When we are preoccupied with past hurts, unhealthy habits, and destructive hang-ups, God is not the center of our lives. Our soul cries out in distress. Jesus calls us to a deeper life, one that goes beyond our own interests and desires. Our Lord calls us to possess a soul that is well-cared-for. He calls us to have a soul with the capacity to enter into more than just the motions of faith. This life is our connection to eternity and can help us see past the struggles of today. This life has access to the kind of peace, gratitude, freedom, and blessing that comes only from divine intervention.
As we journey life’s path, however, we all too often lose our way and recognize, again and again, the need for a Savior, Who—in love and grace—has provided the way back to the path and the purpose laid out by God from the very beginning of humanity. Pain and hardship are universal, but through faith in Christ, we find our hope, healing, and our serenity in God (see: John 16:33). There are steps we can take that lead us to the Lord, establishing His peace and power in our lives. One such step is overcoming destructive denial in our life.
Denial limits and robs us of living life in the fullness offered in Christ. The good news is that God calls us to partner with Him to defeat it. Denial is refusing to grant, admit, or believe. Denial leads us to think we don’t need God because we are in power and in control. Denial causes us to believe we’re okay the way we are. However, the prophet Jeremiah declares: “You can’t heal a wound by saying it’s not there” (Jer 6:14). Overcoming denial begins as we admit that we are powerless to overcome past hurts, unhealthy habits, and destructive hang-ups in our own strength. Paul writes in Romans: “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out” (Rom 7:18). Paul’s words seem hopeless. It is essential to look at this verse in context. Paul is speaking how we, in our own strength, are powerless to do the work that leads to wholeness and fullness of life. This is because apart from the operation of God’s grace in our lives, we are under the control of sin. But, therein lies the solution. Paul also writes:
“Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom 7:24-25).
Paul writes about inward sinfulness as a fatal disease. It threatens to usher us into eternal death. We want to do what is right, but continue to do what is wrong, straying back to old patterns, entrapped again by past hurts, and all other kinds of hang-ups. Is there a cure? Yes! The remedy, our deliverance, is provided through Jesus Christ our Lord. We can be delivered from the control of sin, the destructive results of past hurts, and harmful habits. When we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior, we enter into peace with God that is rooted in the precious love of God.
Defeating denial comes first, through the work of salvation. This is where we receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Then, secondly, through the Spirit-empowered work of sanctification where we are set apart for God, where His Spirit is at work, making a believer more and more like Christ in character. First, we are set free, then comes the work of God, leading us to walk in freedom.
How do we partner with God to defeat denial? We must admit there is a God, and we are not Him. We must acknowledge and accept that we are powerless to control and manage the hurts and sin in our life, but that God is both all-powerful, capable, and willing to bring freedom. It is because we cannot fix ourselves that Jesus came to die for our sins and be resurrected for our salvation. Denial is defeated as we admit our weakness and come to Christ, opening ourselves up to the Spirit’s work.
It is my honor to walk in Christ’s freedom with all who believe. Let’s, in a spirit of openness, acknowledge our hurts, habits, and hang-ups admitting we need God and that He is capable and willing to defeat destructive denial in our lives. Soli Deo Gloria (Glory to God Alone)!