There are few things that give me joy like seeing someone experience freedom in their life. I love to see others discover their identity in Christ and be changed forever by the truth of who they are in Him. But the biggest obstacle in reaching that place of freedom is dealing with the lies that keep us stuck.
Walking in our identity is not just a matter of acquiring information, it is a matter of changing our core beliefs. More information is not the answer. If it was, this generation would be thriving like no other. It’s not enough to know truth. We must believe it.
Our beliefs are shaped by our experiences. Because we live in a fallen world, all of us have had experiences that skewed our view of God. There are two types of experiences that influence our perception. There are experiences in which we actively participate and those which we passively participate.
When we are exposed to sin, we become either captives or prisoners based on our participation. This is a key element of understanding how to rightly deal with the core lies we come to believe.
Captives & Prisoners
Captives were passive participants in sin. They had wrongs perpetrated on them against their will or in ignorance. They are collateral damage in the destructive decisions and actions of others. Because of this damage inflicted upon them, they may act out in sinful behavior but it is always a reaction to wounding.
Prisoners on the other hand have actively chosen to sin. They become imprisoned until they have paid for their offense. Prisoners continue to live as inmates even after they are told that the offense has been paid. They create self-made prisons in their mind that keep them confined.
There are two core lies that we come to believe by becoming either captives or prisoners.
Core Lie #1: Victimization
Captives are victims and in turn form a victim mentality. The fruit of a victimized mentality are: powerlessness, fear, feeling tainted, hopelessness and confusion. Victims struggle to understand why things have happened to them. They live in fear and feel that they have been tainted and are no longer valuable. Their victimization becomes their identity. Ironically, victims tend to perpetuate to others the very hurt they have experienced.
Core Lie #2: Rejection
Prisoners experience rejection as they fall from grace and in turn form a mentality of rejection. The fruit of a rejected mentality are: shame, disaffirmation and abandonment. Prisoners take on an identity of rejection and shame. They become stuck in a lifestyle of feeling punished and unworthy.
Prisoners have a difficult time seeing themselves as forgiven and many times put themselves in a position to sabotage relationships that believe the best in them. They will seek those that affirm their self-perception of worthlessness.
Until these core lies are dealt with, we become predisposed to make wrong choices due to the foundations that have been laid. But there is hope!
Jesus makes this prophetic declaration in Isaiah 61:1:
“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners.”
Did you see that at the end? Jesus knew that there would be both captives and prisoners in need of rescue. Jesus was sent to bring us freedom!
But knowledge is not enough. Our lives do not change by simply reading a passage. In fact, this is a point of frustration for many Christians because they read this good news but never experience it. So where do we start?
The best place to begin exposing the lies we believe is by extending forgiveness to the foundational relationships in our life. When we release those that perpetrated sin upon us, we also release ourselves from the bondage that enslaves us. When we release ourselves, we release the grace of God to set us free. But true forgiveness isn’t just excusing our sins or the sins of others. Forgiveness is simply removing the blame. Honest and effective forgiveness can only come by the power of Holy Spirit.
Forgiveness brings us one step closer to exposing the lies we have constructed in our minds. Only then can we uncover the truth.
The truth that we are sons and daughters. The truth that we are righteous in His sight. The truth that we are loved, just as we are, just as we were, while we were still sinners. The truth that we are no longer sinners, but saints.
When we expose the lies, our false foundations crumble. It’s a scary place at first but we rebuild on a solid foundation. It is then that we discover the truth of our identity in Him. It is then that we discover the freedom that we all long for.
To study this topic more in depth, I highly recommend the book Freedom Tools by Andy Reese.