Freedom In Christ Ministries has really blessed my life. It has been one of the best things with which I’ve crossed paths. We have awesome reading lists, videos, discussions, and bookmarks that help instill God’s Truth and renounce Satan’s lies. One of my favorite bookmarks of the Freedom In Christ discipleship program is titled 20 CANS OF SUCCESS. This week we are reading it daily as we prepare for session 3 in our participant’s guide.
As you know, this blog site is branded Looking for God #HEISEVERYWHERE, so allow me to share with you how I found God…in lightening the load.
It’s so awesome how God has tied together the lessons we’re learning in Freedom In Christ Ministries. We’re learning that Satan, who is the ruler of this world (John 12:31), works through the world using 3 main schemes to throw us off from the truth. The 3 schemes are the same that the Apostle John listed in scripture in 1st John 2:15-17, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.
The world is like one big digital advertisement billboard for lust and pride! The world…”What do you mean ‘the world,'” you might ask. Here is what the FiCM participant’s guide has to say about it: “The world is the system or culture we grew up in and live in. That will vary greatly according to where you are from and where you were born.”
Unfortunately, in the world in which I and others grew up and live, we are fed what FiCM calls false formulas. May I be transparent for a moment? When I read the following false formulas, I wanted to cry my eyes out! In fact, if these were Biblical times, I’d probably tear my clothes, put on sackcloth and sprinkle ashes on my head (unless that was a guy thing).
Performance + accomplishments = significance
Status + recognition = security
Appearance + admiration = acceptance
We had complete significance, security, and acceptance before The Fall of Man because of the connection with God. After the Fall, we found ourselves born disconnected from God, longing for significance, security, and acceptance, and prey to a fallen world of false promises, false formulas, and false identities.
Let’s pause for a moment to just acknowledge the culture shock. If you’re anything like me, you are happy to learn the truth of God’s Word but completely brokenhearted to learn that everything you grew up believing about what success is and how to get it was a complete lie! Some of us have the aftermath to prove it!
There is so much that I want to pour out of my heart into yours so that you: 1-will understand how much God loves you; 2- understand how much we all need to know, understand, and believe who we are in Christ; and 3- be drawn to start and complete Freedom In Christ Ministries’ discipleship program. To better accomplish my goals here, let me paint a few pictures for you that expose the falsehood of the world’s formulas. At the end, I’ll attach a picture of our bookmark Who I am in Christ that will list scriptures that prove our acceptance, security, and significance in Christ.
Picture 1: The world says, “Performance plus accomplishments equal significance.” This is a false promise of the world. How? Let’s say you are the best at whatever you do and won the highest achievement in that area or all there was to win in that area, industry, field, or whatever. However, to certain systems and cultures, you’re still nothing more than [insert negative, discriminatory, prejudice, adjectives and nouns here]. Remember the earlier definition of “The world”? The same thing that told you what to do to be successful is the same thing that says in so many ways including unspoken words, “You don’t matter.” Then you learn through God’s Word (even by way of Freedom In Christ Ministries) that you are not significant by what you do or accomplish but by what Christ Jesus did and accomplished FOR YOU on the cross. There is nothing more or nothing less you can do to be any more loved by God than you are right now.
Picture 2: The world says, “Status plus recognition equal security.” This too is a false promise of the world. How? When a company decides to eliminate a position, it doesn’t matter that you achieved a title that comes with managing other people and a large sum of assets. Your status, title, and recognition can be yesterday’s news. I’ve seen it happen weeks after a person was promoted. When sickness goes around, it doesn’t care about status or recognition. Anyone can get sick or worse. If armed burglars break into your home, they don’t care about your status or recognition. If they do, they only do until it doesn’t benefit them anymore. You can achieve the most coveted status in the world and say one wrong thing about a community, group, organization, person, or whatever, and “you’re canceled.” Where is your security now? However, God says we are significant in ways the world cannot touch! We are His children and play a very significant role in His kingdom!
Picture 3: The world says, “Appearance plus admiration equal acceptance.” You’ve guessed it! It’s another lie! Pick up a random popular culture magazine on the grocery store aisle and you’ll see an ad for something that tells you in so many ways directly and indirectly, “You need clearer-looking skin,” “You need wrinkle-free skin,” “You need a more slender silhouette,” ” You need to cover your gray hairs,” “Your hair needs highlights,” “Your hair needs to be dyed,” “You need longer, thicker hair,” “You need clothes that command attention,” “You need this makeup to make him fall in love with you,” and “You need this vehicle to look manly and draw beautiful-looking women to you.” The list goes on and on. The world tells us these things creating feelings of insecurity, insignificance, and that nobody likes us. In our feelings and out of desperation to be accepted, we buy the clothes, wear the makeup, wear the mask, get the hairdo, get the hair cut, buy the vehicle, join the club, join the organization, get the treatment, have the surgery, and even copy the lifestyle only to realize either that we still aren’t accepted, or we were no longer accepted once the mask fell off. We were no longer accepted once the weight of the charade caused tears that made our makeup run. We were no longer accepted once we gained the weight back. We were no longer accepted once they found someone else with a newer, more expensive vehicle. We were no longer accepted when we had one more child than what the world said was popular. We were no longer accepted by the world once we found the Lord Jesus and wanted to live a holy lifestyle that wasn’t “trending.” God accepts us. In fact, He ADOPTED us as His children! (Ephesians 1:5 NLT) You know, some people weren’t even wanted by their parents, even deemed accidents or mistakes, but God, knowing all things including our flaws, shortcomings, weaknesses, struggles, addictions, fetishes, obsessions, regrets, burdens, hurts, pains, oppression, health history, sexual immorality, secrets, cover-ups, disguises, and losses CHOSE US. The beautiful thing about adoption is “When I wasn’t wanted, you chose me.” (This is NOT saying that those who are orphans or adopted are such because they weren’t wanted.)
The New Living Translation of Ephesians 1:5 says, “God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.” Wow! Not only did God adopt us because He wanted to but doing so also gave Him great pleasure!
What the world breaks in us, God can fix. Someone needed to read that. Read that part over and over again to yourself until you feel God show up in the room. “What the world broke in me, God can fix.”
So many pressures in this world…the pressure to perform…the pressure to accomplish…the pressure to obtain titles and statuses…the pressure to fit in…
How many times have we compromised in order to fit in? How many times have we dimmed our light so that someone who didn’t value or appreciate us could have a false sense of significance? Enough is enough! Who is overwhelmed? Who is tired of being tired? Who is burned out? Who is sick of all the world’s pressure?
This is the perfect time to tell you about my favorite on the 20 CANS OF SUCCESS bookmark. It’s my favorite because it ties the previous 19 together. Pay attention to how God ties this whole blog message together. #20 says, “Why should I let the pressures of life bother me when I can take courage knowing that Jesus has overcome the world and its problems? John 16:33”
This time when you read #20, insert your name so that it reads, “Why should I, [insert your name here], let the pressures of life bother me when I, [insert your name here], can take courage knowing that Jesus has overcome the world and its problems?”
Reflect on everything you’ve just read in this post. Then take in the following scripture, “Then Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.'” -Matthew 11:28-30 NLT My Friend, God is enough. The Lord Jesus is enough. God’s Holy Spirit is enough. YOU… are ENOUGH!
You weren’t created to carry these burdens. None of us were, so let’s make one of the most powerful exchanges we can make, trading our burdens and yoke for Jesus’s. I testify that you will find God…In Lightening the Load.
For those of you who felt God’s Holy Spirit tugging on your heart as your read this blog post, please give me the privilege to pray for you.
Dear Heavenly Father,
(Psalm 100:4) Thank You for all you have done for the person reading this prayer. Thank You for what You are doing for them right now, and thank You for what You will do for them in the future. Jeremiah 29:11 lets us know that You know the plans You have for us, plans not to harm us but give us hope and a future. Yes! We have a future in Christ Jesus! The story doesn’t end here. Our story doesn’t end here…here at the point of disappointment, here at the point of rejection, here at the point of false formulas, here at the point of fear, here at the point of temptation, here at the point of brokenness, but the Holy Bible tells us that the Lord is near to the brokenhearted (Psalm 34:18)! HALLELUJAH! The Holy Bible also tells us that where the spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty (2nd Corinthians 3:17)! The world says we are not good enough, that we are too this or too that, or not enough this or not enough that, but You have shown us time and time again through scripture how You choose the foolish things of this world to confound the wise and the weak things to confound the mighty (1st Corinthians 1:27). Who would have thought that brokenness could lead to liberty? Who would have thought that a shepherd could defeat a giant (1st Samuel 17)? Who would have thought that someone so afraid would lead an army of 300 against 120,000 and win (Judges 6. Emphasis verses15 & 34)? Thank You, Father, for freedom…freedom to worship knowing that they that trust in the Lord will never be put to shame (Psalm 25:3) and that they who call upon the Lord Jesus will be saved (Romans 10:13)! No Man can take our freedom to choose You! No Man can take our freedom to trust You in our hearts! This world’s system and culture will pass away, but the word of the Lord remains forever (1st Peter 1:25)! Holy Father, I praise You for the hearts that You have drawn to You through Christ Jesus! It is Your will that none should perish (2nd Peter 3:9)! You are for us, and nothing can separate us from Your love (Romans 8:31-34)! For the person reading this, Father, I ask that You will meet them at their individual point of need. Draw their heart to Yours. Open their spiritual ears to hear what You have to say to them. Let them immediately be obedient to You fearing not what Man can do to them. Open up their spiritual eyes to see what You have to show them. May peace be upon them as they transition from worldly views, perspectives, and lifestyles to spiritual views, perspectives, and lifestyles. Tear down every lie from Satan that they have believed, and replace the lies with Your Truth. Tear down the doctrine of devils, and raise a standard against the enemy of our souls. Your Word says that when the enemy comes in like a flood, You will raise a standard against him (Isaiah 59:19). I pray protection over everyone who has chosen the Lord Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. By the power and authority of Your Holy Spirit, I declare and decree that no weapon formed against them shall prosper (Isaiah 54:17). Embolden and encourage the hearts of Your children, oh God, that they will stand firm in the faith (1st Corinthians 16:13), renouncing every evil, filling their temple (1st Corinthians 6:19) with the fruits of Your Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). Let them not be afraid when it seems their world as they know it is falling apart, for it is in the world’s systems falling apart that we find our lives with You falling into place. Your Word in John 2:18-22 NLT has a different context, but I hear You saying in the spirit, God, that if people would tear down spiritually destructive ways of thinking, spiritually destructive lifestyles, spiritually destructive habits and behaviors, spiritually destructive belief systems, and choose to follow You, You will build them back up better than they ever were! Just like in verse 20, some may cry out about how long the way they are has been in the making, but I hear You saying in the spirit, “I will build you up again.” God, I praise You for the surrender of lives everywhere to the power of Your glory! Your name be praised forever! In Jesus’s mighty and saving name. Amen!
My Friend, if you prayed this prayer and believed that it is done for you in Jesus’s name, walk in that freedom. If you previously had not believed Christ Jesus as your Lord and Savior, let me invite you to do so. Romans chapter 10 verse 9 of the Holy Bible (New Living Translation) says, “If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
Thank you for taking the time to read this post. There are three embedded links in this reading. The first one will open a new tab to the website for Freedom In Christ Ministries where you can purchase books that will transform your life. They have most certainly transformed mine. If I may, let me suggest starting with Victory Over the Darkness: Realize the Power of Your Identity in Christ Revised and Updated Edition. It’s so important to know who you are in Christ Jesus first because what you believe about yourself determines your behavior. Then, read The Bondage Breaker: Overcoming Negative Thoughts, Irrational Feelings, and Habitual Sins. Powerful, powerful tools! The second hyperlink opens a new tab to Jonathan McReynold’s YouTube Channel where you will be ministered to through song on the topic of pressure. The last hyperlink will open a new tab to Elevation Worship’s YouTube Channel where you will be ministered to again through song about God being enough and being content.
Before you go, “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.” -Numbers 6:24-26
Elevation Worship: Jireh https://youtu.be/mC-zw0zCCtg
Freedom in Christ Ministries: https://www.ficm.org/
Freedom In Christ Ministries discipleship program bookmarks: 20 CANS OF SUCCESS, Who I am in Christ
Freedom In Christ Participant’s Guide: A 10-Week Life-Changing Discipleship Course. Neil T. Anderson & Steve Goss
Holy Bible: The New Living Translation. Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. Carol Stream, Illinois
Jonathan McReynolds: Pressure https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S–BDsNAvS0