All of us are prone to doubt our faith at times—especially during life’s struggles, but the thoughts we think during those times are just as important as our outward actions.
Why? Because our thoughts shape and mold our outlook on life in radical ways. You could say your thoughts are paving the way for your future. That’s why the Bible talks so much about capturing our thoughts and renewing our minds according to truth.
In my faith and in my conversations with college students—these are a few of the most prevalent lies we tell ourselves. If you’re prone to think any (or all) of these, I encourage you to battle those thoughts with Scripture at every turn. It takes daily discipline to beat these dangerous lies out of our minds, but it’s a battle that’s totally worth it, because you’re worth it—because He is worth it!
1. God is punishing me.
This thought pops up when things in your life take a turn for the worse, but if you’re a Christian it’s simply not true. As a son or daughter of the King, God’s hand toward you is always loving and compassionate. That’s a promise from Scripture. If we’re in Christ, God doesn’t count our sins against us. There are times when God disciplines his children, for sure, but he doesn’t punish us—he’s trying to get our attention back on him. God wants to bring all of us to the realization that He is the prize and he’s always waiting with open arms for his children. Remember the parable of the prodigal son? Everyone was expecting the father to reject his son, but instead he threw a massive party. When it comes to God’s children (when it comes to YOU!), he’s a party planner not a punisher. Never forget that.
2. God doesn’t like me as much as ___________.
The comparison game is a dangerous mind-game to play. It happens when we see our friends—or enemies—doing better than we are. Maybe they got the raise, or the job or the boyfriend/girlfriend that we thought we deserved? The next natural thought—God must likes them better. This is a lie. God doesn’t play favorites. Life happens and circumstances don’t always match up—in fact, the rain falls on the wicked and the righteous and the sun shines on both. God loves you deeply and that furious love is not attached to your circumstances, but your status as a child of God—and your future as a full-blooded heir to the King of Kings.
3. God can’t use me because ___________.
So you blew it. Big time. Maybe many times. Now you think God is done with you. Wrong. Throughout the Bible God shows us that he takes the undesirables—the prostitutes, the weak, the murderers, the greedy—and turns them into disciples. Now, your past might disqualify you for some positions or ministry vocations, but it never disqualifies you from being used in a powerful, life-changing way for God. The only prerequisite for being used by God is saying, “Here I am, Lord.” That’s it—four simple words. Maybe you need to say this simple prayer right now?
4. God is mean.
Sometimes in the back of our minds we believe God might be an angry old curmudgeon who’s bent on keeping us from enjoying life. Maybe you picture God as the old man who yells at you to stay off his lawn—and you’re just trying to avoid him or keep him happy. This, my friends, is not the God of the Bible. The God of the Bible is the God who sings over his children (Zephaniah 3:17). God doesn’t want to smack your knuckles with a ruler; he wants to sing a song of affection and love over you. The next time you think about God as an angry old man, picture a loving father singing a song over you with great compassion and tenderness. I go back to this verse often. It’s a powerful reminder.
5. God is holding back good things from me.
This is a small tweak to the previous thought. Maybe you don’t think of God as mean, but down deep, you don’t think he really likes you and he wants to deprive you of good things. This is dead wrong. In fact, God lavishes us with his love and grace. God wired you and he knew you before you were even born—and he demonstrated that love, supremely, in the sacrifice of his son for you. Man, he doesn’t just like you, he’s crazy about you. He knows what you need and when you need it. He’s the best gift giver—and he’s the actual gift. God isn’t holding out on you, but he’s waiting for you to realize you already won the lottery with him. This thought pattern comes from entitlement and we need to crush it with gratitude.
Are there any other thoughts you’re tempted to believe about God that just aren’t true?