It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. -GALATIANS 5:1
Now that we’ve talked about how we fall for lies, it’s time to take a look at what it takes to root those lies out of our lives and replace them with the truth. On the surface, it sounds easy – after all, it’s just 3 things. But these 3 things require a lot of time, prayer, and commitment to see them through. Let’s dig in:
STEP 1: IDENTIFY YOUR BONDAGE
The first step in experiencing change to identify what needs to be changed. If you’re not sure what yours is, start by asking God to show you areas in your life where you are not experiencing freedom. If you know the areas already, then it’s important to take some time to identify what the specific sins are that are keeping you in bondage.
It’s also helpful to point out that there are two types of sin. The first is a sin of commission. These are the things we are not supposed to do that we do. For example: lying, stealing, or misusing God’s name. The second is a sin of omission. These are the things that we ought to do but don’t. For example: tithing, evangelizing, or praying.
Once we recognize the sin that’s prevailing in our lives, we can then trace it to the root in our hearts:
STEP 2: IDENTIFY THE LIE AT THE ROOT OF YOUR BONDAGe
“No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers.” -LUKE 6:43-44
Sinful behavior is not the problem; it is simply the fruit of the problem. Each sinful action is a result of believing a lie. When we identify the lie, we can then replace it with the truth which will lead us to walk in obedience and freedom.
Knowing that sin is the fruit and not the root is critical. When we fall for the lie that the sin itself is the problem, we are in danger of simply trying to stop the behavior without changing what is fueling it. It would be very much like picking all the blueberries off a blueberry bush and hoping that next time it produces strawberries. If we want different fruit, we need different roots.
In order to figure out the root issue, we have to stop to consider what we’re thinking about when we commit that sinful action. Our thoughts give insight to our beliefs and fuel our emotions and actions (more on that later). If you need help identifying your thought process, try writing things down during temptation or after you’ve fallen – what runs through your head in those moments? Eventually you should notice a pattern that can help you recognize what the lie is that you’ve been believing.
Some examples include things like,
“God can’t forgive me”
“No one likes me.”
“I can’t do this.”
“This isn’t fair.”
“I deserve to be treated with respect.”
“I deserve to feel better.”
“I don’t deserve _____________________.”
“If I had ________________, I’d finally be happy.”
Once you’ve identified the lie at the root, you can take it one step further by identifying which root area of sin this lie stems from, which will allow you to make a better plan for moving forward.
For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life-- comes not from the Father but from the world. -1 JOHN 2:16
Ultimately, all sinful behaviors go back to 3 roots that dig deep in our hearts:
1. lust of the flesh: "hOW DOES THIS MAKE FEEL?" 2: LUST OF THE EYES: "I NEED MORE." 3: PRIDE: "WHAT DO YOU THINK OF ME?"
Knowing which sin root you’re struggling with can help you to deal with your struggle more effectively, because each root has a different “antidote” if you will. The cure for the lust of the flesh is self-discipline. The cure for the lust of the eyes is gratitude. And the cure for pride is humility. As we continue with this series, you’ll begin to see patterns in how to deal with different lies based on the root that they stem from.
STEP 3: REPLACE THE LIE WITH THE TRUTH
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. Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need. Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. -Ephesians 4:22-32
Scripture uses a pattern when it comes to change. The majority of time in scripture that you see a command or instruction, you’ll usually see two sides of it: a put off, and a put on. You’ll see something you’re warned against doing, and then you’ll see what you should do instead. This is called the replacement principle.
The fact of the matter is that if we only try to stop doing what’s wrong, we’ll eventually go back to doing what’s wrong. It’s not until we replace the wrong thing with the right thing that we will truly have success in experiencing change. That’s why this final step is absolutely vital if we want to be free.
Now that we know the lie that we’ve been believing, we need to study the Scriptures to see what God has to say about it so that we can replace that lie with specific and relevant truth. This is not a throwaway step and it cannot be short cut by using general truths such as “God so loved the world.” We need specific truth for specific lies.
If you’ve been believing that you just don’t have enough time in the day to do everything you need to do, which has left you behaving in frustration, irritation and bitterness, then you need to know the Truth in 2 Corinthians 9:8, which says that “God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”
But if you’ve been believing that God can’t forgive you, which has left you isolated, depressed and discouraged, then you need to know the Truth found in 1 John 1:9, which says, “if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” As we continue this series, we’ll begin to dig in to some of the most common lies we tend to believe so that we can learn the specific Truths God has for us. We’ll also do some case studies so that you can see how to apply the Truth in a specific and practical way.
CLAIM THE TRUTH
Next time we’ll talk about our biggest roadblock when it comes to replacing truth with lies, and how to overcome it. Until then, I challenge you to ask God to open your eyes to the bondage, lies, root, and truth you need to know so that you can practice dwelling on that truth and begin tasting freedom.
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. -JOHN 8:36
This post is a lesson developed by Bethany Harris inspired by and partly based on the book Lies Women Believe & The Truth That Sets Them Free by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth. You can purchase the book and accompanying study guide here.