Give Yourself NOW the Spiritual Parenting Advice You WISH YOU RECEIVED Growing Up.
You are not alone! So many of us are unintentionally sabotaging our own success. We seem to be caught on a hamster wheel of disappointment, confusion, anxiety, or all of the above, and don't quite know how to jump off. We want to move ahead and we want to experience victory, and yet it seems something is missing.
Believe me, I get it!
Not all of us grew up with parents who trained us in spiritual truth and identity. Not all of us had parents who believed in us and spoke life over us or called forth our best. Perhaps you are longing for something now that you wish you had then. A spiritual parent or mentor that could impart truth to you and speak life over you. A "tribe" of like minded people where you can come just as you are and unashamedly be YOU.
You can stop searching! You have come to the right place!
FOR NOW, ENJOY THESE 5 GAME-CHANGING TRUTHS that I share below. They may seem simple but they are easily skipped, foundational truths that you must take hold of in order to advance and break through into God's best for you. As a special bonus, be sure to take advantage of the invite into my free mentoring group that you'll find at the end.
TODAY IS YOUR FRESH START! NO MORE SELF SABOTAGE, CONFUSION OR FEAR! It is time for the full YOU to COME FORTH!
TRUTH #1 is that YOU ARE CREATED IN THE IMAGE OF GOD!
Ever since we were little, well intentioned people came up and asked us, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” This happened year after year and sometimes we had an answer and sometimes we had no clue. Almost always our answer to that question was some sort of occupation. You know, like we want to be a teacher or a nurse or a Mom or a Dad, or a business owner. The problem is, people asked us a broken question…they asked us WHAT we want to BE. But, you see, the “what” and the “be” do not go together.
A better question might have been, “WHAT do you want to DO when you grow up?” An even better question would have been “WHO do you want to BE when you grow up?”
When we answer the typical question it messes us up because what we DO is not who we are to BE. As we continue through life, most of us take hold of what we want to do. We find a job or a hobby and we work at it and improve in our knowledge and skill. What many fail to realize, however, is that our identity is in WHO we are not what we DO.
So the first thing you have to get straight is that who you are- your identity – is separate from what you do. Sure, it will influence and effect what you do, but it is a separate thing.
Now if I were to ask you “WHO are you?” what would you say? Seriously, stop reading for a bit and just ask yourself that question. Who am I?
Was it difficult to answer? Did you default to what you do instead of answering who you are? Maybe for some of you it was surprisingly easy. If so, realize that you are probably in the minority.
Next, let me ask you this. Do you like your answer? Do you like who you are? Or do you dislike your answer and dislike who you are?
I’m asking you all these questions because it is what a good mentor does. We have to find out where you are starting from- where you are today. We have to know not only what is going on in your life, but, even moreso, what is going on in your mind!
Whether you answered that question with resounding certainty and confidence or with a clueless shrug, the good news is I am here to tell you what God says about you. I want you to hear who God says you are. And by the end of this short e-book, if not sooner, I want you to really believe it, too!
When we look to God for our identity, we find an answer that will stand the test of time. The Bible reveals God’s heart to us and it is loaded with truth about how God sees us. Perhaps you’ve never fully thought to look to God’s word for your identity. Maybe you’ve just taken your identity, like most of the world does, from your family history or your job or your friends or your talents. The problem with that is that all of those things can change. What I love most about God- and have always loved most about Him- is that He is the same yesterday, today and forever. His truth does not change based on what year it is, what is trending or what is happening in the world. When we listen to His word and His heart for us and we discover our identity in Him, it is like being a tree whose roots go down extremely deep. When the rains and storms of life come, you will not be uprooted or taken down. You will be able to survive and continue on!
In the first chapter of the Bible, we see that God made man in his image. It says in Genesis 1:27, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”
In the beginning, we were created in God’s image. In other words, the image of God was being displayed on earth by the presence of both male and female. God’s image was not complete as displayed through the male sex alone. The female sex was also created and it was with both male and female side by side that God’s image was revealed.
What a beautiful truth! You can know with certainty that you are actively reflecting your Heavenly Father. This doesn’t just mean the color of your hair or eye color or any of that superficial stuff. It means that all the good and positive and beautiful traits of God are contained within you. Maybe you don’t really believe that, but it’s true. Maybe you think it would be prideful or conceited to believe that, but that is not true. God wants us to understand that we were made in His image and that He delights in us. Also, when we understand that from the very beginning of time both male and female were created in the image of God, we don’t have to go through our lives wondering what the point of our life is. While there will be more added to this, we can already figure out from this truth that one of our main calls in just living our life is to reflect the image of God here on earth.
As we know, it wasn't long before man and woman rejected God and chose to follow their own way. Sin entered the world and all things (people, nature, etc) began to show the consequences of sin. For those of us living today, we were spared from having to live during a time when people were still awaiting a Messiah, a Savior, who would make things right again between God and mankind. While people back then looked forward to a day where sin would be atoned for once and for all, we who live on this side of the Cross, can readily receive Jesus and all the promises that a life lived in Him provides.
It tells us in Romans 5:8, that Jesus came to redeem us while we were still sinners. This is a crucial point to understand. You see, God did not wait for us to be perfect. He did not wait for us to earn His love and fall all over Him in adoration and praise and acknowledgement of who He is. No, it was while we were still sinners that Jesus decided to exchange his perfect life for the debt of our sinful lives. Sin is something that separates us from God. The reason it separates us is because sin is not holy. Sin is like the opposite of holy. It’s like poison in pure water. Any tiny little bit of sin completely defiles the whole. And the world was full of sin, still is. But God is not. Jesus is not. Even though Jesus (who is God) lived here on earth as a man, he was without sin.
In a divine exchange that only God could orchestrate and pull off, Jesus laid down His perfect, sinless, holy life on the cross and allowed the weight and debt of everyone else’s sin- yours, mine, everyone past and everyone to come- to be placed upon him. He would die and pay the debt of our sin, so that we could be restored to God and live as it was in the beginning, in perfect unity, harmony and love.
Truth #2 is that YOU ARE HOLY AND YOU ARE IN RIGHT STANDING WITH GOD.
Let’s camp here a little while longer. I can hear some of you saying. “I get the part about being restored to right standing with God, but how am I holy? I sure don’t feel holy sometimes.” Great question!
Here is the answer: when Jesus died on the cross and took our sin upon Himself, all of that sin that was in us and all the sin that we would even continue to be involved in was removed. I know that kind of seems outrageous…and it is…but it is true! That’s why we continually return to the cross because it was Jesus’ work on the cross that removed the stain of sin from our lives, our very being, and washed us “white as snow”. Holiness is the absence of sin. Now that our sin has been removed and the debt of our sin has been paid (once and for all) we are indeed holy.
As we continue to journey along in this beautiful story that I am unfolding for you we will indeed come back to this topic and add some deeper layers. The important thing for you to take hold of now is that in Christ, you have been made holy and you are in right standing with God. When the accusations come- and they will- that say “You are no good”, “God is mad at you”, “You’ll never be good enough”, you can stand firm in this truth and confidently declare, “I am in right standing with God! He has made me holy through Christ Jesus! He is not mad at me! He loves me!”
Truth #3 is that YOU ARE VALUABLE/YOU HAVE VALUE
Value is defined in many ways, but a dictionary definition gives this explanation: Worth in usefulness or importance to the possessor.
So if I possess a car, let’s say, and I find it to be useful or important to me then I can say it has value. If I have children and I believe they are important to me I would definitely say that they are a valuable part of my life. And when things are valuable to us we do not like it when they are harmed or bothered. We protect things that are valuable to us. We prioritize things that are valuable to us. We invest time in things that are valuable to us. And God does too.
We are God’s children, created in His image, and we are valuable to Him. How do I know this? Scripture tells me this in many different ways but here are just a few examples that I really like.
Isaiah 43:1 “I have summoned you by name, you are mine”.
This verse reminds us that we indeed belong to God. This is a great thing, a wonderful thing! We are not unloved or unwanted or orphaned…He calls us by name and claims us as His own.”
Matt 10:31 Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.
But perhaps the best example of how we can know that our life has value is found in the simple yet powerful and awe inspiring John 3:16. For God so loved the world, that He gave his one and only son. That whoever might believe in him shall not perish but have eternal life.””
Sometimes we hear this verse so much that we forget the deep truth and love that it contains. And sometimes we hear or see this verse, but don’t really even understand what it means. So let’s just review it a bit here.
The whole thing starts out with love. God so loved the world. He didn’t just love the world, He sooooooo loved the world. And when we say He loved the world, it doesn’t just mean He loved the spherical planet He set in orbit…it means He loved (and still does!) all the people here on earth. HE loves you. He loves me. He loves all of us so deeply. Because of this great love, He was willing to give us his only son Jesus. Now, when it says he “gave” his one and only son, it basically means he allowed him to take on the penalty of death for the sins we committed. Jesus was sinless. He never sinned. He was and is and always will be the only sinless person to walk on this earth.
Picture this scenario if you can. Warning: it will not be pleasant. Picture yourself trapped and alone. You are thrown into prison and are awaiting your sentencing. You go before the judge and he finds you guilty and sentences you to death right then and there. The thing is, as afraid as you are, you know you deserve it. You know that you have committed all the crimes that they’ve accused you of and you know that their verdict of guilty is accurate. Still, you don’t want to die. You wish there was some way out, you beg and plead with the judge but the verdict is irrevocable. Your penalty for the crimes is death. It is the only answer. It is the only just solution. You are walked into the room where they will carry out the punishment. It will be a revolver to your head and with one pull of the trigger your life will be over. The executioner enters the room, lines up the gun and is ready to pull the trigger when all of the sudden a great commotion is heard and someone rushes into the room yelling STOP!!! It is Jesus! He motions to the executioner to drop the gun and before you really even know what happens, you are let go. Not just freed from death but freed from the entire prison. In shock and amazement you go ahead and believe them…you begin to leave the room…and then as you are walking away you hear the gunshot resonate, louder than anything you’ve ever heard, through the entire place. You drop to your knees, even wondering if perhaps it is you that just got shot. But it isn’t. You are okay. You are still free. You turn around and see that it is Jesus. Jesus took your bullet. Jesus took your death sentence. And he is now dead and you are alive. You cry out in anguish, your pain being heard all throughout the prison. People come running to see what is going on. And they all witness it, they all see it. They see you alive and Jesus dead and they wonder why in the world this would ever happen.
THAT is how much God loves you. That is how much God loves the world. That is how valuable you are to Him. That He would be willing, out of sheer love, to give His only son, so that you, so that I, so that anyone who believes in Him will never have to face death. If you didn’t have value, IF you didn’t have GREAT VALUE, there is no way he would make this exchange. And yet, he did. In all His sovereignty and in all His wisdom and omniscience, He decided this was a good thing. That’s what it means when we say “we’ve been saved”. That’s what it means when people call on Jesus as their Savior. Without His sacrificial love and willingness to take our place and pay the penalty for our sins we would be forever separated from God’s love…we would be dead in the worst kind of way.
Hopefully you are starting to realize how valuable you are to God. But you may still be feeling a bit unsettled about the way you gained your freedom in Christ, through Christ. Well, let me tell you, there is GOOD NEWS! The story analogy that I told above is not quite done yet. There is still a big part of the story left to tell, a very important part.
As it turns out, death was not able to hold Jesus. Even though Jesus was indeed truly dead- by his death he paid the penalty for all of our sin and all sin everywhere, over all time, past and present and future- the power of death could not hold him. He overcame death and is alive. He appeared to many people that can testify to this fact and now he is in heaven once again with his heavenly Father, our Father, God. It is through his ability to conquer death that we too can enjoy eternal life. When we put our trust and our belief in Christ and what he did for us on the cross we are able to enter a life that will continue beyond our physical death here on earth.
There is so much more to say on all of this and numerous other books have been written which will elaborate on Jesus’ saving and redemptive work on the cross. For now, I want you to understand that the reason I told you this whole story was to illustrate the great value of who you are. A value that is not dependent on anything that you do, it is simply inherent in who you are. It is reflective of God’s great love for you, your importance to him and the fact that He calls you His own.
TRUTH #4 is that YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE PERFECT
Every once in a while, there is a lie that circulates so rapidly and so invasively that it seems to permeate the very being, the very mental fibers of people everywhere. It does so subtly without even being noticed. It wreaks havoc and internally torments people of all ages and all walks of life. One of these such lies is the lie of perfection. Another way this lie presents itself is in the voice of the accuser, always telling you that you are not “enough”.
Old adages and rhymes instill this lie of perfection into us at an early age. Our parents and teachers tell us repeatedly, “practice makes perfect”, clearly implying that perfection is the goal. The magazines and media surround us with images of photoshopped, edited, altered images that imply to all who look upon them that this is how we should look. This is how we should dress. That anything short of these unrealistic and false images is not quite good enough. Social media allows us to read and see all the high end pinnacle moments in another’s life but never reveals all the weaknesses of that same person’s life. We become tempted to compare our weaknesses against everyone else’s strengths and once again come up short, believing we are not enough, and that it is, inherently, our fault.
The Bible itself can stump us as we hear verses such as “be holy because I am holy” or often translated this same verse reads “be perfect because I am perfect”. Without meaning to, these verses can wreak havoc on young Christians who don’t fully understand the context and meaning of those words. All of these things, and many other factors I haven’t mentioned, can lead to a wrong mindset that says somehow we are supposed to be perfect. That even though we may not be perfect yet, if we keep trying hard enough, we will indeed reach that goal of perfection, and until we do, we aren’t quite good enough.
Well, let me say once again, that the idea that you will ever be perfect is a straight out lie sent from the enemy/devil to mess with your head and even deeper, your identity. And as a Mom, I don’t like when people mess with my kids. I can assure you as a parent, God doesn’t like when people (or in this case the enemy) messes with His kids either! God does not want you to be burdened and held captive by this lie. God Himself is perfect but He never expects you to be perfect. In fact, that’s the whole reason He sent His son to die for us and reconcile us back to God.
Think about it, if there was any other possible solution to rectify our separation from God because of sin, don’t you think God would have used it? Why would He send His one and only son to be tortured and killed for us if there was any other way? If there was even ONE human who could one day be perfect enough to bridge the gap of sin, wouldn’t God have used that person? Of course He would have! But no one person did exist or ever would exist except Jesus. Jesus lived on earth as a man but always has been and always will be fully God. So He wasn’t just another person. He was (and is) God our Savior!
So if God already knows we will never be perfect and He still chose to reconcile us to Himself, you have to understand that He’s okay with it. I mean, He’s okay, He’s not mad at you for not being perfect. In fact, He loves you so deeply just as you are. He already worked out the solution and has let it go. He loves you! Through Jesus, you are made perfect and that guarantees you eternal life in heaven. It also secures that you have worth and value! It does not however guarantee you perfection in all of your activities and actions here on Earth.
God knows that we will make mistakes. In fact, He expects us to. And the amazing thing is that He has already set up provisions and comfort and “protocol” for us when we do. Sometimes people are shocked to hear that. Perhaps you are one of many who never learned fully what to do when you make a small mistake or screw up big time. I mean, I bet you already know how to apologize or correct the mistake but what about what happens inside of you. How do you deal with that? If you struggle with feeling bad about yourself because you made a mistake or if you are stressed out because you don’t think you are doing enough or doing it well enough, let me tell you, there is more good news!
There is a passage of scripture in the Bible in Hebrews that I recommend every one memorize and gain full understanding of. These verses will help you so much when your insides start to condemn you over making a mistake or not being perfect. I am so happy to tell you about these verses because, to me, they show just how merciful and loving our Heavenly Father is to us. They remind me that He is not shocked or upset or knocked off His throne when we mess up, but instead, He is ready and willing to receive us with arms open wide and give us exactly what we need to heal up and carry on!
Here are the verses I particularly love:
Hebrews 2:11 says "Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters."
Hebrews 4:15-16 tells us, "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need."
These verses give me a perfect opportunity to introduce you to the concepts of grace and mercy.
TRUTH #5 YOU HAVE FULL ACCESS TO ENDLESS GRACE AND MERCY
Another truth that s also very important for you to understand is the grace of God. I remember being a new Christian and hearing people talk about grace. I really didn’t understand what they meant because when I heard the word grace I always thought of it in accordance with the word graceful. Like, “the dancer was so graceful as she moved across the room”. The other option was to think of grace as the prayer we would say before dinner at my home. My Dad would fold his hands and say “let’s say grace” and we would all begin to recite our memorized meal prayer.
Maybe you've never really been taught about grace either. The biblical meaning of it anyway. So I want to teach you about that now. Grace is sometimes referred to as God’s unmerited favor. Hmmm, what exactly does that mean? Well, I like to break it down this way, grace is when you get something good that you don’t deserve and didn’t earn.
This is a perfect time to add another word/definition to your understanding and that is mercy. While grace is getting something good that you don’t deserve, I define mercy as not getting something bad that you do deserve. So you can see in one scenario you get something wonderfully extra that you don’t deserve and in the other scenario you are spared from something horrible that you do indeed deserve. This is why these words are often used interchangeably even though they have slightly different meanings.
When we look to the Bible to see the meaning and impact of these words we realize very quickly that it is only through the redemptive work of Jesus dying on the cross for our sins that we can experience the grace and mercy of God. In fact, while we do see examples of God’s grace and mercy throughout the Old Testament, I believe the biggest illustration of God’s grace and mercy toward us is found at the Cross.
As Christians we can never stray too far from the cross. Everything we believe as Christians hinges on the truth of what took place on the cross. We have already spoken of how God sent His son Jesus to reconcile us back to Himself. How Jesus lived a perfect life free of sin but we have lived in the curse of sin ever since the Garden of Eden. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”. It also tells us that the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life”. Hey, what’s that? Something about us deserving death but instead getting a gift! That’s grace! But let me back up and go through it again slowly because I really need you to take hold of this. Why? Because when you understand grace and mercy you will no longer stand in condemnation. You will be able to think differently and in doing so, transform your life. You will learn to “go easy” on yourself and quit beating yourself up mentally and find a place of perfect peace in which you can dwell each and every day.
So, as we have gone through our lives, we have all sinned. If you believe that God is real and if you believe that He is holy and if you believe that He has established a level of right and wrong that exists, then you must acknowledge the fact that we all fall short of His perfect standards. I have sinned and fallen short, you have sinned and fallen short. In fact every human who has ever lived and will ever live has fallen or will fall short of God’s holy perfect standards. We’ll get it wrong, we’ll make mistakes, we’ll even flat out rebel sometimes. All of that stuff- all of those choices- are sin. So we are sinful and the wages of that sin- in other words, what we deserve because of that sin, is death. And, if I might add, it’s not just death like we die and our life on earth is done. No, it’s death in every aspect- it is total separation from our living God.
However, when Jesus decided to pay the penalty for our sins, and He decided to take on the death that we deserved and give us the eternal life reconciled to God that HE deserved, he showed us grace and mercy. He showed us grace because we didn’t deserve reconciliation with a Holy God and eternal life, but He gave it to us anyway! He showed us mercy because we did deserve death and eternal separation from God but instead He spared us of that consequence.
Let that sink in and then keep reading.
Now, when I take you back to some verses that I’ve already mentioned they should come alive in an even more powerful meaningful way. Hebrews tells us that we “can approach the throne of grace with confidence to receive grace and mercy in our time of need”. Wow- I just want to put about a million exclamation points after that verse!
How many times have you made a mistake, said the wrong thing or flat out just screwed up big time and spent the next hours or days (for some, even years!) beating yourself up over it or replaying the facts in your mind? We've all been there so you’re not alone. That’s one of the first things you need to realize is that you are not the only one who sins. Phrased in another way, you are not the only one who makes mistakes or gets it wrong. Remember, we are all going to sin. And if we are believers, we’re all eventually going to feel bad about that sin. And honestly, that’s good- it is called repentance- and it means that we want to turn away from our sin. We are sorry for our sin. We’re sorry for disobeying God’s ways. So yeah, we feel bad.
How we deal with that feeling, though, is of upmost importance. And this is why I wanted to put a million exclamation points behind the above verse. God, in all His love for us and in His ability to know and predict everything about us, knew that we would fail. He knew it and He set up a system through Jesus to restore us. Not just to restore us once, but to continually restore us whenever we need it!
These verses in Hebrews tell us that Christ understands us. He gets it. He knows what we are going through because while He never sinned, He did live here on Earth and He came up against all the same challenges that we do. So He feels for us. He doesn’t look down on us because we've tripped up, He has compassion on us. He doesn’t try to distance Himself from us, instead He tries to draw us near to Himself. These verses say that we can come confidently to Him to receive grace and mercy in our time of need. Oh hallelujah! (I usually don’t just burst out in a Hallelujah but this one is so deserved!)
I remember the day I took hold of this revelation.To find out that grace and mercy were available to me was just mind blowing. I mean, surely it couldn’t be that easy. Surely I had to somehow earn it. I understood that I didn’t have to be perfect but certainly I must have had to get a little better in my behavior and actions before I try to ask for grace or mercy, right? Wrong.
Here’s another way I like to explain it. Let’s say that you run out of milk at home. You need milk but you’ve run out. So you’d probably do what most people would do and go to the store and buy some milk. It wouldn’t be that big of a deal. You wouldn’t spend an hour crying at home, you wouldn’t lock yourself in your room and think about how stupid you are that you ran out of milk, and you certainly wouldn’t take to social media posting what a “loser” you are because you have no milk.
The reason you wouldn’t do any of that is because you know that the store sells milk. In fact, the store goes through a lot of forethought and preparation to make sure they have milk there when you, and others, run out. So there’s no panic. You need milk, they already have it waiting for you, so you just go get it. And you go confidently, knowing it will be there!
Let's use this analogy as we look again at Hebrews ___
God’s word says you “can approach the throne of grace with confidence to receive grace and mercy in our time of need”.
I imagine you can already see where I’m going with this but let’s walk though it together anyway. Hebrews is basically telling us that we will have a “time of need” at some point. And during that time of need, we will need “grace” and “mercy”. And when we need that grace and mercy, we can approach God confidently to receive it. It’s like God is the store, he has a full, never ending stock of grace and mercy; it is stocked because He knows we will need it! We can go to Him confidently when we are in need. Grace and mercy are just a part of God’s perfect love for us. And the fact that it comes to us freely is why so many never stop singing of His amazing grace!
As you take hold of this truth in your own life and you begin to allow yourself to receive these gifts from God you will be transformed. Your confidence will begin to grow and you will fall deeper and deeper in love with God. You will feel the practical application of God’s love in your life and you will indeed begin to feel fully loved and accepted. This is what many of you are longing for- a deep and real knowing and feeling that you are loved! You don’t have to do anything, you don’t have to earn anything, you most certainly do not have to try to be perfect…you simply need to receive God’s love, His grace and mercy, and let it envelop you like a warm, cuddly blanket!
The beautiful thing is that this transformation in the deeper parts of the inner you will soon manifest itself in the “outer you”.
Thanks for stopping by my site! If you like what you've read, please accept my invitation to join my free online mentoring group by clicking the button below. We have new material uploaded every week to keep you moving toward your goals and advancing God's Kingdom. Hope you are leaving a little more encouraged than when you arrived!
Eileen Slattery Berglund
President, The Truth Ministry