For many years I struggled immensely with depression and self-esteem issues. It was a darkness that I couldn’t shake and something I couldn’t seem to rise above. No matter how hard I tried, it seemed that I plunged even deeper into the hole I found myself in. I hated myself for hating myself. I hated who I was becoming and the person I believed people saw when they looked at me. Most people would say, “Hate is a strong word.” Yes, it is, but it fully describes how I felt.
It wasn’t until the past couple years that God started to bring me to a place where I could begin to see His truth. One at a time, I discarded a lie here and there that I had believed for so long. Each lie debunked was a victory. Each truth believed was a step toward peace. Although the road has not been easy, it has been a wonderful time of growth and sunshine.
I have come to find that God leads us through seasons, and many of those seasons are meant to prepare us for His will. This journey out of depression for me was one of those preparation seasons, but now He is leading me into an entirely different season of service and faith. In many ways for these past couple years, God has shielded me from the majority of the attacks from the Enemy as He healed some very wounded areas of my heart. I believe a time has come in my journey now where He has lifted His shield of protection and said to me, “You are ready. Go!”
Every day there is a new lesson to learn and a new struggle to overcome. I have found that I often have flashbacks to the person that I used to be. These are no accident; they are intentional bullets from the Enemy of my soul, intent on destroying what God has made whole. Satan knows that a child of God who has learned to see himself/herself as God sees him/her is a very dangerous thing to his plans. He will do anything to take away truth and replace it with a subtle lie, and often the lie is easier to believe than the truth.
In my life personally, Satan wins battles easiest when he brings an onslaught of fear and inadequacy. He reminds me often of the times that I have failed in the past. He whispers in my ear, “Who are you to think that you can do that? Look at all these character flaws that you have. See how irresponsible you have been.” Often he defeats me with the game of comparison, “These people you are serving with are much more equipped than you. They are much more charismatic than you. They are effective in their ministry, and what do you have to show for it? You obviously aren’t meant to be doing this.”
These voices for many years did not have a source. I believed they were true because I could see the evidence in my life. It wasn’t just an accusation to me that I was a failure; I really had failed! I was irresponsible. I was serving with people who had more charisma than me. Who was I to even be there? Who was I to dream or believe that I could be anything? How could I possibly be an asset to the Kingdom when I had so many problems myself?
The absolute most life-changing thing that has happened to me is break-through of the light of God in my life. Psalm 18:28 says, “You, O Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.” God’s light shined on the lies and showed them for what they were: lies. I learned truth that revolutionized the way I saw the world and myself. God loves me! God believes in me! God has saved me! God is creating a new thing in me! In Him, I can do all things!
We say these things in church all the time, and we sing songs as little children of this truth. However, somehow when we get older, the belief that we are not enough crowds out the truth that in Christ we are made whole. It is easier to believe that I can never do anything than to step out in faith and believe that I am chosen and called. When I believe that I can never do anything, I never have to do anything. All I do is live in a pity party of “Woe is me”. Yeah, that doesn’t make us very pleasant people to be around, but it is comfortable and it feels safe. I lived there for YEARS. However, the grace of God and the truth of God call us to something greater, something more challenging; something that is ultimately fulfilling.
Satan loves the darkness and hates the light. In fact, he runs from the light. In dealing with spiritual warfare throughout my life, I have learned that whenever the accuser comes, I must run toward the light. I run to God’s Word. I claim His truth. Light is stronger than darkness. When there is a battle, light always wins. The darkness is a dreadful place, but it is no match for the light of God. From Him the darkness flees.
As a Christian, we must always be seeking the light. When we are seeking to be filled with the light of God, there can be no darkness in us. We debate theologically over so many things and use big words to prove our point, but truth is simple. When we make the light that is in Christ our only treasure, sin has no place. Darkness cannot stand the light. John 3:19-21 says, “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”
When we are truly serving God and seeking His will for our lives and for the world, we can be sure that we have the attention of the Enemy. As Christians, we should not be surprised when we face difficulties along the path where God is leading. Satan knows our weak spots and he knows our history. We can have no doubt that he will be doing everything in his power to disrupt the work that God desires to do in us and through us. We must always be aware of his schemes and armed with the truth of God. God’s truth is light and that light is the only thing that is stronger than darkness.
Know the Word of God. Spend daily intentional time soaking in God’s truth. There is no point on the Christian journey at age 8 or age 80 when we have already gained all that we need from Scripture. In fact, with every new step on this journey with God it becomes increasingly imperative that we are filled with His Spirit and covered in His truth. You will find many points in the battle with darkness when you discover that you are not enough, and you will be right. You alone are incapable of defeating the darkness no matter how mature you may have become or how much faith that you believe you have. It is the light of Christ in you that has won the victory. Do everything you can to pursue and be filled with the light of God. Know the Word of God and His truth.
Pour yourself into building your relationship with God. Make prayer the key of the morning and the lock of the evening. Make it your constant throughout the day. When you live your life in the presence of Christ, His truth becomes the dominant voice of your life. Satan’s whispers that say, “You’re a failure, you’re inadequate, you’re out of place” are drowned out by God’s explanations, “I love you! You are chosen! In me, you are enough!” In Christ, it is not the past that defines us nor is it our fear that determines our future. Through Him we discover that His desire for us and His power to transform us are everything we need to do all that He has dreamed for us since the beginning of time. What love is this that He would believe in who we are before we came to be! What passion He has for His children that He would continue to pursue us with His grace though we deny Him a thousand times! The amazing love of God shows us that there is no place that is too far or beyond the reach of His arms and there is no pit so deep that He cannot scoop us out and make us new. Stop making excuses that you have fallen so far there could be no hope. Embrace His truth that in Him you are enough. Welcome the light into your life and watch the darkness turn and run!
For those of us who struggle at times with feelings of inadequacy, here are some truths to claim:
“Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation—if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel.” –Colossians 1:21-23a
“And we pray this in order that you may life a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.” -Colossians 1:10-12
“But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.” –Ephesians 1:13
“But when God, who set me apart from birth and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal His Son in me…” –Galatians 1:15-16a
“I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last.” -John 15:15-16
“But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth.” -2 Thessalonians 2:13
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” -1 Peter 2:9-10
Read this one as many times as you need to:
“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in our transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms with Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” -Ephesians 2:1-10
There is not a person on this planet who is not desired, pursued, and chosen by God for a purpose that He set forth before time began. Every one of us is called by His amazing love and equipped through His amazing grace to know Him and serve Him. Many of us know this in our heads, but when the Enemy comes, he attacks the core of our understanding of who we are in Christ. Satan knows that if he can convince us that we are not enough to serve God, He has us defeated. It is this false humility and simple lie that creeps so silently into our hearts and holds us back from becoming in Christ everything that He created us to be.
There are moments, like last night, when I was tempted to be defeated. I took my eyes off Jesus and started looking at the waves. I saw all the difficulties around me and all the ways that I believed I was inadequate. Once again I accepted the lie that I was useless. I believed that I was not enough. However, through God’s truth, I recognized Satan’s attack for what it was. I ran back to the light, and the darkness turned and ran away.
There is encouragement in taking time to look back and see how far we have come. When we remember who we once were, we can see clearly that who we have become could only have come about through the amazing grace of God. Left to our own strength, we are powerless to change ourselves or our situation. Alone, we can only sink deeper and deeper into darkness. It is the light of Christ and His truth that shines into those dark places and frees us from all that once held us in bondage. It is this light and this truth that I cling to in every situation. It is God’s love that has called me forth. He has given me everything I need to serve Him. He is at work preparing me and growing me into maturity in Him, so that when I stand before Him, I will lack nothing. When the accuser comes, I turn around and look him in the face. I stand tall because by the power of Christ I am more than enough.