Stop Claiming Promises God Never Made

Jer.29.11.jpgChristians. Church people. Jesus followers. Please stop claiming promises that God never made to you!

Many of us have gotten in the very bad habit of telling ourselves that because God CAN do something, He WILL do that thing if we pray and ask for it. This is a lie. Yes, God is omniscient and omnipotent, but just because He has the power to do something does not mean that He will.

Just because God can heal your illness does not mean that he will do so. God may be brought more glory through your sickness than your healing, and you may become a more sanctified version of yourself by walking through prolonged illness. Have we forgotten that God cares more about the state of our eternal souls than our temporal, physical bodies?

Just because He can bring your future husband into your life this very week does not mean that He will. Your future husband may not be ready for marriage, and you may not be, either. It’s possible that it is for your greater good (and God’s greater glory) for you to continue waiting. Have we forgotten that God’s ways are higher than ours? He sees the bigger picture and has our best in mind.

Monday night was my first evening of Women’s Discipleship at my church. I love my church – the pastor, the worship band, the kids’ ministry… we have great people and sweet, Spirit-filled time together on Sundays. But I tend not to be a fan of women’s ministry events because they tend to be such Estrogen-Fests. And an Estrogen-Fest it was.

Once we made it through the touchy-feely, emotion-packed first lesson, the twenty or so women in our group partnered off for a time of prayer. I ended up coupled with Kristie, the leader of not only our small group but Women’s Discipleship as a whole at our church. Unsure what to expect from her, I was stunned when she shared her prayer request:

“Will you pray for an increase in the measure of my faith? That I would not just believe that God can do anything but that He will? I want to pray and believe He will do what I have asked of Him. When I ask Him to provide a job for my mom, I want to believe that He will and not just that He can.”

Although I wanted to be kind and encouraging to Kristie, I disagreed with the premise of her prayer request at a theological level. And she is the head of our women’s ministry. She is the one who is teaching over sixty women at our church for the next eight months. And I am concerned that she is going to spread her unfounded doctrine and poor theology.

Disturbed, I simply prayed for an increase in the amount of Kristie’s faith. After all, that part was biblical. Jesus is the author and perfecter of our faith (Heb. 12:2), and it is certainly acceptable to pray for God to increase our faith (Mark 9:24). But I have noticed that in our church – and Kristie’s request aligned with this – several individuals in leadership skew toward a level of “charismatic” that is not biblically sound. And I was about to be faced with another example.

As soon as Kristie and I had finished praying, one of the women in our group announced that she had just been diagnosed with breast cancer. She’s a pretty young thing – late 30s I would guess – and asked for prayers of healing. I was getting ready to pray that, if God willed it, He would heal her completely, but before I could start, Evangeline – the head of our prayer ministry at our church – jumped up and declared in a loud, authoritative voice, “Girl, we are not just going to ask God to heal you. We are CLAIMING healing over you. We believe not just that God can heal you, but that He WILL. We declare it! We speak healing over you!”

Eyes wide, I silently prayed for God’s will to be done. Whether He wanted to heal her or not, I prayed for peace and supernatural joy regardless of her circumstances. And then I went home and prayed for our church. Because our leadership has got it wrong.

These women in Discipleship are supposed to be older, wiser women who are meant to mentor the younger women in their faith. But they are clearly tossed around by their emotions and not grounded in the truth. God is not a genie, granting every wish of people who pray to Him. He is not a puppet god who moves in whichever way we want if we pull the right string. They need to stop claiming promises that God never made to them. Stop telling people they will be healed if they just pray hard enough and believe God is going to do it.

God’s ways are higher than ours (Isa. 55:8-9). Many are the plans in the heart of a man, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails (Prov. 19:21). Yes, if we pray anything in God’s will, we have what we have asked of him, but let us not forget the “in His will” (1 John 5:14). Sometimes God says no, and it’s not because of a lack of faith on the part of the supplicant. Have we forgotten that Jesus taught us to pray, “Thy will be done”? (Matt. 6:10) Have we forgotten the example of Jesus at Gethsemane?! Pretty sure Jesus had the faith to move mountains, and he still received a “no” from the Father.

Sometimes we do not receive what we desire because we do not ask (James 4:3), so by all means, ASK! But remember that God is not obligated to respond with “Yes”. And He is worthy of our praise no matter what He answers.

As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are Your ways higher than ours. 

Authentically Aurora

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The Lies We Believe

Angry Unikitty - part 2The most fearsome sight you will ever behold is a female INTJ while she is PMSing.

Seriously. I intimidate myself sometimes.

And while I am in the dark and twisty place of PMSing INTJ-ness (a truly terrifying place, to be sure), I believe a lot of lies about myself and others. Things I know to be true in the Light, I begin to question in the sudden Darkness.

Or, you know, the throes of hormonal mood swings.

Here are 3 Lies I’ve believed this week:

  1. I Am Fat.
  2. I Am Undesirable.
  3. I Hate Everyone.

I Am Fat.

Height WeightIt’s true that I weighed in at 132 this morning, which is 7 lbs heavier than I would like to be, but I always weigh about 4 lbs more on the days leading up to my period (sorry, guys. Deal with it or stop reading). At 5’4″, even with this extra monthly tonnage, I am still well within the healthy weight range for my age, gender and height.

I just FELT fat because, besides it being “that time of the month” resulting in bloating and clothes not fitting right, my hormones have been all out of whack, which increases my sensitivity and insecurities.

I read a book a few years ago by Beth Moore called “So Long, Insecurity.” I HIGHLY recommend it to all women everywhere. This means you, girlfriend. I consider myself a fairly confident woman, but she helped me identify some blind spots for myself (e.g. perfectionism as a form of insecurity) as well as the root causes of some of those insecurities.

Beth writes of battling our insecurities, “We’re going to have to let truth scream louder to our souls than the lies that have infected us.”

I Am Undesirable.

In addition to feeling fat, I felt generally undesirable this week. Besides perfectionism, I also struggle with the fear of rejection. And Bryan has been distant this week. We had our first major fight on Sunday, and on Monday, he took this other girl Jenn out for a steak dinner for her birthday. Umm… what?!

Not only was I horrified that he was taking another woman out 1:1 for a steak dinner, but ironically, I had been craving a nice, juicy steak all weekend (you know, period-induced anemia that has my body craving iron – i.e. red meat). It’s true that Bryan freely volunteered this information of going out with Jenn, and he reassured me that he was doing it out of obligation because she’d taken him out for a steak dinner for his birthday a few months back, but I was still upset – I think, understandably so. But fortunately, I was able to rein in my inner Grumpy Cat/Angry Unikitty (apparently my spirit animal is a cat of some sort…?). Ever-perceptive Bryan is hopefully none the wiser about the Green-eyed Jaguar poised to pounce out of his jealous maybe-almost-kind-of-girlfriend.

Beth writes about this particular struggle, “We need a place we can go when, as much as we loathe it, we are needy and hysterical… I need someone who will love me when I hate myself… As if the battle isn’t hard enough, we sabotage ourselves, submerging ourselves with self-condemnation… How often do we think to ourselves, I should be handling this better?”

I Hate Everyone.

Yep. I feel this way most of the time, monthly period or not. People suck. They constantly disappoint me. I try to lower my expectations of humanity, but I fail. I want better for people than they want for themselves, and that makes me sad. I don’t want to have to lower my expectations of humanity. I want people to step up to the plate and be the amazing men and women they are capable of being.

The truth is, I don’t hate everyone. Or even most people. In fact, my problem isn’t that I care too little but that I care too much! The opposite of love is not hate; it’s apathy. I’m not a robot or a cold-hearted, calculating villain. I’m a tender-hearted young woman bleeding out for the world to be better than it is.

Beth writes of herself, “I feel everything. My joys are huge, and so are my sorrows. If I’m mad, I’m really mad, and if I’m despondent, I wonder how on earth I’ll go on… God gave me this tender heart, and though I want to give up my chronic insecurity, I really do want to hang on to my heart. I like to feel. When I don’t feel something, it’s like being dead.

“Each heart knows its own bitterness (Prov 14:10). The more intense the pain, the more it feels like nobody understands… Your personality and history shapes your response, just as my own unique background affects mine… For me, this is one profound reason that God, omniscient and omnipresent, has been the vital element in my healing. During particularly lonely or frustrating times, [we feel] that nobody else gets it. But He gets it better than we do. So many times He has shown me where I was coming from instead of the other way around.”

When I believe the Lies of the Darkness, I want to remember to set my eyes on the Truth of the omniscient, omnipotent Father of Lights who sees me as I am, remembers that I am dust, and Loves me.

Authentically Aurora