Updated: Jun 18, 2020
Choose life, so you and your descendants will live!
We had been pastoring a church for two years...we were doing this great work for God! But to be honest, looking back I think I really was just searching for God. We did all this work to bring people to Jesus, but in hindsight, I believe it was just a result of striving SO HARD to find and experience the love of God for myself.
I can't speak for my husband Jason, but I know that's where my heart was.
When bad things would happen, I would yell at God, "Don't you see what we are doing for you, God? Why is (fill in the blank) happening? Why aren't you answering my prayers?"
And I would hear God say.....(*crickets*).
Nothing. Absolutely nothing.
I couldn't hear His voice.
In John 10:27, Jesus says,
"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.
Don't get me wrong. The urging, or feeling I had to ask Jesus into my heart at 9 years old was real. I would read the Bible and know God was talking to me. I knew he was urging me at 14 to surrender my life to ministry. I got "feelings" of what I thought God wanted me to do, and I followed Him. I had even led others to Christ, and taught them the Word.
I talked to God a lot. But I never really heard his "voice."
As the years went by, life became, well, REAL. The struggles, the heartaches, the offenses, the disappointments. My green, naive, idealist perspective of marriage, parenting, and career goals from my 20's had faded away. Life simply had not turned out as I thought it would be, and to put it simply, I became bitter. And angry.
At some point, I began to hear another voice.
"You're worthless. Why do you even try?"
"Nothing is ever going to change. You will always struggle."
"You're stuck at home with these kids. You don't deserve a life of your own."
"This is how life is going to be. You can't change it. Just accept it."
This, my friend, is the voice of the accuser.
It sounds a lot like your own voice. And you begin to believe it, because it is your own voice in your head.
And notice the connection between bitterness and the voice of the accuser. (We will unpack that in a future post).
Can you imagine with me, for a moment, the amount of strife we had in our marriage, as a result of this thinking? I became so bitter with Jason, because he was able to minister and lead the church. Hundreds (yes, hundreds!) of people were turning their hearts to Jesus. And I was stuck at home with the babies.
A mature Jennifer would have been able to accept this season of life, and enjoy it. Minister and disciple my children. And I did, the best that I knew how. But my identity was so wrapped up in my great, big, work for God, this church we had planted, that I couldn't enjoy that season much. I thought I was worthless because I couldn't serve as much in the church and "do my work" for God that I had before.
Isn't that sneaky? Of course the enemy, the Father of Lies, the Accuser of the Brethren, Satan himself, wants you to believe you're worthless.
Why would he want that?
If you believe you are worthless, you will have no influence. He renders you helpless. It is actually prideful to believe this about yourself, because your life is all about you.
Fearful, anxious, self-absorbed.
Tell me, who would want to follow Jesus, when all his followers look like that?
I finally found the courage to share my "evil voice" problem with my mentor Sheri. I thought that I needed "deliverance," and she could deliver me.
You know, like cast a devil out of me, or something.
I knew I belonged to Jesus, so maybe I wasn't possessed. But perhaps an evil spirit was "oppressing me" and plaguing me somehow.
All I knew was something was wrong. VERY wrong. It had been going on for YEARS. And I was so ashamed.
I had gone to counseling many times, but I was always afraid to bring it up. And you know what else? Counseling NEVER worked for me, I realized later, because all I did was talk about myself and my problems. Over. And over. And over.
Fear, anxiety, self-absorption.
It perpetuated my victim mentality.
Sheri, full of love, full of grace, was not at all surprised or shocked or disgusted with my "evil voice in my head" problem. She just simply said, "Well, how is that voice working for you? You don't have to listen to it."
What the WHAT? You mean I have a choice? I thought I was the victim here?!
She led me to God's Words in Deuteronomy 30:19.
"I lay before you life or death, blessings or curses. Choose life, so that you and your descendants will live."
Huh. I have a choice.
The "voice" in my head, my own voice, was cursing me.
I could choose to listen to it, or I could choose to hear and believe the blessings instead.
I had to know more about this blessings and curses business. Didn't we receive blessings from God when we did something that pleased him?
I searched the scriptures. I began to study more about the blessings and curses that God laid out in Deuteronomy chapter 28, which is in the Old Testament. I found the actual words that God spoke, through Moses, when he made His first covenant, or promise, with the children of Israel.
"If you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God. Blessed shall you be in the city, blessed shall you be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground and the fruit of your cattle...."
Pretty much, If we obey God's commands, then we have his blessings upon every aspect of our life...children, relationships, leadership, favor, finances.
But if we disobey, and do not do all his commandments, then, according to this God's first covenant, we are subject to God's curses. He spells that out in Deuteronomy 28:15-68. Life really sucks under the curses. Like, really bad.
I saw the difference in the number of verses regarding the blessings (14), compared with the curses (54).
I thought, man, how can I do all this? What if I mess up? What if I can't obey God right away or I'm too scared to do what He asks?
It was within a day that the Holy Spirit led me to Galatians 3:13. The book of Galatians is in the New Testament, the part of the Bible that begins with Matthew. This part was all about Jesus' life on earth, and the ministry of the disciples.
The Holy Spirit was quickening to me:
Old Testament = Old Covenant. New Testament = New Covenant.
God had made a NEW Covenant with us through his son, Jesus! A New promise!
The entire chapter 3 of Galatians basically compares the Old Covenant to the New Covenant. The Old Covenant was God's LAW. The New Covenant is all about God's GRACE.
Beginning in verse 10, of Galatians 3, "For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse.."
Wow. Yes, it certainly felt like I was under a curse.
Then in verse 13, "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, by becoming a curse for us-- for it is written, 'Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree'-- so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith."
It just occurred to me, and it is ALL throughout Scripture, that Jesus accomplished SO MUCH MORE on the cross than I ever knew before. I had always thought that Jesus' death and resurrection was just basically so we can be with him in heaven someday.
But God, through the pen of Paul, clearly states that Jesus TOOK OUR CURSES on the cross.
If you read Galatians 3, and I hope you do, you will find that faith in Jesus Christ is all it takes to be redeemed from the curses (like those found in Deuteronomy 28:15-68) and to receive all the blessings of God!
Jesus gave us ALL those blessings 2000 years ago! We are ALREADY BLESSED!
Something changed in me when I realized that. I am already blessed! I have ALL God's blessings because of what Jesus did for me on the cross!
I no longer have to work for them.
AND, He took my curses! It hit me that EVERYTHING in Deuteronomy 28:15-68 was destroyed by Jesus on the cross! He took it, He destroyed it, just like he did with my sin. Erased. No more. Can't be found. It's in the sea of forgetfulness.
Deuteronomy 28, compared with Galatians 3. Study it! See for yourself!
No one told me about this. The Holy Spirit led me to this. I wasn't just feeding off of someone else's interpretation. This was my OWN. This was one of my first revelations into the Word of God. I would find later that this revelation was not just my own, but there were other believers out there that knew about this too! Woah!
But God showed it to me, personally. That's what He does. He is so good to us. So personal. Like a Father. Like a relationship.
Click here to read the next part of our Faith Journey!
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