To overcome anything in our life–whether panic attacks, fear, anxiety, depression, lust, anger, drugs, alcohol–we must know the truth. It is absolutely essential to find freedom. Jesus said, “You shall know the truth, the truth will set you free” (John 8:32).
As we talked about last week, the enemy can keep us from freedom through his lies. I believe that his only weapon against us is his ability to lie to us and get us to agree with him. For example, I believe sickness can only come upon us when we believe a lie. Our bodies are amazing. God created them very carefully and very specifically to respond to thoughts, ideas, beliefs. You thoughts can create a physical effect in your body. I’ll prove it.
Think about a lemon for a second. Imagine holding it, looking it, smelling it. Not that strong of a smell. Now imagine taking a knife and the cutting the lemon in two. The smell is a bit stronger. Now, take a big, juicy bite of the lemon.
Did your mouth water thinking about it? Probably. Where’s the lemon? There is none. Just me putting a thought into your mind was able to produce a biological, chemical reaction in your body. Your body’s chemical balance was physically affected by a thought I put into your mind. If that’s true, how much more can the enemy affect your body’s biological response?
Thoughts, ideas, beliefs, emotions, feelings, painful memories–all of these can produce a physical response in the body. Panic attacks and anxiety are a physical response. Your body is reaching this “fight or flight” mode, and it’s preparing to face a dangerous situation. Our mind has convinced us that something dangerous is just around the corner, so our body responds. Our heart starts to palpitate, beating faster and faster. Our breath gets shorter, more shallow for a boost of energy. The muscles prepare to run or fight by pulling in the blood flow, so our hands and feet start to tingle and get cold. Our body releases more acid into the stomach. It’s trying to rush the digestive process so that you’ll have more energy to face the dangerous situation.
Your body is responding to what your mind is telling it, whether it’s true or not.
One of the key tactics that I often use when panic hits is to remind myself that no matter what my body is doing or how it’s responding, it’ll pass. It’s just a physical response. It may feel like I’m going crazy or losing it, or having a heart attack, but I realize that my body is reacting to a lie. My body is trying to get into this “fight or flight” mode. So, I slow down my breathing. I remind myself that it’s just a physical response. And, I start praying and asking God to show me what lie is triggering this.
I heard a story from Bob Hamp, our church’s freedom pastor, that really illustrates how truth can really set us free, even within our physical bodies. He was once counseling a woman who was mad at men for the way they treated her, and she was angry with women for not protecting her. She was pretty messed up. Besides the addictions and outbursts of anger that plagued her life, she had become genderless. She hated men, and she thought women were weak, so she sided with neither. She wore genderless clothes, avoided contact with people and considered herself neither female nor male.
Over time, Bob helped her through the anger issues and the addiction issues and was making great progress. One day, he looked her and said, “God made you woman.” Her face contorted and the anger started to rise up. “Women are weak!” she spouted back. Bob pointed to a few women she knew who were strong, who were good leaders, and made good decisions. She started to soften a bit. He went on to explain to her that physically, God created her as a woman. Her body was that of a woman, whether she believed it or not. The truth started to sink in.
A few days after that session, Bob gets a call from the woman. “I need your help, Bob.” He was excited to help. “What do you need?” he asked. After a bit of awkward silence, the woman says, “Well, I just started my cycle.” Bob wasn’t sure what to do. “And, uhh, how can I help?” This woman was 36 years old. Surely, she knew what to do. Her response shocked him. “I’ve never had a period before. This is my first. I don’t know what to do.” The truth was starting to affect her physically. Her body was starting to line up with how God created it.
What an amazing illustration of how a lie can make our bodies not function the way God created them to function. And, how the truth can set us free, how the truth can help our physical bodies line up with how God created us to live life.
We’ve spent a lot of time talking about truth and lies, their source and how they can affect us. I want to encourage you this week to really dig deep, seeking God and asking him to show you any lies that are at work in us. And, I’m not exempt. I’ll be spending this week praying, fasting, digging into some lies that are affecting my thoughts, my emotions, and my physical body.
Prayer: “Father, you are the Source of all truth. Help me find the source of the lies that are at work in my thinking patterns, my memories, my thoughts, my decisions. Show me through scripture, through dreams, through counsel, through your still, small voice what lies are at work in me. And then, through the power of Christ, help me tear down those lies and replace them with truth.”
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