“People take pleasure in anything they say; but a word at the right time, how good it is!” Proverbs 15:23
I remember the very first time I stumbled across a scripture that turned my world upside down in the best of ways. I was a very young woman at the time, struggling with depression. My soul felt heavy every single day. Getting out of bed seemed like an enormous effort. I used to think of my depression as a slimy pit, one that I had somehow fallen into and no matter how hard I tried to claw my way out, I would lose my grip and slide right back down in that gloomy pit again. It was exhausting and debilitating.
During this time, I began studying the Bible. One day I stumbled across the following passage: “I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.” (Psalm 40:1-3).
My eyes brimmed with tears that silently fell down my face the moment I started reading. By the end, I was openly sobbing. That God had used my word struck me so deeply. Maybe He did understand, and maybe He could move me forward in ways I seemed incapable of on my own. That one powerful moment became an early step in the much larger journey toward healing for me, a journey that has taken me down some remarkable roads.
That’s what a spiritual truth does. It grabs a hold of the deepest pieces of who you are and speaks to you there. Those words and the truths they contain offer real peace, meaningful hope. Ultimately, when I finally internalize them and make them my own, they set me free and take me to new places. They take my list of all I am not and replace it, item by item, with all I am created to be. They become my living hope, the very words I cling to in the midst of the stormy waves that try to engulf me.
My personal spiritual truths are not all scripture. Sometimes it’s a quote that really hits me and becomes a salient reminder of what God is trying to do in my life; sometimes it’s a song lyric or even a line from a book. Yet each one I find becomes a tool in my arsenal, something I can use to fight the enemy back. I use them to replace each lie with what is true in my life – that I am valued, capable, competent, loved. That I am worthy of success and blessing because God has declared me to be so. That I can keep swinging when I feel I have no strength left because God is my strength. And most importantly, I have something so worthwhile lying ahead of me that is worth all of the time and effort. Heaven.
How do you know when you’ve stumbled across a spiritual truth? You’ll know because it’s the one that causes your eyes to well up, or your spine to straighten a little, or even the one you want to throw away from you in disgust, but can’t help but go back to later when you’re ready to receive it. In other words, it’s the one that reaches deep into the heart of who you are.
Pay attention to those truths, even if you don’t understand yet why it moves you so. Pray about it, focus on it, invite God into it, and watch Him begin to use those very truths to slowly move you forward again on your journey. Not perfectly. But consistently. Post them around you, carry them with you, do whatever it takes to keep them in front of you so that when the enemy whips out that negative list, the one that tells you all that you are not, you can be reminded of all that you are before Jesus. After all, His voice is the only one that matters.
For Further Thought: It’s much easier to find your spiritual truths than you would think. Go to a place like biblegateway.com and look up wordslike “unfailing” or “love” or “precious” and you will find scriptures containing that word. Another great way is to read books of the Bible that focus on the topic you want to learn about (forgiveness or overcoming trial, for example). Some Bibles will give a brief summary of the main lessons from each book right before the first chapter; some put it at the back. The website above will give you topical lessons as well. Both Psalms and Proverbs are also full of nuggets of wisdom and contain many versus about God’s love and vision for you. Don’t have a Bible? Most churches will give you one for free. You can also order a free Bible from biblesforamerica.org. This week, make space to find that scripture/quote/phrase that really, really speaks to you and post it somewhere conspicuously.
Prayer: Lord, thank you that even when I am faithless about possibilities and who I can be, you promise me you are always faithful to me. As I work to overcome my broken thinking and actions, help me to remember Your promise that You will give me strength, growth and peace as I learn to lean more deeply into You. Thank You for loving me in that way. Help me to see what it is You are trying to teach me versus what I think I need to learn, and help me to see Your mighty right hand reaching toward me in my life today. I love you, Father. Amen.