November 22, 2016
“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32 (NIV)
There’s a simple, yet incredibly dangerous little script many of us play in our minds. It might even be one of the biggest things that holds us back from feeling fulfilled in our relationship with God. It’s a script tangled in a lie that typically goes something like this: I could really be happy and fulfilled if only I had …
… a skinnier body.
… a husband.
… a husband who was more tender and romantic.
… more money.
… a better personality.
… a baby.
I don’t know what your “If only I had” statements are, but I do know this: None of them will bring fulfillment. They might bring temporary moments of happiness … but not true fulfillment. Apart from a thriving relationship with God, even if we got everything on our list, there would still be a hollow gap in our soul.
So instead of saying, “If only I had” and filling in the blank with some person, possession or position, we must make the choice to replace that statement with God’s truth. John 8:32 confirms just how powerful truth is: “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Here are some examples that have helped me battle the temptation to let people, possessions or positions take God’s place in my life.
I no longer say, “If only I had a daddy who loved me …” Instead, I say, “Psalm 68:5 promises God is a father to the fatherless.”
Maybe your gap isn’t left by an absent father but by a friend who hurt you. Or a husband who left you. Or the children you’ve longed to have, and you still don’t. Whatever that gap is, God is the perfect fit for your emptiness.
Pray this paraphrase of Luke 1:78-79: “Because of the tender mercy of my God by which the rising sun will come to me from heaven — to shine on my darkness and in what feels like the shadow of death to me — I will find peace.”
I no longer say, “If only I had more possessions …” Instead, I recite Matthew 6:19-21, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth and nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (NASB)
Any possession I ever long for, no matter how good it may seem, will only be good for a limited time. In light of eternity, every possession is in the process of breaking down, becoming devalued, and will eventually be taken from us. If I set my heart solely on acquiring more things, I’ll feel more vulnerable with the possibility of loss.
Possessions are meant to be appreciated and used to bless others. They were never meant to be identity markers. It’s not wrong to enjoy the possessions we have as long as we don’t depend on them for our heart’s security.
I no longer say, “If only I had a better position …” Instead, I say the words of Psalm 119:105,“Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.” (NASB). I don’t need a better position to get where I should go. I don’t have to figure out my path and jockey to get ahead. I need God’s Word to guide me. As I follow Him and honor Him step-by-step, I can be assured that I’m right where He wants me, to be doing what He wants me to do.
Whatever “If only I had” statement you’re struggling with, you can replace it with solid truths from Scripture that will never leave you empty.
When God’s Word gets inside of us, it becomes the new way we process life. It rearranges our thoughts, our motives, our needs and our desires. Our soul was tailor-made to be filled with God and His truth, therefore, it seeps into every part of us and fills us completely.
Dear Lord, I acknowledge only You can fill those empty places in my heart. Help me stop the “If only I had” cycle and instead be set free with Your truth. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Psalm 119:30-32, “I have chosen the way of truth; I have set my heart on your laws. I hold fast to your statutes, LORD; do not let me be put to shame. I run in the path of your commands, for you have broadened my understanding.” (NIV)
Have you ever felt like God is giving others exactly what you've been longing for, for a really long time? Lysa TerKeurst understands. That's why she wrote her new Bible study, Finding I AM: How Jesus Fully Satisfies the Cry of Your Heart. Through this study, you’ll discover how to trade feelings of emptiness and depletion for a more personal fulfillment from knowing who Jesus is. Pre-order today to receive limited-time resources that won’t be available once the study releases!
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
What “If only I had” statements do you struggle with? What are some verses you could use to replace these lies?
© 2016 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.
Originally published Tuesday, 22 November 2016.