We want to start today and share something everyone needs to hear. It’s okay to feel like you are not okay. We all walk through life with that sinking feeling that we aren’t all together or we don’t measure up to who we should be. That is just part of being human. If you feel that, you aren’t alone. For some, those feelings pop up now and then. For others, they would say, those feelings define who they are.
If you feel that way, we want to share good news with you. There is something you can do to remove and redeem all those feelings. If those feelings have made you feel like you are living in a prison, you can smash down those walls and walk out in freedom. Your life doesn’t have to become smaller and smaller. You don’t have to live in fear and watch your life slip into depression. You don’t have to live with continual guilt or shame. You don’t have to live with that feeling like God will never be pleased with you. You can be redeemed.
Today we talk about the wounds in our lives. How do we surrender our wounds and invite God into our lives to heal us? As a Pastor, we deal with people’s wounds. I have seen people walk through life with deep wounds and sadly, some people, never deal with them. It hurts them. It hurts the relationships they are in. They continue to walk in circles hoping that someday, something will change, and it never does. Almost like, if I ignore it, it will go away but it doesn’t. So, on and on they go. It can lead to excess control, affairs, burn out, addictions, broken relationships, feelings of suicide, cutting, depression, checking out in life and more.
Recently, I met ‘Fred’. Fred told me he was suffering with depression. He felt hopeless. He wondered why we do life, what is the point of it all? Life seemed meaningless to him. Those closest to him were very concerned because Fred often talked about committing suicide to end it all. We met.
I sat and listened to Fred talk. Pain and confusion just poured out of him. I asked a few questions and it was revealed that there was a huge wound in his heart from his childhood. For years, this wound lead him to believe, he would never be enough. Now as an adult, he was living out this wound. He lived in a prison of unexplainable depression and sadness. And to make it worse, Church attendance didn’t fix it. Christian activity didn’t make it go away. Christian Discipleship on how to be a better person didn’t erase the depression. The answer he thought, was suicide.
What was interesting, there was no awareness that, as an adult, he was living out the wounds of his childhood. We prayed and did some healing work and I saw God come and break through his pain. God healed Fred that day. The wound was healed. With tears in his eyes, Fred said, “I am free, I can feel it.”
The wounds of your life cannot ignored, they must be dealt with to find healing.
The way I want to deal with this subject is to jump into scripture and to share with you the big picture about life. Then, tomorrow, I want to explain how God can heal us. I want to say that you can do heart work alone with God and God can absolutely redeem you. However, sometimes it can be a big help to meet with a trained Christian counselor to help you navigate through your emotions. All that being said, the biggest problem, by far, we see as Pastors, is when people ignore the wounds of their hearts. They continue to loop in their lives while ignoring their wounds hoping they will go away. And they never do.
Here is the big picture about life in one paragraph. When God created you, He placed His glory inside of you. However, you have an enemy who has come to deeply wound you. Your enemy hoped that the wounds given to you would stop you from being able to see or understand that God’s glory is in you. Your enemy wants you to limp through life feeling worn down and defeated. So, God did something about it. God sent Jesus to heal your wounds. This is the point of Christianity.
Let’s start with creation where it all started. If you have never heard what I am about to read, it may blow your mind. Ready?
God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness.” NIV Genesis 1:26
Did you know that? You have been created with God’s glory inside of you. You are like God. Has anyone ever told you this? Is it almost weird to hear that or believe it? You might even wonder, if this is true, then why don’t I see it? And that is exactly the point. God’s glory is in you and you have an enemy who has wounded you. That wound stops you from seeing God’s glory in you. That wound is supposed to wear you down and make you believe that you are not enough.
Jesus explained it to us.
The thief ‘s purpose is to steal, kill and destroy. My purpose is to give life in all its fullness. TLB John 10:10
Satan is the thief. He is brutal. So brutal that when I tell you, you have been created with God’s glory in you, you can hardly believe it – right? You may even think, there is no way there is anything good inside me.
The apostle Paul explained it like this.
11 Take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. 12 This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels. MSG Ephesians 6:11-12
Did you know that? You are in a battle. Actually, you do know this. Think about this, life has been hard hasn’t? It’s been a struggle. There are very few days that end with you saying, “Wow, that was easy.” Life has felt like more of a life-or-death fight – right?
Think about this. In Genesis 1, we were created with God’s glory inside us. Two chapters later, Genesis 3, Satan came to destroy everything God created. And ever since then, the human race has been dazed and confused about who we are and who God is. Let me ask you, why do you think life can be so hard and disappointing? Worse yet, what have you concluded about yourself? In the book ‘Waking the Dead’, the author John Eldredge explained how most people believe they are blowing it or that God is holding out on us or some mix of both.
At this point we should be asking, “Where is God in all of this?” That is exactly the point. You have been created with God’s glory in you. Your enemy is coming to deeply wound you in hopes you won’t see God’s glory in you. So, God did something about it. God sent Jesus to heal your wounds.
Jesus explained His mission.
16 When he came to the village of Nazareth, his boyhood home, he went as usual to the synagogue on Saturday, and stood up to read the Scriptures. 17 The book of Isaiah the prophet was handed to him, and he opened it to the place where it says:
18-19 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me; he has appointed me to preach Good News to the poor; he has sent me to heal the brokenhearted and to announce that captives shall be released and the blind shall see, that the downtrodden shall be freed from their oppressors, and that God is ready to give blessings to all who come to him.”
20 He closed the book and handed it back to the attendant and sat down, while everyone in the synagogue gazed at him intently. 21 Then he added, “These Scriptures came true today!” TLB Luke 4:16-21
Did you know that? Jesus came to heal the brokenhearted. That means Jesus came to heal your heart. In general, people know that Jesus came to forgive us of our sins, that’s true. People know that Jesus came to make it possible for us to enjoy heaven, that’s true. But most people don’t know that Jesus came to heal the wounds in their heart.
Think about your church experience. What has the church talked about the most? Probably, sin. Jesus came to forgive you or your sins. And thank goodness the church does talk about that. Forgiveness of sins is the core of Christianity. What do many Christian discipleships talk about? How we need to change our behaviors to be better people. And all that stuff is good stuff to live out for sure.
But what do we do with all the wounds in our life? How do we allow Jesus to heal us? Why did Fred, someone who was a Christian and attended church, struggling with depression? Tomorrow, I want to share with you how God can heal you.
To close today, let’s recap the big picture of life and I have a big point at the end. When God created you, He placed His glory inside of you. However, you have an enemy who has come to deeply wound you. Your enemy hoped that the wounds given to you would stop you from being able to see or understand that God’s glory is in you. Your enemy wants you to limp through life feeling worn down and defeated. So, God did something about it. God sent Jesus to heal your wounds. This is the point of Christianity.
Has anyone, ever, told you there is a glory about you?
Why do you think life has been so hard?
Have you noticed that life wears you down and you want to give up?
Those wounds you have, where did they come from and why do you think they are so brutal?
What have you concluded about life? Do you think you are blowing it somehow? Do you believe God isn’t coming through for you?
Did you know that one of the main reasons Jesus came was to heal your heart?
Have you experienced Jesus healing you?
Do you know what all this means? The wound given to you wasn’t because you are not enough. It means your enemy fears God’s glory in you so much, he had to do anything to steal God’s glory in you. He has to distract you. Wear you down. Make you feel like you will never be enough. If you are wounded, it’s because your enemy fears God’s glory in you. Hear me, there is a glory about you. There is a purpose for you. There is a future for you. This changes everything.
How to experience Healing
How do we surrender our wounds and allow God to heal us? Let’s talk about three facts and the one thing you must do to experience God healing you.
It begins by realizing, the wounds that have been given to you are not your fault. They were sent by your enemy to wear you out, tear you up and devastate you. He cannot risk you seeing God’s glory in you. Those things people said about you that you still carry around with you in your mind, that wasn’t your fault. Those lies you believe and struggle with, they are hard to overcome – right? That awful moment when someone did something sinful to you, you still carry that around with you, that wasn’t your fault. When life handed you a tragedy and it forever changed how you live, that wasn’t your fault. God wasn’t getting even with you or punishing you.
If wounds handed to you are not your fault that means, asking God for forgiveness doesn’t work. Why? You didn’t do anything wrong. You don’t need forgiveness, you need healing. You don’t need more Christian activity, Christian discipleship or Christians friends, you need healed. And by the way, all those things are very good things. You no longer have to walk around thinking something is wrong with you. You can be free from guilt and shame and that feeling like you will never be enough.
It begins by understanding, it’s not your fault and you need to be healed.
Secondly, understand there is a glory about you. Satan came to steal it by wounding you, and Jesus came to restore it.
15 Yes, even today when they read Moses’ writings, their hearts are covered with that veil, and they do not understand. 16 But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord – who is the Spirit – makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image. NLT 2 Corinthians 3:15-18
Isn’t that awesome? Where God is, there is freedom. When you come to God and invite Him into your life, God redeems His glory in you. That’s the point of Christianity. God sent Jesus to redeem you. Redeem God’s glory in you. That’s amazing. Maybe Christianity has less to do with fitting into a formula of rules and more about redemption.
If your friends and family knew that Christianity was about redemption and not about fitting into a religious system, would that change their interest in God?
Third, understand you are in a battle. A battle to reclaim God’s glory in your life. The battle is over your heart.
Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. NIV Proverbs 4:23
This should change how we view Christianity. The Christian life is not about doing the least possible, feeling like you never add up and hoping you are forgiven enough to make it to heaven. It’s not about living out religious formulas and making others believe you have it all together. It’s about being honest about your heart condition and above all else, getting a healthy heart. It’s something you are going to have to do. You will need to fight. We need to get honest.
Three facts. Understand, the wound in your life isn’t your fault. Understand there is a glory about you and your enemy is trying steal it and Jesus came to restore it. Understand your battle, above all else, is getting honest and dealing with your heart.
Here is what you do. Now that you know those three facts, it’s time to enter into God healing you.
I want to read this verse in two translations, New International Version and The Living Bible.
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. NIV 2 Corinthians 5:21
For God took the sinless Christ and poured into him our sins. Then, in exchange, he poured God’s goodness into us! TLB 2 Corinthians 5:21
This means, when you invite God into your life, God pulls all the wounds and sin out of your life, He crosses through time and pours them into Jesus the day He died. And at the same time, God crosses through time and pulls all the goodness and righteousness out of Jesus, and pours them into you, today.
When you believe this and pray, God can heal you. Before we pray, I want you to think about the wound you have in your life. Later in this prayer, I will ask you to share that wound with Jesus.
“Jesus, I believe scripture. I believe You are the Son of God. I believe You came to die for me and break the curse of sin in my life. I confess that I need You. I confess I can’t do this on my own. I confess I have wounds in my life. Please come into my life, forgive me, and take away all my sin. Please come into my life and pour your goodness and righteousness over my soul. Jesus, I invite you to heal the wound in my heart, the thing I just can’t get over. [Explain what it is here]. Jesus, I give this wound to You and pray that You would heal me, redeem me and restore me. In Jesus’ Name, amen.”
Please hear me, it’s okay to not be okay. We all feel that way. And, it’s okay to do something about it. Here are three facts.
The wounds of your life are not your fault. You don’t need forgiveness, you need healing.
There is a glory in you and Satan has come to steal it. How? By wounding you. And that is why Jesus came. To heal you.
Christianity isn’t about fitting into a rule following system; it’s a full-on battle. A battle to keep your heart healthy.
Here’s what you do. You enter into God saving you. You pray and ask God to do what only He can do.
Remember, if you are wounded it’s because your enemy fears God’s glory in you.
Let’s close with a few questions.
How have you dealt with your wounds?
Do you ignore your wounds and roll into the next week hoping something changes and it never does?
Do you ignore your wounds and expect people, spouses and leaders to do what only God can do?
What is coming out of you more? Healing? Grace? Love? Or excess control, affairs, burned out, addictions, broken relationships, feelings of suicide, cutting, depression, checking out in life and more.
Have you entered into God saving you? Have you experienced God pouring Jesus’ goodness and righteousness over you?
Next, we give you a test to know if you are wounded.
I’m not wounded! And that’s your sign
We want to give you a quick test. Actually, two tests. One test to see if you are wounded. One test to see if you are believing lies about life. In either case, wounds or lies, they have the ability to steal, kill and destroy God’s glory in you.
Remember when Jesus said this?
The thief ‘s purpose is to steal, kill and destroy. My purpose is to give life in all its fullness. TLB John 10:10
Think about this. If your enemy, Satan, can’t do anything about God, if he can’t do anything about God’s glory in you, what does he do? He will try to wound you and trick you with a lie to you. His hope is to so wear you down, you will give up hope.
The biggest challenge for most, is to be honest and transparent. Most people ignore their wounds or lies. They push through the years and never deal with how wounded they are or the lie they are living out. Over time, their enemy is able to steal, kill and destroy God’s glory in them. Stuffing your wounds never works. Pretending, being fake, wearing a mask is an exhausting way to live. Not confronting the lies we may be living out can be devastating. We must surrender our wounds and invite God to heal us.
Test to see if we may be wounded.
- Your personal conversation with God and time to just relax and enjoy God is infrequent.
- In your relationship with God you most often experience shame, condemnation, a sense of being disqualified or unable to please him.
- Your walk with God is reduced to a focus on external behaviors [with principles, lists of do’s and don’ts, more information] rather than internal realities [desires, fears, emotions].
- Most of your Christian activity is done under pressure.
- You lose sight of the way things really are.
- You don’t see yourself as having a crucial role in God’s story.
- You no longer believe or live as if the world is at war.
- Life becomes exclusively routine, mundane and you live in a malaise or a fog.
- Work or career is mostly drudgery.
- You have little passion for beauty or adventure.
- You rarely belly laugh or weep.
- Men are bored, have accepted or hidden addictions/habits [compulsive behaviors, excessive behaviors, pornography, anger, etc.].
- Women are too busy, have accepted or hidden addictions/habits [compulsive behaviors, excessive behaviors, volunteering too much, romance stories, etc.].
- You become preoccupied with you, your needs, your desires, your wounds.
- These things define your life: excessive control, gossip, jealousy, fear, depression, etc.
If you said ‘Yes’, many times that can be an indicator that the blows from your enemy have worn you down and wounded you. Be honest with God, pray and enter into His salvation for you. If you need to, see someone to help you navigate your heart condition.
Test to see if we may be living out a lie.
- I must have everyone’s approval.
- I am not worthy of love or being treated with respect.
- I have no hope for the future.
- If people knew the real me, they wouldn’t like me.
- There is nothing I can do about my hurts in life. I must stay a victim.
- My past defines my future.
- It is easier to avoid problems than face them.
- I won’t get hurt if I stay to myself.
- I can’t be happy unless things go my way.
- My problems are because of other people. It’s their fault.
- I can have it all.
- I am only as good as what I do and what I accomplish.
- Life should be easy; life should be fair.
- I shouldn’t have to wait for what I want.
- God’s love must be earned.
- The Christian life is about God giving me the American dream of success, health and comfort.
- God hates sin and the sinner.
- God cares more about performance than obedience.
- If I do good things, God will protect me from pain.
- All my problems are from my sin.
- It’s my duty to always meet the needs of others.
- Good Christians don’t deal with anger, depression or anxiety.
- God won’t come through for me, so I have to take control and feel that stress.
- God can’t work through my life if I am not perfect or strong.
- I don’t have to fully surrender to God and God will still bless me.
If you believe anyone of these lies, it is shaping how you live. Your enemy may have tricked you and you are being worn down and struggling to see God’s glory in you. Be honest with God, pray and enter into His salvation for you. If you need to, see someone to help you navigate your heart condition.
Let’s close with the words of Jesus.
The thief ‘s purpose is to steal, kill and destroy. My purpose is to give life in all its fullness. TLB John 10:10
Next, we want to share with you how you can live and never allow the wounds of life to control you.
How to never allow wounds to control you
Today we want to talk about how you can live and never allow the wounds of life to control you. Does this sound impossible?
Do you remember the words of Jesus?
Your enemy waits until someone hurts you. Why? Because when you are hurt, you will be much more vulnerable to believe lies. You are much more open to believe lies about God. Lies about you. Lies about other people. Hurts and lies are a perfect formula to create something toxic. We call it unforgiveness and it will erode all your joy, your freedom and it will leave you feeling miserable.
Think about it. When are you at your worst? When someone hurts you. All kinds of emotions come out. We feel lonely. We feel rejected. We feel angry. We can’t think clearly. We don’t know why God would allow us to be hurt. We think people are against us. Because of the hurt, we are tempted to build a wall around our heart so no one could ever hurt us again. Please hear me, hurt and lies can create unforgiveness. It is toxic and it will ruin you.
That’s why Paul wrote,
Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of malicious behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. NLT Ephesians 4:31-32
We need to be actively and aggressively forgiving.
If you forgive someone’s sins, they’re gone for good. If you don’t forgive sins, what are you going to do with them? MSG John 20:22-23
I love that question. If you have been hurt and you have never pulled out that hurt, what have you done with it? Is holding onto that hurt helping you? Is holding onto that hurt ruining your ability to be in healthy relationships? When you walk with unforgiveness, do you love more? Do you live in freedom? Do you live with joy? Do you have more passion and energy? Nope. You can’t do it. It’s too toxic for us to handle. We simply have no ability to hold onto the sins of others. That’s Jesus’ job, not ours.
That’s why forgiving is one of the clear markers of being a disciple of Christ. When you forgive, you are saying, I am not the judge, God is. He is my defender. He is my protector. My role is to love. I’m not going to allow the toxic nature of unforgiveness to ruin me.
3 very common misconceptions about forgiveness.
Misconception #1.) I haven’t truly forgiven until I forget about what happened – WRONG. You can truly forgive and still remember but, you shouldn’t emotionally hang onto it. After you forgive, if you find that you are emotionally hanging onto it, forgive again.
Misconception #2.) If I forgive, that means I must minimize the offense and pain that what was caused – WRONG. To forgive someone never minimizes or condones what the person did. It simply means you are not allowing that hurt to ruin the rest of your life.
Misconception #3.) If I forgive, that means I resume the relationship without changes – WRONG. There is a difference between forgiving and restoring. To forgive means you are addressing the damage that was done to your heart. To restore a relationship means you take time to build trust.
Let’s ask questions.
Are you hanging onto the hurt and sin of others?
Is your heart filled with a mix of hurt and lies? Has unforgiveness gone toxic in you?
Who do you need to forgive? Others? God? Yourself?
To close out how we surrender our wounds, I am thrilled to tell you, God created you with His glory in you. I am sad to tell you that you have an enemy coming to take you out. But that is why Jesus came, to heal your wounds. Please see that if you are wounded, it isn’t because you aren’t enough, it’s because your enemy fears God’s glory in you.
If you are wounded, please don’t ignore it, it will only get worse and it will forever worsen your life.
Remember, the wound given to you wasn’t because you are not enough. It means your enemy fears God’s glory in you so much, he had to do anything to steal God’s glory in you. He has to distract you. Wear you down. Make you feel like you will never be enough. If you are wounded, it’s because your enemy fears God’s glory in you. Hear me, there is a glory about you. There is a purpose for you. There is a future for you. This changes everything.