What are you believing about God that isn’t true? And is it holding you back from a more intimate and enjoyable relationship with Him?
Maybe you’ve reached a point in life where you feel God is holding you back – that He doesn’t want you married or successful, or even happy.
If you grew up in a religious home that stressed rules rather than a relationship with God, it’s possible you associate your faith with a dysfunctional childhood or legalistic rules and restrictions. But God is not a religion or a set of rules. He’s the One whose Word says His precious thoughts about you outnumber the sand (Psalm 139:17-18). And if you blame God that you aren’t getting further in life because He wants you miserable ever after, you won’t find any Scriptural support for that opinion or mindset. Rather, He is the God who is able to do “immeasurably more than all we can ask or think, according to His power that works within us” (Ephesians 3:20).
Here are three lies we tend to believe about God and the biblical truth that shatters them:
Lie #1: God wants you to be holy, NOT happy.
God wants you to be holy AND happy as He blesses your life with what is best for you eternally. When our hearts are set on something, and God doesn’t appear to deliver, we often conclude that He doesn’t want us to have what will make us happy and that He only wants our spiritual growth. But God desires both for us. And as we grow spiritually, and surrender to His will, we will be happy. While our temporary happiness is never God’s goal, He knows when we begin to live with eternal priorities, we will find joy.
As I wrote in my book, When God Sees Your Tears, some of God’s best gifts to us are the things He withholds. Psalm 84:11 tells us “For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord gives grace and glory; No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly (NASB). So, if you’re walking uprightly and asking God for something good, and He appears to be withholding, it’s not because He is holding you back or doesn’t want your happiness. It could mean He is withholding because He has something better to give you that you haven’t yet thought to ask for. It could also mean that what you are asking for isn’t truly good for you, or it isn’t time.
Lie #2: God isn’t answering your prayers because He’s mad at you.
I received an email from a man who was tired of praying. He was tired of asking God for things and getting what he said was nothing in return. He apparently wanted to be the exception on this earth when it came to experiencing pain, difficulty and loss, and blamed God for his circumstances. Throughout the man’s email was a heavy use of the pronouns “I” and “me.” He was clearly disappointed that God had not met his expectations. But this man clearly missed the point. God doesn’t exist for us. We exist for Him. And prayer isn’t to get what we want, but to grow closer to God so He becomes all we want.
We don’t have a relationship with God in order to get something from Him. (That would be our relationship with Santa Claus or Amazon Prime.) God doesn’t just give us whatever we ask, so we can be happy for the moment, regardless of whether or not it’s good for us. Matthew 7:11 says He’s a far better parent than any human and He gives good gifts to His children. When we push our selfishness and sense of entitlement aside, we can begin to see that God does not exist to push our personal agendas. If you find yourself thinking that God is ignoring you, isn’t being fair with you, or is holding you back, I urge you to reacquaint yourself with His love that endures forever (Psalm 136) and His intimate knowledge and attention to your every detail (Psalm 139). When you understand who He is and what He has done, your wants will be secondary to His and what He deserves from you.
Lie #3: God expects you to be busy and work hard in order to please Him.
Somewhere we got the idea that God wants us to work for Him, to be busy in ministry, and burn the midnight oil in order to be a “good Christian.” We live in a world in which we must work hard for just about everything. But in God’s economy, it doesn’t work that way. God would rather have you spend time with Him than do a bunch of things for Him.
Ourwork for God’s kingdom stems from our Savior’s command to “make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19). God wants our service that flows out of our faith, obedience, and love for Him, not our obligation to feel approved or accepted by Him, or to have a false assurance of a works-based salvation.
If you are busy working for God and finding yourself running on empty, running behind, and running into debt, try abiding (resting/dwelling) in Him. Work that provides for your family, shows love to your neighbor, and is from an honest and diligent heart is work for God. Don’t categorize between the spiritual and the secular. Colossians 3:23 says, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.” Whatever your work, whether it be for the church or not, is considered a work for God when it’s done with a heart to please Him.
Which of these lies do you need to stop believing today? What truth will you focus on instead? I’d love to hear it in the comment section below.
This was very timely because I am embarking upon a project and this is a good reminder that God wants me to work happily and joyfully and with a spirit of sweet surrender, not a spirit of dutiful, exacting perfectionism. Thank you!
You’re welcome, Karen. Thank you so much for your encouraging response.
It’s easy to get caught up in working for God, because you feel better about yourself, but if we are doing it for the wrong reason, then it’s not for God, it’s to make ourselves look better. Lord, may I keep my eyes on you and what pleases you.
Well said, Bonnie. God wants our service out of love, not a sense of obligation or to impress anyone, or out of fear of letting someone down. It really all comes down to knowing who we are in Christ and gaining confidence from our position as His loved children
But what about a church that keeps trying to make you too busy with volunteering? And the pastor makes you feel guilty for saying no.
Hi Rose, I realize it’s easy to feel pressure in smaller churches where everyone’s help is needed. And even in larger churches we can sometimes feel guilty if we aren’t doing what we feel is “enough.” But practice taking every request of you to God and asking Him if that is HIS very best for you at the time. We make ourselves too busy when we we refuse to say no to other people. God will never make you too busy for Him. In my book, Drama Free,I recommend a 3-step filtering process when someone asks you to do something: 1)Stop; 2)Seek God’s direction; and 3)Stay out of it unless God clearly tells you to step into it. (That will keep women today from becoming overwhelmed with too much busywork.) Finally, friend, remember no one can MAKE you feel a certain way — guilty or otherwise. We choose how we will respond. Be confident that God loves you for who you are, not what you do and then live from that motto. 😊
I struggle with #2 and 3. I feel like I need to perform to please God.
Hi Maria, Thank you for your honesty. I believe the enemy of our souls wants us constantly feeling we are not good enough for Jesus. My prayer for you this week is that you will live in a new freedom and peace knowing that all the work was already done on your behalf by your Savior on the cross. Guilt and self-condemnation does not come from God (Romans 8:1. Live obediently for Him from your heart and think of Him as your No. 1 relationship, not an obligation. You are in my prayers.
Thank you so much for your emails – sometimes I think you know exactly what I need to hear.
Hi Lara, my friend. Your sweet Jesus knows just what you need to hear right when you need to hear it and He’s so good to put those words on my heart to write them for you. 😊 You are in my heart.
Thank you so much for opening my eyes on these 3 lies I tend to believe about God. When i read all 3 lies you mentioned I am like (is she reading my mind ) from now on I will change my thoughts, a read the word of God and meditate everyday. I usually put myself first instead of putting God first in each and everything that I do. I will read all the verses that you have quoted from the bible, and learn more about God. Colossians 3:23 has touched my heart deeply.
May the Good Lord Bless you.
Thank you, Sweet Velile. I forgot to mention in the blog that I will be following up with three more lies we tend to believe in next week’s blog so stay tuned and watch for it. 😊
Thank you for this post. Right now, due to a huge conflict with my grown daughter, I have so much trouble trusting God’s involvement. Been divorced for 40 years and she will not let the past be over nor go for help. It is said what is not healed is revealed. I can only pray that Satan will release his hold.
I’m sorry for this pain you and your daughter are experiencing. We can’t control others’ responses toward us or make them forgive us but we can take that pain to the Lord and know that He sees our hearts and He can still work within the situation.
You’ve hit the nail on the head with this article! Thank you for your word. I have experienced so many women that struggle with this exact thinking – wondering why God doesn’t love them because they won’t see the blessing and only seeing what God is holding back and their frustration. Thank you for speaking truth in love!
You’re welcome, Stephanie. Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment. ❤️
Cindi, these were all good reminders but #3 is the one that I struggle with the most. I sometimes feel guilty because I feel like I’m not doing enough. Thank you for the reminder that what we do comes from obedience and love, not obligation.
Carla, You are not alone in that struggle. I think we often have to be reminded that God would rather have us spend time WITH Him than do a bunch of things FOR Him. We can get so busy in the church and in doing other good things that we miss the best thing which is intimate time with our Savior.
Thank you Cindi, I have your books that I find so comforting and reassuring- they have really helped me through some hard times – they really reflect his love and care for us – thank you so much!! 🙏🙏🙏
Thank you, Kelly, for your encouraging comments. So glad to know you’ve been helped by my books.
Amen!! Thank you for reminding us is about obedience not sacrifice. Most of the time we say yes because we can’t say no and we miss the best part. Thank you for blessing us in so many ways📝….God bless
You’re welcome, Hayde. Thanks for reading. 😊
How refreshing to drink in Gods living water together! God is bringing revival in His church through His truth. These three lies we believe can drain us of our joy. May we live in these truths and experience abundant lives! ❤️
Thank you, Lonnie, for your kindred spirit and encouraging words.