I’ve been a born-again Christian for 12 years. I’ve learnt a lot about the Lord in this time and have been blessed by revelations of His ways, experienced His grace when l didn’t deserve it, and encountered His unconditional love.
Attaining such knowledge hasn’t always been easy: At times it required the Lord to test me and refine me of impurities that were hard to let go of. However, l am grateful for the challenges that God allowed me to endure, as they enabled me to grow spiritually.
That being said, I have also experienced obstacles to my spiritual growth. Some of these have occurred from trying to navigate a Christian life amidst superficial societal expectations, coupled with the pressures of living the COVID-19 life; others have originated from my own inner doubts and insecurities.
These stumbling blocks are lies that l’ve believed for a long time, which made me think that God wasn’t for me, and that contrary to what the Bible says, He didn’t love me very much, because l didn’t deserve it. Such thoughts held me captive and made me miserable.
In the last year, God has been revealing more of Himself to me: through His Word, through songs, as well as words of encouragement from friends and family. These revelations have helped me realise that the viewpoints l held are in fact not true.
The following are four lies which have personally kept me from growing in the Lord. In sharing these, l hope that my experiences will help free you of the untruths that are hindering you from maturing spiritually.
1. I’m not a “good” Christian
I am a perfectionist, and as part of my all-or-nothing character l want to be a “good Christian” who reads her Bible, spends time with God in prayer, and worships Him through praise and song–daily.
This self-expectation used to put me under a lot of pressure. Whenever l couldn’t keep up with my daily “God time”, l used to condemn myself. Consequently, l felt guilty of not being spiritual enough to approach God, and thus unworthy of presenting Him my prayer petitions.
However, God doesn’t love us in proportion to how much or how little time we spend with Him and His Word. He loves us because He is love (1 John 4:8)—it is simply who He is. God loves us so much, and there is nothing that can cause Him to remove that love from us, regardless of what we do or don’t do as Christians (Romans 8:38-39).
Now that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t read the Bible and spend time in prayer and praise. But knowing that He loves me for who I am, not what I do, and that His love for me is not dependent on how much time I dedicate to studying about Him will lead to a greater desire to know Him more. The more we know about God and His ways, the more it’ll lead to greater intimacy with Him, and victory in our daily lives.
2. God has favourites
l used to look at Christian influencers on social media and see their posts about the new house they had bought, the exotic locations they visited, or the dream job they had. The carefree lifestyle they presented made me feel that God was favouring them and that they were doing something l wasn’t to deserve such great blessings.
However, Romans 2:11 states that God does not show favouritism. Here, Paul explains how God’s salvation and grace is given to all, regardless of their race or status, which demonstrates a love that is unbiased and inclusive.
In the past year, God has been showering my husband and me with blessings: provision, job opportunities, favour, inner peace, and more. Through such acts of His grace, God has taught me two things:
1) God gives customised blessings to meet our individual needs, in accordance to the current chapter in our lives.
2) We should always be grateful for what He gives (1 Thessalonians 5:18), regardless of our circumstances.
God does not have favourites. If we compare our blessings with others, we risk falling into a bottomless pit of self-doubt and envy, which prevents us from growing spiritually.
3. Other Christians don’t like me
I got along well with the women in my previous church. However, any attempts l made to connect with them outside of church were constantly rejected. When church services stopped due to lockdown, l did not hear from any of my female acquaintances, which left me feeling socially rejected.
However, God has been showing me through the love and encouragement of my husband and my non-Christian friends that l am a kind person and a loyal friend. Through Christian therapy, l am learning that l’m not deficient or unworthy if others don’t desire my company.
Additionally, God has brought two amazing women into my life through our love for writing. They live on the opposite sides of the world in Canada, but we are close to each other’s hearts.
Most importantly, God is encouraging me to grow spiritually by forgiving them, and to have sympathy and pray for the issues that the ladies in my church are enduring in their own lives.
4. God doesn’t want to heal me
The previous year has been especially difficult for my mental health. I am still in recovery from burnout and chronic depression; however, the global pandemic and its consequences have made it more difficult for my mental state.
One of my biggest prayers is for healing from my mental torment. So, when God allows me to keep on suffering, and thereby miss out on the joys of life, l begin to doubt whether He will heal me at all.
However, God is Jehovah Rapha—the God who heals. In His Word, God assures us that He hears our cries, and promises to heal us (2 Kings 20:5). God keeps His promises, because that is who He is (Numbers 23:19). When that healing will occur, we can only trust Him and leave it up to His perfect timing.
When a broken world threatens to compromise our faith, and our own mind becomes a battlefield littered with lies and self-doubt, God’s Word is the truth that sets us free (John 8:32).
How good then, that we serve a God who is not only our Father, but our Teacher, Friend, and Comforter, who love us and guides us from faith to faith and from glory to glory, in His name!