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stephanie@stephaniehaynes.net
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Ripping Out the Weeds

May 4, 2017

“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of this world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ. “

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 NIV

 

Do you ever feel as if you are in a battle?

 

Day in, day out, struggling just to survive? To make ends meet, to raise your kids well, to stay faithful to your marriage and grow it stronger, to build healthy friendships. To love yourself…

The battle is fierce my friend. Seriously. As Christian’s we are in direct opposition to the culture in which we live and stand squarely in the path of destruction the enemy wishes to unleash in this world.

 

But that’s not really where the fight is.

 

God’s word declares victory for us over all of it. Forever. He promises to walk with us through the struggles we face. He promises He has plans for us that are for our good. He promises to use all things for our good. He promises to never leave forsake or abandon us. He promises that He loves us unconditionally.

 

That is enough for joy in even the harshest circumstances, and yet we do not experience it.

 

Why?

 

Because we are fighting against him. We don’t believe we can trust Him. We don’t believe we are worthy. We don’t believe He will show up because He hasn’t in the ways we have asked for. We don’t believe…

 

My friends, I am convinced that once we determine to believe God at His word we will unleash great power within us to live a life we can only dream about.

 

But, it’s more than choosing to believe God at His Word. We have to get rid of the lies that keep us from believing in the first place.

 

Are you willing?

 

 

In this chapter. we focus on several key concepts to ripping out the weeds in our lives that are preventing us from living the abundant life Jesus came to tell us about, chose to be crucified with our sins for so we could be made right with God, and was resurrected for and  within us so we could experience it here on earth:

 

Weeds (page 87-88): Are false thoughts that become beliefs about ourselves the enemy uses to pull us away from God’s grace and into shame, guilt, fear, envy, self-loathing and other destructive behaviors. We process between 12,000 and 70,000 thoughts every single day, and 80% of them are negative. When we listen to these comments, replaying them over and over in our minds, they affect our beliefs about ourselves, infecting our ability to see ourselves in the light of God’s truth. Every time a negative thought comes into our heads, and we choose to believe it, a new belief is born that begins to direct our choices and actions in unhealthy ways. These are the weeds in our lives that we need it identify and rip out.

 

Guilt (page 88): This is the biggest way the enemy spreads lies in our lives. Guilt is an awareness of having done something wrong, accompanied by feelings of shame and regret that drive us to either hide it or fix it. It’s the root of striving and over-scheduling and not being able to say “no.” When we live with guilt everything feels as if it’s our fault and our responsibility alone to “make right.”

 

Conviction (page 89) frees us from the constraints of guilt and gives us the ability to receive God’s grace. Conviction is the awareness of having done something wrong accompanied by feelings of hope because of God’s grace, and a sense of peace because He is stepping in to take over so that we no longer have to fix it or hide away from whatever we thought was our fault. It’s like this: Even when we do the worst we could possibly do, Jesus catches our gaze and tells us” You don’t have to start over (or fix, or make it right) for me, I will start over with you.”

 

1. Trying to live in God’s peace while lies control our thought, beliefs, and actions like like trying to plant a beautiful garden without first clearing out the land on which we wish to plant. (page 89) The lies we believe act as a barrier, a stronghold against believing God’s truth.

 

2. We allow the weeds to flourish in our lives when we choose to believe any voice that tells us we aren’t worthy enough, just as we are. (Pages 90-92) You can choose to stop believing everything you think. How do we do this?

  • RECOGNIZE: Invite God into areas of our lives filled with shame, regret, pain, and struggle and ask Him to reveal to you where the lies are and where they started so we can be freed of their hold. This may require professional counseling.

  • REPLACE: Choosing to believe God’s truth over the lies, one lie at a time, gives us the ability to receive His healing and restoration which gives us peace.

  • RESIST: The more we are aware of the lies in our lives, and replace them with the Truth, the better able we are to stand with God against those lies coming back. Our faith on God’s Word activates our protection and we are given the ability to see the lie and dismantle it before it takes root.

3. Inviting God to help us recognize, replace and resist the lies in our lives is a process we can actively engage in. (Pages 94-96) It is His power that frees us, but our willing participation in this process is a necessary component.  We are to work with God to take our thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ. We have been given the weapons we need to engage with God in this process: The very Armor of God Himself.

 

4. This is more than just thinking differently. (Pares 97-98) It involves planting ourselves firmly on the Rock of our salvation and choosing to believe essential beliefs about ourselves through the eyes of Jesus. When those truths become our root-base, we begin to see our lives differently.

 

5. This is a Triune-God directed process. (Page 106) God has given us His word. Jesus has given us His example. The Holy Spirit will step in and guide us into God’s truth and the result will be His fruit, including the peace we crave. All we need to do is choose to let go of control and choose instead to follow the Spirit. He will do the rest for us.

 

So, will you choose to put your Armor on and engage with the Spirit in ripping out the weeds of your life? There is a garden waiting for us under all the weeds, but it cannot be cultivated without first removing what overran it in the first place. Our God is with us in this!

 

Digging Deeper

 

Here are this week’s assignments:

 

  1. Read Chapter 4 of Cultivating Peace: Ripping Out the Weeds

  2. Schedule Tracker Exercise: Color-code your current Schedule Tracker from this past week (see page 72 of Digging Deeper for instructions on this). Once you have it color coded, reflect upon the following:

    1. Were you able to make time for God this past week? How did that affect you and how you moved through your week?

    2. Have there been any changes to your week since starting this class? If so, what are they?

  3. Download another Schedule Tracker and complete it again for this week, but this week be sure to add in at least one segment of time (at least 30 minutes) to do something just for yourself  as well as continuing to add in time to connect with God (Bonus, that Quiet Time with God can really help you figure out how and where to add in time for yourself!

  4. Questions:

    1. Which of the lies listed on pages 99-104 do you struggle with? What is God’s Word saying to you about it?

  5. Do questions 1-5 of chapter four in Digging Deeper (pages 27-31)

  6. Do the Devotional titled From Powerless to Powerful on page 61

  7. Feedback Friday Question: How do you redirect yourself when you find yourself following the path of a negative thought or lie?

Remember, if you ever have any questions, please feel free to contact me via email: stephanie@stepaniehaynes.net

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