughter I said, “Your mother and I will talk about this, and we’ll let you know what the decision is.”

And Amy said, “Great.”

So later on I said to Mary Ann, “So, you don’t think Amy should go on the trip?”

“No. I don’t think she should—she’s 15 years old. Honduras is across a big pond, and we don’t know what the medical conditions are like there. What if something happened to her? She can go next year or the year after. She’s too young.” And she had all of these reasons why it was not good for Amy at 15 to go to Honduras.

I said, “Well, I think it would be good experience for her. She’d be with the youth group. She’d be exposed to a different culture; she’d have all of this. But, here’s what we’ll do. Let’s take some time. Let’s think about it. Let’s pray about it. We’ll get back in a couple of days. I’ll see if you feel any differently, see if I feel any differently, and then we’ll come back together on it.”

So we came back together on it. In fact, I remember Amy coming home one day, and she said, “The kids in my youth group are praying that you guys will let me go.”

I said, “You tell them to stop that. We’ll decide. We don’t need teenagers praying in that direction.” (Laughter)

So we got back together, and I said, “Do you feel any differently?”

Mary Ann said, “No, I don’t.”

And I said, “Well, I don’t either. So who decides?” Then I said this, I said, “Let’s say we decide that she goes, and let’s say something happens. Are you going to punish me?”

She said, “It would be hard not to, wouldn’t it?” I appreciated her honesty in that moment. Right? She was just saying what was on her heart.

Now, look, were her fears unreasonable? I don’t think so. But I think a lot of the issue here was: “The only way my daughter can be safe is if she’s in my control.” You know what’s true? She could be at home in Little Rock, and we can’t control what’s going to happen, can we?

I have to tell you the rest of the story. Amy went to Honduras, and I prayed for her every day. I was on my knees every day, “Lord Jesus, please . . .” (Laughter) She came back, and God had planted a seed in her heart that came to bear fruit. After she graduated from college, she came to us and said, “I’ve just taken a class called Perspectives on the World Mission Movement. I really think God’s calling me to do work overseas.” And she went overseas to teach English as a second language in Vietnam as a 22 year old.

Honduras at 15 is one thing. Vietnam at 22 . . . I remember the day she called me, and she said, “Dad, my teacher teammate and I, we’ve been assigned to this one city in Vietnam with 250,000 people. As far as we know, we’ll be the only two Christians in that city.”

I said, “Let somebody else’s little girl go do that.” You know? 

But I remember talking with Mary Ann at that point, and I remember Mary Ann saying to me, “She is as safe in Vietnam as she is in Little Rock if she’s in the will of God.” (Laughter) It’s true. So it’s a part of that learning to let go of the issue of control and recognize that what Eve wanted was, “I can only be safe and secure if I’m in control.”

That’s an illusion, ladies. The only way you can be safe and secure is if you are in the will of God for your life. That doesn’t mean you won’t go through trials. It doesn’t mean you won’t go through hard times. What it means is that though you walk through the valley of the shadow, He is with you. To be outside of the will of God is the most dangerous place you can be. To be in the valley walking with Him is safety. This issue of control is an illusion for a lot of women.

Here’s the question: Will your life run more smoothly if you’re controlling of your circumstances or your environment or if you’re trusting God to take care of you?

Some of you can give testimony to the fact that it will not run more smoothly if you’re trying to control it because you’ve tried it and you’ve seen that even when you try, you can’t get there.

Leslie: Bob Lepine isn’t finished. He’s been exploring a temptation a lot of women face, the urge to take control out of God’s hands. That message was recorded at the True Woman conference in Fort Worth. Bob was addressing a breakout session called Food, Beauty and Control: Three Snares Women Face. If you’d like to hear the complete message from Bob, just visit ReviveOurHearts.com.

Maybe you’ve been convicted that food, beauty, or control has become an idol in your life. How should you respond? Again, here’s Bob.

Bob: When we make something into an idol, here’s what we do: We inflate its function. Something becomes an idol when you give it more function than it was designed to have. It starts to function as a god in your life. It’s something that you start to worship and obey, and you will not violate the commands of your idol. It’s functioning like a god. It drives us with warnings and promises. We have to have it. It leads us to shame. Our life feels wrong if we don’t attain our idol.

So how can you tell if something has become an idol in your life? There’s a difference between a desire and an idol. How can you tell if you’ve moved from a desire to an idol?

Well, David Powlison has asked a number of questions that I find good and helpful. They’re penetrating questions on this subject. So let me ask you a few of these questions.

  • What do you organize your life around? Do you organize your life around eating and appearance? If so, they may have become idols.
  • What do you want or crave or wish for? What do you obsess over? What preoccupies your thinking? What do you find your mind instinctively drifting toward? What fills your conversation? Is it food? Appearance? The things of God?
  • What are you willing to sacrifice an inordinate amount of time or money to obtain? That may be an idol in your life.
  • What do you fear losing? What is it, that if you lost it, you would lose your desire to live because all of the meaning would be sucked out of your life, all desire to move forward would be lost? That’s an idol.
  • What do you rejoice over? What present or hoped-for things bring you great pleasure or delight? That could be an idol.
  • What makes you angry or frustrated? Is it food related? Is it your appearance?
  • What can cause anxiety or great stress? Food? Appearance?
  • How do you define success or failure? How do you weigh your significance or insignificance?
  • How do you define yourself?

These are helpful questions to help you think about: Has something taken on the proportion of an idol in your life?

Ask these questions when you see there’s an idol, a potential idol, you ask the questions, and these idols will appear.

If you worship your appearance or your food code, that’s what will control your life. If you worship God, He will motivate you and control your life. Whether you worship God or idols, that’s what you’ll serve, and that’s what will rule you.

At the root of all of our sin is idolatry. Someone has said, “Idols are cruel masters holding out false promises and making unreasonable demands of your life. They require that you sacrifice for them, and yet they make no sacrifices for you.”

How do you deal with idols in your life? You deal with them this way:

  • First of all, you identify them.
  • Secondly, you confess that they’re idols.
  • Third, you turn from them. You repent. That’s what repent means—to turn from.
  • And then, here’s the key thing: You have to replace the idol with God.

You see, it’s not enough to say, “I recognize that food has become an idol in my life.” Okay, that’s good, but you’re not there. The next thing is you have to say, “Not only do I recognize that it’s an idol, but I agree with God that it’s taken on unhealthy proportions in my life.” Okay, that’s fine. Then the next thing is, “I now turn from this thing.”

You see, that’s a step a lot of us don’t get to. We feel sad about what we’ve recognized, but we don’t turn. The turning—here’s where it’s key. It’s not just saying, “I will forsake the idol.” You have to replace the idol with something else, and that something else needs to be God. You can replace one idol with another idol. Somebody can say, “I’m going to turn from my idolatry to food and start watching television.” That’s just replacing one idol with another idol.

But when you say, “I’m going to turn from this idol and replace it with God,” what does that mean? That means you’re going to replace it with the Word of God; it means you’re going to replace it with prayer; it means you’re going to replace it with fellowship; it means you’re going to replace it with service to others.

The next time you’re tempted to make food into an idol, instead of a pint of Haagen Dazs, you’re instead going to spend a season of prayer. Instead of binge eating, you’re instead going to read your Bible or serve others. It’s not enough just to identify and confess; you’ve got to repent and replace the idol.

Now, I said at the beginning of this message that I wanted us to take a hard look at these three issues because I’ve observed that they’re traps for women in our culture today. Some of you may disagree with some of the observations that I’ve made or think my conclusions are off base. Look, I may be wrong. I’m open to correction and input here, but what I hope is that as we’ve raised these issues today, it’s caused you to stop and think about whether you’re thinking culturally, carnally, or biblically when it comes to food, beauty, and control.

Is your thinking about food, cultural, carnal, or biblical?

Cultural would say: “What the culture says is important or not important is more important than what the Bible says.”

Carnal would say: “What I want is more important than what the Bible says.”

You see, there are three places where we get tripped up. We face the onslaught of the world, the flesh, and the devil. The world gives us cultural lies. The flesh gives us those carnal impulses, and the devil takes both of those and just pumps them up. That’s why we have to renew our minds with biblical thinking.

What does the Bible say about food? What does the Bible say about beauty? What does the Bible say about control? We have to retrain our thinking to think more biblically. The Bible says that God will supply what you need from a food standpoint. The Bible says He has given us all things freely to enjoy; we’re to be good stewards of our bodies. The Bible says that our outward appearance is fading, but inner beauty is what matters. The Bible says that ultimately God is the one who is in control, and we need to live surrendered lives.

That’s biblical thinking, but you’ve got your own flesh and the culture that are screaming at you to think differently about that.

What influences your thinking when it comes to food, beauty or control? Is it television? Magazines? Movies? Media? Is it the approval of your peer group? Is it your own sinful desires? Or is it the Word of the living God?

Have any of these issues become idols for you? Have any of them become too big of a priority? If that’s the case, what I’m hoping is that this message, this time we’ve spent together would help you pull back and say, “I need to think more biblically about these areas of my life.”

Look, I know we’ve just touched on this. Some of these are deep rooted. The talons of some of these sinful patterns get locked into a woman’s life, and so emotional eating becomes an issue, and you go, “I know I should think biblically. I’ve tried that, and I can’t break the chain.”

Well, let me tell you that your sanctification was never intended to be an independent project. If there are issues with food or beauty or control, if there are issues with those in your life, instead of trying to get free of the talons of those issues on your own, get some girlfriends. Get together with them and say, “Look, I need help in this area.”

Make it a community project. Humble yourself, and just say, “I need help. I binge eat,” or “I struggle with bulimia,” or “I think I’m too preoccupied with my food or my diet or my appearance or . . . I need help in these areas.” And then, as sisters, come around and pray for one another, support one another, encourage one another, hold one another accountable.

It was never intended to be an independent project. Your sanctification is a group project, and you’ve got to be able to do it with sisters who love you and who will help you, and you can fight the battle together.

Nancy: We’ve been hearing the closing challenge from a message Bob Lepine gave at the True Woman conference in Fort Worth a couple of months ago. Bob will be right back to pray.

But first let me just say it’s been a rich three days hearing from Bob. We’ve been challenged to be content with what God has provided; we’ve explored three snares that women face—food, beauty, and control—and we’ve been challenged to deal with any idols that may be in our lives.

To help us examine our hearts and identify any idols that may be there, Bob shared a helpful list of questions from Dr. David Powlison to examine our hearts and identify any idols that may be there.

I want to encourage you to go to our website, ReviveOurHearts.com and pull up today’s transcript where you’ll find those questions written out. Let me suggest you print out that list and take some time to prayerfully, carefully walk through those questions, and let God do a fresh work of repentance in your heart and crowning Him as the only Lord and God of your life.

You can order a copy of Bob’s entire message at ReviveOurHearts.com, or give us a call at 1-800-569-5959.

Now, I want to say a special word of thanks to everyone who has called that phone number this month to make a donation toward our year-end goal.

As we’ve been sharing with you, some friends of this ministry have pledged $300,000 to a special fund. When you donate any amount between now and the end of the year, they’ll match your donation, dollar for dollar, up to that matching match.

Fulfilling that challenge is a really important part in meeting our budgetary needs during December. That financial need is critical at this time, and our overall goal is significantly higher than that challenge amount. So if you haven’t donated already, please give us a call with your gift.

The number once again is 1-800-569-5959, or, as always, you can give online at ReviveOurHearts.com.

We sing about it at this time of the year, but do you know what the word Emmanuel means? We’ll explore that tomorrow on Revive Our Hearts. Now, let’s join our hearts together in prayer as Bob Lepine wraps up today’s message.

Bob: Let me pray for us.

Father, I do pray for these ladies. I can’t begin to know some of the deep rooted issues related to food or beauty or control that may be going on in these women’s lives, but I’m grateful, Lord, that You know the issues better than I do, and, more than that, Your Holy Spirit gives us the power to deal with sin in our lives.

So I pray that through Your Spirit and through Your Word and through the accountability with other women, You would see women freed from bondage in this area.

Lord, I ask You to help these women not only to identify and confess, but help them turn from and replace the sinful patterns in their lives and instead to walk in liberation, living for what is eternal and not for what is temporal.

I ask it in Jesus’ name, amen.

Revive Our Hearts is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

 

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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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