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Accused to Accepted
The story you are about to hear is true. The four-day conference had ended thirty minutes ago. I felt free. My feelings of spiritual relief weren’t because I was now outside the four walls of the training facility. God’s Word had cut through fear I believed about myself and my choices for my future. God gives fear as a natural response when our safety is threatened. Neil Anderson says, “Courage is not the absence of fear, but it is living by faith and doing what is right in the face of illegitimate fear objects.” I learned that behind my anxious fears loomed deceptive lies.
My self-image and confidence had been altered for decades because I had believed the lies for so long. Like overgrown weeds in a verdant garden, falsehoods had invaded my blossoming faith. Deception was coupled with false beliefs about myself and choked my faith to a dry, almost lifeless place as these undermined my trust in God. These falsehoods had become my identity. God asked me trust Him. I chose to submit. I followed God’s ways and decided to renounce these lies. Once I did this, I could again be centered to believe the truth. Empowered, refreshed and reaffirmed in my ministry, I couldn’t wait to see what God would do next.
Now in my car, I arranged my lunch so I could eat while driving home, my phone rang. A man’s commanding voice said, “Everything you have believed about God is not true. To listen to our weekly hour long church service by phone, call this number.” Click. The call ended. I sat in shock for a moment and remembered the four-day truth encounter.
Greater is He who is in me than He who is in the world. Thank you Lord Jesus, that you have not given me a spirit of fear, but of power, love and of sound mind. I renounce this spirit of fear. I want to live by faith in you and in the power of the Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
Instead of feeling overpowered by a phone call. I was empowered by the Holy Spirit. I broke out in tears, as I realized God had shown me how to implement the tools I received at the conference. I was refreshed, revived and renewed. I knew I would no longer be victimized by false beliefs. Instead feeling powerless, incapable and weak, I knew I would never again let the father of lies accuse me of my past. I was able to abide with God-confidence that all my wrongs were now covered by the blood of the Lamb. I could stand firm, confident and strengthened. In my authority in Jesus, I was secure in my Lord’s complete acceptance of me. Finally, I could accept myself as a ‘saint who sometimes sins.’ I personalized God’s word as I remembered how I’d been encouraged from Isaiah 41:8-10, “But you, O Sheryl, my servant, Sheryl, whom I have chosen, you descendants of Abraham, my friend, I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you. I said, ‘You are my servant,’ I have chosen you and have not rejected you. So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Finally, I could accept myself as a ‘saint who sometimes sins.’