Understanding Denial (Chapter 6)


Chapter 6 recording on Denial
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Next live webinar: We’ll be praying next Tuesday, April 22nd at 9:30. Please join us!

I have taught these workshops for over four years, and each workshop brings something new and different. My heart is stirred this workshop over the subject of Denial, and the exposure of our hidden hurts and wounds. That’s because it is the BEGINNING of ALL freedom! God is the Great Physician, and so His movements have a surgical and healing design. He is not angry or offended by anything that is buried. He is not frustrated or impatient in His pursuit of our needs. He is deeply, deeply stirred to bring freedom and wholeness to us. If you could see Him, He would be like a Warrior Prince, coming to our aid and rescue, cherishing us as a prize. He wants to rescue us from the very things that have harmed us. He is a God who is passionate about redemption. What a wonderful reality to think upon as we enter into Resurrection Sunday!

At times, this process can hurt so deeply we might need to seek an additional resource other than this workshop. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

I have included an excerpt regarding the Holy Spirit from Chapter 1 of A House that Grace Built. I ask that you read this to prepare your heart for the remainder of this process. That’s because I feel the biggest distortion and disruption of healing is a misunderstanding of the Person of the Holy Spirit. I encourage you to do a further study on your own to get comfortable with relying on Him for assistance.  Next Tuesday we will devote the class to a short teaching on prayer and then we will pray together.  I look forward to having you join!

Excerpt from Chapter 1 of A House that Grace Built

Who is the Holy Spirit?

God is love. Love is something we receive in the form of the Holy Spirit. Just as we access electricity when we plug an appliance into an outlet, our lives are meant to be empowered by God’s Spirit. In fact, apart from Him, we are as ineffective as a broken refrigerator or television set. Our true purpose takes the “energy” resource of the Holy Spirit to make us “work” as our Creator intended.

The Word of God teaches that the Holy Spirit is a person who indwells us as a believer of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit is the life of God Himself in invisible form, coming to live inside our physical bodies. Since God is holy—His presence and power is only free to move in us in a righteous state. That’s why sin and strongholds can cause His power to be “cut off.” In a little while we’ll learn that doesn’t mean we have to be “perfect,” but we do need to be standing in the covering of grace.

Most Christians (and non-believers) have a distorted understanding of the work of the Holy Spirit. Either they’ve been exposed to Christians who have radicalized it in a scary way, or they have truly never seen the power behind the Holy Spirit at work to verify His influence accurately. It’s important to understand that the Holy Spirit has a multitude of functions in our lives. In fact, after Jesus tangibly made His presence on earth, He told His followers that it was actually better for Him to go back to Heaven so that they could receive the Holy Spirit (John 16: 7).

While the Word of God educates, equips, and provides the instruction we need to live this life, it takes the work of the Holy Spirit to make that truth a reality. This means we aren’t merely meant to memorize Bible verses, but to come into contact with an actual person (John 5:29).

Let’s look at what the Word of God says about the purposes of the Holy Spirit.

He leads us into truth.
And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. – John 14:16-17

When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future. He will bring me glory by telling you whatever he receives from me. All that belongs to the Father is mine; this is why I said, ‘The Spirit will tell you whatever he receives from me.’ – John 16: 13-15

He convicts people of sin.
And when he comes, he will convict the world of its sin. – John 16:8

He teaches us (using the Word of God as the textbook).
But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you. – John 14:26

He fills us with His Spirit and resources.
For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. – Romans 5:5

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. – Galatians 5:22-23

He helps us understand and comprehend truth.
But it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit. For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets. No one can know a person’s thoughts except that person’s own spirit, and no one can know God’s thoughts except God’s own Spirit. And we have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us . . . Instead, we speak words given to us by the Spirit, using the Spirit’s words to explain spiritual truths. – 1 Corinthians 2:10-13

He affirms our identity in Christ.
So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. – Romans 8:15-16

He places a sense of eternity in our hearts.
And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. – Romans 8:23

He intercedes, comforts, and assists in our weaknesses and pain.
And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. – Romans 8:26-28

Defeating Obstacles
In seeing the purposes of God’s Spirit, we can begin to recognize how our own efforts actually competed and stood in His way. Oftentimes, we unknowingly mimicked His work in our own strength. Thus, our need to control, manage, fix, and manipulate (even though well intended), often caused us to “grieve” Him from being activated and powerful in our lives (Ephesians 4:30). With the power of the Holy Spirit inhibited, we were left vulnerable to exist in the world through our own self-preservation. We lived a powerless lifestyle.

The truth is that life is extremely difficult, and we will always fail if we don’t have the power of God working on our behalf. That’s because life apart from Him doesn’t work—it only produces varying levels of death and destruction. The evidence of that exists all around us in different ways.

But the difficulties don’t end there. The Bible explains that we live in a spiritual realm. As we will learn in Chapter 11, this is a realm that exists simultaneously with the physical realm. In fact, everything here in this world is influenced by that spiritual realm because God is Spirit and He created the physical from the spiritual. Therefore, whether we choose to accept it or not, we are in fact engaged in a battle against a very real spiritual Enemy (Ephesians 6:12).

Understanding the Enemy’s Scheme
Just as the Holy Spirit is a real person who holds real power, Satan is an actual fallen angel who was eradicated from Heaven (Isaiah 14:12-16). The Holy Spirit is called the Spirit of Truth (John 16:13, John 15:26, John 14:17, 1 John 5:6). Satan is called the Father of Lies (John 8:44). Although he’d like us to discount his presence in our lives, he isn’t a “pretend” villain. His hatred for God and for righteousness provokes him to try to kill, steal, and destroy the human race (John 10:10). Satan and his army of demons are out to dismantle and discredit God’s truth. They want to tear down anything God is building in our lives in the name of love and pervert it into something that will bring devastation.

Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. – 1 Peter 5:8-9

A physical army engaged in war seeks to claim a territory of land during a battle. Just the same, Satan seeks to gain “territory” in the battlefield of our hearts (see Chapter 15). This happens when we believe lies about God, ourselves, and others. Whatever lie we believe affects how we think, feel and act. Therefore, our belief stands in direct correlation with the outcomes of our lives. Satan’s lies are strategically placed in our lives to “devour” God’s truths. By doing so, we cannot live and capture the power of God’s promises and truths.

As subtle as it may be, when we reject or discount God’s love, we are performing the exact same behavior that occurred in the Garden of Eden. As soon as we believe Satan’s lies over God, we give him authority in that area of our lives. For example, Satan will come alongside us and point out that whatever God is doing as “wrong,” “invalid” or “not demonstrative” of God’s love. He will also seek to accuse us and tear us down at the core of our identity. His ultimate goal is to take each promise and each action of God’s love and cause us to “water it down,” doubt it, or rebel against. As the motion of God moves towards us, Satan comes ready to “catch” that truth and love and re-arrange it before us as something else.

Some of the ways Satan does this includes:

  • He binds us in the counterfeit version of codependent love, convincing us it’s the “solution.”
  • He tells us that God’s promises belong to other people, but don’t apply to us personally.
  • He points our flaws, shortcomings, and sin issues to accuse us that we “don’t measure up” (shame).
  • He reminds us of our broken, human relationships as evidence that God must not be interested or involved with us—or will reject us in the same manner because we are unlovable.
  • He wants us to believe that God doesn’t really love us, but is more interested in our performance for Him.
  • He invokes fear into our lives and wants us to focus on what God wants to take from us; thus, we never want to fully surrender to Him.
  • He corrupts God’s character and taunts us by saying God has unloving plans for us, is “tricking” us, or has a mean way about Him.
  • He blames God for all the things that are not right in our lives, when it is in fact the result of Satan and sin.

The even greater threat is created when God’s Word loses personal impact. The more we doubt, the less influence God’s Spirit will have in our lives. Therefore, as much as we know and read the Bible, it will have no power to change us. That’s because when our experience doesn’t match our theology, we will be prone to question God’s truth at a core level. We can have a God who claims to love us, but who apparently can’t really do anything for us. In the moment of need, we are dragging around watered-down sentiments, hopeful fantasies, and fairy-tale dreams.

The Lies of Codependence

Codependence consisted of deep systematic lies that eventually became our truths. The lies were subtle enough that we continued believing them and living in them. Unknowing, they kept us away from God’s authentic love. Learning to move over into God’s system of love may take time. However, as we learn to recognize and live in His promises, nothing can change or separate His love from us (Romans 8:39). When God’s system and truths become reality to us, they produce a confident, unshakable foundation in our lives. We will be entirely altered as our lives begin to align with truth. From there, our lives will produce different activities than they did in our codependence. Eventually, we can grow and become who God created us to be.

Choosing Truth

Living God’s way is about a choice we’ll be asked to make every day for the rest of our lives. Since God operates by free will, He won’t impose or force us to live under His terms. Therefore, we must desire and want the changes to occur in order for us to make that transfer. A key tool is learning how to filter our day-to-day choices and issues through truth. In codependence, we unknowingly rejected God’s truth and accepted the Enemy’s lies. In recovery, we must reverse that pattern and learn to accept God’s truth and reject the Enemy’s lies. In the “heat of the battle,” we always have a choice. Exercising that choice will determine the entire outcome of our lives.

A Prayer to Choose

Father God,
Help me have the faith to believe that You are capable of taking care of my life. Help me to see that you are far more sufficient than I am in managing and dealing with the difficulties that surround me. When I’m tempted to do things in my own strength, I pray that You rattle my “crumbling” home enough to make me jump into Your arms. Look inside my heart and show me where I doubt, disbelieve, or live life apart from You. Reveal Yourself to me. I give You my hand in faith and ask that You would pick me up like a child and lead me into the life that You have designed for me. I thank You in advance.
In Jesus’ name. Amen.