“I just don’t feel like doing it.” And so I did absolutely nothing on day one. I stayed in bed all day. Day two: I felt the same. Not only was I unproductive, but I was discouraged and overwhelmed with anxiety. Days melted into weeks, weeks into months, and before I knew it, six months was lost.
I still had long-buried feelings of shame. I didn’t think I deserved to be forgiven. I felt unforgiven, unloved, and ashamed. I felt unworthy and condemned. These lies Satan fed me prevented me from believing God’s truth about myself. I knew about the freedom and abundant life God offers us, but I thought it was for everyone else but me.
I was stuck. And I didn’t know how to get out of the pit.
Maybe you can relate.
Ed Silvoso says a stronghold is “a mind-set impregnated with hopelessness that causes us to accept as unchangeable, situations that we know are contrary to the will of God.” Strongholds prevent us from seeing what is true because of how they make us feel. When we are adopted into the family of God, no one erases the “hard drive” of our emotions, memories, or mistakes. So we come into the relationship with our Heavenly Father with false beliefs and coping mechanisms. Neil Anderson describes strongholds as “mental habit patterns of thought that are not consistent with God’s word.”
Mine needed to be dealt with. Maybe yours does too.
We find the answers on how to do this in Ephesians 4:22-24: “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”
So let’s break it down—how do we tell ourselves the truth?
First, we must “put off the old self,” which means to move away from guilt, shame and blame through repentance and faith. Disown these things. They don’t belong in us. We evict these toxic attitudes towards ourselves by declaring God’s word over our lives and our whole being. This happens by understanding and owning up to our identity in Christ.
What do I mean by “understanding our identity in Christ?” This perception is absolutely essential to living the victorious Christian life. No matter what comes our way, in Christ we are secure. Our mistakes should not define us. God doesn’t hold our sins, mistakes, or missteps against us. The real me is in my identity in Christ. Once we know what God says about us and believe it to be the truth, everything about how we view God and ourselves changes. If you are a Christian, then you can find the Identity in Christ statements that are true of you at the end of this devotional. I encourage you to read them, meditate on them, and declare them over yourself.
Secondly, we must be “made new in our mind.” How is this possible? It is entirely available to each of us when we choose to allow God’s word to transform our minds by reading it, praying it, saying it, memorizing it, listening to it, and keeping it at hand.
Romans 12:1-2 says “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
Notice that Paul states that we are transformed by the renewing of our mind. Our mind is where it all begins! The choice is yours: you must choose to think on what is true of you, allowing God to renew your mind and heal your hurts by the power of his word.
Lastly, we must “put on the new self.” We discussed owning our identity in Christ, but the daily “putting on of our new self” happens most effectively when we choose to live in the truth by renewing our minds with the truth. Another term for this is “stronghold busting.” We must realize our belief system may not be in line with what God says is true in His word. As we allow God to bring to the surface lies that we have believed, we can examine each falsehood that is exposed, renounce the lie we have believed and announce the truth from God’s word. Choosing to do this for forty days is a powerful way to transform your mind.
Are there situations in your past that have caused you to believe lies about yourself? If so, acknowledging them is the first step to being free from them. Until you deal with what is keeping you from believing God’s truth about yourself, you will stay stuck in the pit.
Once you make the decision to start the process, God will help you take the next steps, just like He did for me. With His help, you can be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Come against the lies you have believed about yourself and start telling yourself the truth. Now!
Let’s pray: “Heavenly Father, thank you for the truth. Help me to know the difference between the lies I’ve believed in my old self, and help me to take off the old self and put on the new. I need your renewal, restoration and refreshing – thank you for the invitation to be transformed. I ask you to show me your will – your good, pleasing and perfect will. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
Sheryl Giesbrecht Turner
Author, FICM Field Staff and SW Regional Director of Care & Training
Who I Am in Christ Statements