Soul Detox, Chapter 1

Chapter 1: Deception Infection: Telling Ourselves the Truth

Some quotes:

As we see ourselves through the lens of our experiences, beliefs and perspectives, we all have our blind spots.

No matter how objective we hope to be, our viewpoint is always distorted to some–sometimes large–degree.

The longer we view ourselves through a distorted                                                           lens, the more likely we are to believe a distorted truth.

Groeschel really has a great way of grabbing the reader’s attention. I’ve already been underlining like crazy.

In a subsection entitled, “Flattery Will Get You Somewhere” Groeschel goes on to tell us that since we can only see ourselves from only one perspective it’s nearly impossible to get an accurate picture of ourselves.

He’s totally right! Sometimes, well almost all the time, it takes other people to see what we can’t see in ourselves. We are in such denial that we have a problem that eventually we begin to believe the lie.

So why can’t we see these toxins in our own lives? Groeschel points us to the Bible where David writes in Psalm 36:2-3 that “in their own eyes they flatter themselves too much to detect or hate their sin. The words of their mouths are wicked and deceitful; they fail to act wisely or do good.” We fail to notice because we become so good at self deception.

close up of white syringe

Basically, we manufacture our own poison and administer regular doses to ourselves.

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

WOW!! That quote really spoke to me. We get so caught up in the struggles and stressors of life and fail to pay attention to that small little white lie that we say won’t hurt anyone. Then the lie becomes bigger and bigger and soon we aren’t even under the realization that something is wrong. We believe we are fine. It’s the other people who are wrong. “I don’t have a problem, it’s you with the problem.”

We deny, suppress or minimize what is true. By default, we assert, adorn and elevate what is false. When we finally see the truth, we think the truth is a lie.

Groeschel presents another question to the reader: “how do we begin identifying our self told lies and replacing them with the truth?” According to Groeschel, we do a very thorough internal self examination. Spiritual toxins will “infuse your thinking as you wade through our culture.” We must examine our life and eliminate these toxins.

  • Examine your life for toxic behaviors–anything that distracts you from your eternal mission
  • Look within  for toxic emotions–any deep feelings that lead you away from God and not toward Him.
  • Take a long look at unhealthy consumptions–the media you consume, the web sites you visit, the people you spend the most time with.

I know that with me, social media definitely takes up a large chunk of my time. It’s something I’m trying to work on. I went on a media fast a few years ago. It’s probably time for another one.

I also struggle with my emotions sometimes. I allow Satan to use my weaknesses and have been known to fall into a deep depression. Being bipolar, sometimes I have a hard time with my emotions. Luckily, I’m on a medication that has me stable currently. If I sense a shift in emotions or if I begin to feel uneasy I try to focus my attention on the good things in life and what God has blessed me with.

Groeschel warns us that “the closer you get to uncovering a toxic killer in your life, the harder the enemy will fight to keep his grip.”

He’s right! Satan is always on the offense, looking to bring us down in any way he can.

When you clearly identify what is slowly killing you, you can take the toxic influences to Jesus for cleansing, purifying and healing.

There comes a time when we must come clean with these toxic behaviors. Because once we do, once we surrender it all to Christ, we will be set free! God’s truth sets us free!!

 

 

 

Soul Detox

I’m getting ready to start reading (again) Soul Detox: Clean Living in a Contaminated World by Craig Groeschel. I read this book awhile back but feel the need to reread it. Perhaps God is going to show me something I may have missed last time. I don’t know about you but  He tends to do that with me. 🙂

A quick summary of the book:

As standards of conduct continue to erode in our shock-proof world, we must fight the soul pollution threatening our health, our faith, and our witness to others. Without even knowing it, people willingly inhale second-hand toxins poisoning their relationship with God and stunting their spiritual growth.

Soul Detox examines the toxins that assault us daily including: toxic influences, toxic emotions, and toxic behaviors.

By examining the toxins that assault us daily, this book offers the ultimate spiritual intervention with ways to remain clean, pure, and focused on the standard of God’s holiness.

I have quite a few books by Craig Groeschel. If you haven’t heard of him I definitely recommend that you check him out. He is the senior pastor of Life.Church.

New York Times bestselling author Craig Groeschel is the founding and senior pastor of Life.Church, an innovative and pace setting church meeting in multiple locations around the United States and globally online, which also created the popular and free YouVersion Bible app. He is the author of several books, including Divine Direction, Liking Jesus, Fight, The Christian Atheist, and It. Craig, his wife, Amy, and their six children live in Edmond, Oklahoma. Visit http://www.craiggroeschel.com

Are you familiar with the Bible App, YouVersion? I use it every day and love the many devotionals you can find on this app. YouVersion was created by Life.Church.

As I venture back into this book, I will definitely keep you updated on what I’m learning at what the Lord is trying to teach me through this book. 🙂

Happy Friday everyone!

 

 

 

The Christian Atheist, Chapter 1

Photo by KEEM IBARRA on Unsplash

When You Believe in God but Don’t Really Know Him

Groeschel opens up the chapter with a story from his past regarding the time he met a young woman in college. As he got to know her, he grew more attracted to her and did what he could to impress her. Six months after meeting her, he proposed and 19 years later they are still together and happy as can be.

He uses that story to talk to us about how they know each other. However,

…despite how completely we know each other–even after nearly two decades–our intimacy continues to grow. We’re constantly learning how to connect and communicate deeply.

Believing Versus Knowing

Belief isn’t the same as personal knowledge

Groeschel continues by explaining the different levels of intimacy when it comes to knowing God.

“Some of us know God by reputation

  • We know a little bit about God–we’ve gone to church a few times, heard the Bible stories. We may even have a favorite Bible verse.
  • This knowledge is only secondhand, however

“Some of us know God in our memories.” 

  • “We’ve experienced his goodness, grace and love in the past.

“Some of us know God intimately.”

  • Right here, right now. It is THIS kind of loving knowledge that “God promises when we seek Him”

As we continue to seek God, we’ll grow to know him more and more intimately. When we hear God’s voice, we’ll recognize it instantly.

Not Knowing God

Believing God isn’t all He wants from us

In the book of James, it tells us that even the “demons believe in God, and yet they tremble because they know that they’re relationally separated from Him.”

Groeschel tells us there is more to being a Christian than just believing in God. We must experience God’s love. We must know him intimately.

He explains that growing up, he and his family were what you would call “cultural Christians.” They would go to church on Christmas and Easter. They’d help people in need. They donated canned goods to food drives. They’d pray at Thanksgiving meals.

But that was the extent of it. They knew about God. They didn’t know Him. And because Groeschel didn’t know God, he lived according to his own rules. He did what he wanted, not what God wanted. He didn’t have an intimate relationship with God.

In 1 John 2:3-4, it says,

We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says “I know him” but does not do what he commands is a liar and the truth is not in him.”

Harsh, right? Not according to Groeschel. He prefers to think of it as “straightforward and honest.” It is “truthfully spoken by someone who truly cares and wants what’s best for us.

We are created to be living examples of God’s love to a hurting world.

Knowing God can lead to positive lifestyle, but the reverse isn’t true.

Our outward actions alone don’t prove that we enjoy an inward relationship with God.

Groeschel urges us to make an effort to get to know God.

“God is interested not only in our actions but also in our hearts–in particular our attitude toward him.”

We can look good on the outside, make is seem like we love God but if our hearts aren’t there, if our hearts aren’t in the right place then when life is over, Jesus will say to us “I never knew you. Away from me, you evil doers.” (Matthew 7:23)

Not Knowing God Well

In this section, Groeschel writes about when Paul wrote his letter to the Galatians. They had experienced the real, living God but had “recently become trapped in legalism.”

In other words they fell back into their old ways. “They knew God but not well enough to avoid getting sucked back into a life based in the law, rather than in love. In Galatians 4:8-9, it says “Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods. But now that you know God—or rather are known by God—how is it that you are turning aback to those weak and miserable forces? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again.”

“In the 21st century, we would be wise to ask ourselves, ‘Is this us too?'”

Do you “sort of” know God?

Knowing God IntimatelyImage result for know God

Then there are those who “know God intimately and serve Him with their whole hearts.”

The psalmist, David, describes in Psalm 63:1-4 his relationship with God. In fact, he says that his experience of knowing the personal God creates a deeper longing for even more intimate knowledge of God.

David writes in the psalm “O God, you are my God” Did you catch that? David calls God “HIS God.” David continues to write, “Earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you.

What is David saying? He’s saying that there is absolutely nothing in this world that can satisfy him. Only GOD can totally satisfy.

Groeschel poses the question, “Have you ever felt that kind of love for someone? Now imagine that with God. Imagine that kind of love

Verse 3 says, “Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.” Better than life? He’s saying ‘If I had the choice–either keep God’s love and see my mortal body die, or lose His love and live–I would choose to die.

Matthew 16:26 says, “What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?”

Or how about Philippians 1:21, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”

What kind of love do you have for God?

Image result for names of GodIt’s All in the Name

What do you call God?

If you know God, you are likely to be far more specific with him and the words you use will reflect your accurate understanding of him.

There are many, many, many names for God.

He’s known as Savior, Healer, Comforter, Fortress, Rock, Strength, Provider, Friend, etc. The list can go on and on.

The Best is Ahead

Groeschel writes that it’s time to “be honest with yourself and with God.

“Do you know Him? If so, how well?

“Has God transformed you? Are you different because of Him? If not, perhaps you’re a Christian Atheist.”

But guess what? God loves you so much and earnestly wants a relationship with you.

If you don’t know Him, you can! “Getting to know God is not difficult and it isn’t about a bunch of rules. Yes, God wants your obedience, but he wants your heart even more.

He says over and over again that if you seek Him, you will find Him.

How do you find God? By reading your Bible. He’s there. Pray. He’s there.

“As you get to know him better, you will change……Instead of living for yourself and for the moment, you’ll live for Christ and for eternity. Your heart will begin to break for the reasons and causes that break God’s heart.

“Get to know God. When you do, you will never be the same.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weird, Chapter Three: The Rest is Up To You

See the source image

The biggest reason why many people surrender to the normal overwhelmed, overly driven, unsustainable pace is because we don’t have faith. We don’t honestly believe that God is on His throne, that he can and will handle the details of our lives, that he wants what’s truly best for us, and that his way of doing  life is better.

What a weird way of looking at things…but could this be true?

We’re afraid that if we don’t just run non stop and try everything this world has to offer, we’re going to miss out on something.

See the source imageWe live in an addicted world. It doesn’t matter what it is, there are tons of things in life that people get addicted to. Whether its drugs or alcohol or it’s just an addiction to technology (guilty as charged!), there is always something out there that become addictions for people.  And there’s no such thing as a healthy addiction, despite what some people think. Even when you think you’re doing something good and important, if it takes the place of God, it’s idolatry.  “Idolatry is not just a failure to obey God, it is a setting of the whole heart on something besides God.” (Tim Keller, Counterfeit Gods)

See the source imageBasically, what Groeschel is saying in this chapter is that we always have to be doing something to feel happy, to feel complete. And we “distract ourselves with being productive which makes us look just like everyone else in the world. Our self-worth gets sucked into a riptide of bigger-better-best until we don’t know how to break the cycle.”

This type of behavior is not healthy. It’s sick. It’s destructive. It’s harmful……but it’s normal.

You’re trying to substitute something for God, when He’s the only one who can fulfill you.

We need rest. Simple as that. We need to take the time and just rest. In Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus tell us we can come to Him. He will give us rest if we just come to Him. When is the last time you were completely at rest? Experiencing real rest doesn’t mean we become lazy and unproductive. “Jesus was busy but never hurried. He was productive but never overwhelmed. He accomplished everything God wanted Him to and still spent long, refreshing days in fellowship alone with His father.”See the source image

Too many times, we have the tendency to become overwhelmed with all we have going in  our lives. The pressure is on to get things done, to make sure everything is perfect. But why must this be? Why must we go through life so hurried and feel ragged every step of the way?

Take the time to really spend time quality time with God. Let Him speak to you and give you the rest you need. Then you’ll come out with a renewed sense of mind and a sense of peace you’ve never had before. You become fully aware of God’s goodness. The rest will make you more productive! And more importantly, more spiritually healthy!

If you want a normal life, do what normal people do. If you want to know God intimately, walk with Him daily and please him in every way, you’re going to have to do what few do……..absolutely NOTHING.

And that’s weird!

Groeschel tells us to not settle for a normal life. “Not when we can enjoy the wonderful weirdness of being who God created you to be.”

 

 

Altar Ego

I finished Divine Direction by Craig Groeschel today.

Here are some quotes I found helpful:

When all of culture says “fill yourself” God tells us to fill others. God didn’t create us to be takers. He created us to be givers.

One of the quickest ways to forget about God is to be consumed with self

We are not made to be spiritual consumers. God has called us to be spiritual contributors

You can eat the fast food of selfish choices that taste good in the moment or you can eat the eternal soul food of serving others and grow closer to God

God wants your story to be more than “happily ever after.” He wants you to be fulfilled “eternally ever after.”

Groeschel has written so many books that I checked with my library to see if they carried any of them. I checked out Altar Ego and have two other books on hold.


Image result for altar ego

I just started Altar Ego but it sounds like it’s going to be just as great as Groeschel’s other books. 🙂

You are NOT who you think you are. In fact, according to bestselling author Craig Groeschel in Altar Ego, you need to take your idea of your own identity, lay it down on the altar, and sacrifice it. Give it to God. Offer it up.

Why? Because you are who GOD says you are. And until you’ve sacrificed your broken concept of your identity, you won’t become who you are meant to be.

When we place our false labels and self-deception on the altar of God’s truth, we discover who we really are as his sons and daughters. Instead of an outward-driven, approval-based ego, we learn to live with an “altar” ego, God’s vision of who we are becoming.

Discover how to trade in your broken ego and unleash your altar ego to become a living sacrifice. Once we know our true identity and are growing in our Christ-like character, then we can behave accordingly, with bold behavior, bold prayers, bold words, and bold obedience.

Altar Ego reveals who God says you are, and then calls you to live up to it.

I will let you all know how I’m enjoying this book as I get further into it. 🙂


Verse of the day: “Let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9, CSB

Divine Direction

A few posts back I mentioned a few books that were on my TBR list. I never finished One Way Love by Tullian Tchividjian. He made some good points but in the end, I just couldn’t finish it. Maybe one day I will revisit it.

I went to LifeWay the other day and came across a new book by Craig Groeschel.(Yes, I know I have plenty of books I need to read….don’t need to be buying any more books. But what can I say? I’m a book junkie)  He’s written quite a few books and I’ve only read The Christian Atheist, which was very good, by the way. Anyways, this book is called Divine Direction and it’s pretty good! He reminds me a lot of Kyle Idleman, another great author.

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Synopsis:

“Master the decisions that will make your life everything God wants it to be.

Every day we make choices. And those choices accumulate and eventually become our life story. What would your life look like if you became an expert at making those choices?

In this inspiring guidebook, New York Times bestselling author Craig Groeschel shows how the choices that are in your power, if aligned with biblical principles, will lead to a life you’ve never imagined.

Divine Direction will help you seek wisdom through seven principles. You’ll consider one thing to stop that’s hindering you; how to start a new habit to re-direct your path; where you should stay committed; and when you should go even if it’s easier to stay. The book also includes criteria that will help you feel confident in the right choice, and encourages you with principles for trusting God with your decisions. 

What story do you want to tell about yourself? God is dedicated to the wonderful plan he’s laid out for you. The achievable and powerful steps in Divine Direction take you there one step at a time, big, or small.

 

I think I have found another favorite author! Like I said earlier, his writing style is very similar to Kyle Idleman’s. They both know how to pull you into what they’re trying to get across.

He is the Senior Pastor of Life.Church, which created the popular Bible App YouVersion. Image result for youversion

What books are you reading these days?

Who are your favorite authors?