Lies We Believe
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- Read "40 Lies Women Believe" by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth from her book, Lies Women Believe. (12 min. read) https://www.familylife.com/articles/topics/life-issues/relationships/women/40-lies-women-believe/
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Men and women are susceptible to believing different recurring lies about themselves and God. Robert Wolgemuth and Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth confront some of those lies with the truth from Scripture.
Michelle: I don’t know about you, but when I’m in a difficult situation—loss of a job, loss of a significant other, loss of (well, you fill in the blank)—my knee-jerk reaction is to doubt. Nancy Wolgemuth says that there is an anecdote for that.
Nancy: God rescued my heart from the bondage of the bitterness, and the bondage of the anger, over this new set of circumstances. You know how He did it? By identifying the lies I had been believing (that God didn’t really know what He was doing in this other circumstance); by acknowledging those lies; by repenting of having believed things about God that weren’t true; and then countering the lies with the truth.
Michelle: Combatting those lies is hard, but we’re going to learn how to do that today with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth and her husband Robert, on this edition of FamilyLife This Week.
Welcome to FamilyLife This Week. I’m Michelle Hill. You know, one of the very first Bible stories that I remember learning in Sunday School was when God created the world. You remember that, right? How He created the world, He created the animals, and He created Adam and Eve. After each day of creation, He said, “It is good.” Then, after He created Adam and Eve, He said, “It is very good.”
I can’t even begin to imagine how beautiful that world was. But then do you remember what happens? The serpent comes in and he brings this beautiful piece of fruit to Eve. He tells her, “You will not die. You will have knowledge just like God. Just eat.” Since that first lie, all came crumbling down and we tend to believe lies, don’t we? Maybe you don’t! I tend to.
Lies have been around for thousands of years! They are all around us each and every day, every hour. All you have to do is open up Facebook in the morning, and you think, “If only I did that workout! If only I had that make-up. If only I had those kids! If only I had that spouse.”
Christian recording artist Ellie Holcomb wrote a song about these lies. She says, “Just look at all your failures and mistakes; if they really knew you, there’d be no way they could love you anyway.” Right? I think some of us fall into that. We’re going to take a look at a few of the lies we believe, and we’re going to learn how we can combat them today; how to believe the opposite of lies; how to believe truth!
We’re going to hear from Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, and also Robert Wolgemuth. You know, it was a few years back that Nancy wrote a book that became popular among women. It was called Lies Women Believe. Nancy talks about how we don’t just wake up one day believing these lies. Sometimes, it’s a slow progression as we fall prey to them. Here’s Nancy:
Nancy: Well, there is this progression in our lives. We don’t just end up in bondage. People don’t just wake up one morning and find that they’re addicted to pornography or to food, or that they can’t control their tongues, or that their marriage has fallen apart, or that their relationships are frazzled, or that they’re in debt. These things have a progression, and I believe that virtually every sin and sinful disorder in my life can be traced back to believing one or more lies.
What happens? We hear the lie. We listen to it. We entertain it. That seems to be how the world is wired—today, at least. We dwell on it, and, before you know it, we’re believing that it’s true, even though, when we started out in that progression, we might have thought, “No way!” But our emotions and our circumstances and the pattern of our thinking has led us to believe that’s true, and then we act on what we believe. “As a man thinks in his heart [man or woman thinks in his heart], so is he.”
And then we act not just once, but again and again and again. Soon, this has become the pattern of our lives, and before you know it, we’re hooked! We’re in bondage. We’ve got this well-worn path across the soil of our hearts, and we can’t go any different direction. Then our lives fall apart; our homes fall apart; our emotions are frazzled; we’re depressed. We can’t get out of bed, and we say, “How in the world did all of this happen?!” Well, it was a gradual, downward spiral that we let ourselves get into because we did not refute the lie when we first encountered it.
God rescued my heart from the bondage of the bitterness, and the bondage of the anger, over this new set of circumstances. You know how He did it? By identifying the lies I had been believing (that God didn’t really know what He was doing in this other circumstance); by acknowledging those lies; by repenting of having believed things about God that weren’t true; and then countering the lies with the truth. I began to rebuild and renew my mind, my heart, my thinking, my emotions, my steps. One step at a time, I just began to renew my heart with the truth of God’s Word.
[End Audio Recording]
Michelle: That was Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth a few years back, talking with Dennis Rainey and Bob Lepine on FamilyLife Today about lies that we tend to believe. So we know where the premise comes from. That’s what Nancy was just talking about. But, specifically, what do these lies look like?
You know, Nancy did some research, and she surveyed a lot of women. Of course, we tend to believe lies about our emotions, about our marriages, about children; society, culture, how we look; God; you name it! She said that 42% believed a very particular and significant lie. Here’s Nancy again:
Nancy: Well, there are a lot of different lies women believe about themselves, but the one that just really ran off the charts was this lie: “I’m not worth anything.” I’ve found, in nearly 30 years now of listening to women, ministering God’s Word to them, hearing their hearts, and hearing their heart cries, this is something that is very deeply engrained in the psyche, the heart, and the essence of how many women view themselves. That is, “I’m not worth anything.”
I think, for a lot of women, that may have started by things they heard as children. It’s amazing how these little barbs that come from a teacher in third grade, or a parent to a six year-old, or another little friend the same age—but a parent saying in anger, “I wish you’d never been born!”
We cringe, and we say, “I can’t imagine a parent saying that kind of thing to a child,” but we’re speaking right now to women who are in their thirties and forties and fifties or older, and they still have this record playing in their mind over and over and over again: “I wish you’d never been born!”
What is that saying when your parent says that to you? It says, “You’re not worth anything! You’re not worth even being on this planet!” So many women have heard those lies. You don’t even need somebody else telling you that, you know? I tend to be a more confident person, but since getting into radio ministry, I have to tell you I’ve found myself, many times, believing lies: “You can’t do this!”
Now, in a sense, that’s true. On my own, apart from Christ, I have nothing of value or worth. Apart from the way God views me, and the value He places on my soul, which was demonstrated by His giving His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for me; then I begin to see that in a different perspective.
Bob: Do you know what’s fascinating to me? You stop and think, we’ve lived through a full generation or more of a cultural message saying to women, “You are valuable. You are strong. You are invincible. You are woman!” I mean, there’s this whole litany of affirmations about the value of womanhood.
Nancy: And the value, even within the education system. We’re working hard, over the last generation, to just tell kids, “You are special; you are something; you are someone.” But you know, deep in our hearts, I think there’s this huge self-doubt. As many times as we’ve heard it, and as many times as we’ve been told it, we know our own frailty and our own foolishness.
Bob: To have that cultural message blaring, and then 42% of women saying, “I’m not worth anything”—
Bob: And then other things like, “I need to learn to love myself. I can’t help the way I am. I shouldn’t have to live with unfulfilled longings. God certainly wants me to be happy, doesn’t He?” All of these lies about ourselves that women tend to believe. It’s just interesting that, in spite of the culture trying to convince us otherwise, these have a stronghold in the hearts of women.
Dennis: Okay, I’m going to give you an assignment. Now I know, Nancy, you’ve counseled a lot of individual women over the years, but I want you to speak to the woman who is maybe thinking, “I’m not worth anything.” Speak to her specifically: how does she reverse the slide? And then, after you’ve spoken to her, I want you to speak to her husband (if she’s married) about how he can express belief in her and remind her of the truth, if he’s married to a woman who is, well, filled with self-doubt. He’s wondering, “What do I do with that?”
Nancy: Can I start with the second question?
Nancy: I think whether it’s a husband or a friend who cares, or a parent or son or daughter, the greatest thing we can do for each other when it comes to various ones of these lies that we believe, is to point each other to Christ. He’s where we get our significance. He’s the One who makes our lives worthwhile. We have no worth apart from Him, and in Him, we are cherished children and possessions of God.
I mean, there’s no higher, more lofty place in the universe than to be a child of God! So, not by sitting down with a textbook, but in the course of life, to be just reminding each other, as my walking partner-friend and I do—we remind each other—who Christ is.
Nancy: And of His love, and His wisdom, and His grace. In time, I believe it’s the Word and the Spirit of Christ that brings healing for our hearts.
[End Audio Recording]
Michelle: And it’s that healing for our hearts that we can find in God’s Word. As Ellie Holcomb sings, we need to fight the lies with truth and keep our eyes fixed on God. You know, sing the truth in the dark! Use your fighting words. Our fighting words are the words out of His book, the Word of God.
But I will fight lies with the Truth
Keep my eyes fixed on You
I will sing the Truth into the dark
I will use my fighting words
Great reminder from Ellie Holcomb. We need to have those fighting words ready, don’t we? You know, I’m also reminded that, as Nancy was talking about women falling prey to lies, men fall prey to lies, too. That’s why Nancy’s husband, Robert, wrote the book, Lies Men Believe. Now, of course, lies can go across gender lines. I’m sure that there are men out there who believe lies about their appearance, just like there are women who are falling prey to the pornography lie.
Here’s Robert Wolgemuth, talking about lies men believe:
Robert: You know, I remember the first time I saw pornography. I tell about this in the book. I was in college, and there was a scuffle down the hall; guys hustling down to see something. So I went down—four doors down—and there was a guy with a magazine. That image is so—it’s tattooed in my brain. I can see it!
But guess what? This morning, when I opened my laptop, there was something waiting for me there. I didn’t have to go four doors down. It was there! Not necessarily porn. It could be an invitation to buy a car or insurance or toothpaste. I think my computer knows that I’m a man! The images that I see in the right margin of my computer screen.
Dennis: Are using sex to sell that stuff!
Bob: Robert, what’s the lie that’s at work here, when a man is attracted—or a man is drawn—to sexual stimulation.
Bob: What’s the lie behind that?
Robert: “A little porn is harmless. It’s just a little click.” Again, it’s so effortless! But it is so insidious. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), I’ve had the joy of working with some guys who are deeply involved in pornography. Getting off that train is almost impossible! It is such a relentless, daily challenge for them to stop. So the lie is, “A little porn is harmless.” That’s the lie.
Bob: So a guy who would say, “This isn’t hurting anybody.”
Bob: “I’m managing this, and it’s not getting out of the cage. Actually, what’s the big deal? It’s probably helping me stay faithful to my wife, because it’s not drawing me away to real-live women.”
Robert: Yes, well, you’re committing adultery. There are no two ways about that. This sounds like I’m preaching. Even though I’m speaking into the microphone, I’d rather think of myself as having a cup of coffee back in the corner of Starbucks, saying, “This is the truth. I’m not shouting at you. There’s no podium. I don’t have a platform. I love you enough to tell you the truth. You’re in trouble here! You’re going to have to, day-by-day, stop this, or it’s going to kill you. You’re being enticed to something, but it’s a fraud!”
Bob: What about the single guy who is looking and saying, “I don’t have any options! This is the only way that I can try to manage the sexual drive that’s in me!”
Robert: You have to find other ways to get there. I know that sounds really crazy, but I believe the Apostle Paul, in 1 Corinthians 7, talks about the advantages of being single. So there’s a very special calling for single people. When it comes to that; honestly, I don’t know. I mean, that’s the honest answer. But there has to be; if the Lord put that drive in you, the sexual drive, and He says, “You know what? Put that away, at least for now, and pour yourself—the same energy—into introducing people to an intimate relationship with Jesus.
Robert: I mean, that’s what God calls us to! To great things: to conquer, to be daring, to lead, and all those things, for Kingdom purposes. That’s using that same energy for something other than just selfish gain. Believing lies gets bigger and bigger and keeps you awake.
[End Audio Recording]
Michelle: And that’s the key: Satan keeps us awake, just as Robert Wolgemuth was talking about. The enemy keeps whispering in our ears, you know? “What about over here?” “If only you had done this.” Or, “Ohhh, you did do that!” Then he uses whatever lie that we believed—he uses that—to guilt us into thinking that God could never forgive us for what we have just done that day. Satan keeps wearing us down, over and over and over again.
Then we toss and turn all night long. Has that ever happened to you? It’s happened to me before.
You know, we need to take a break, but when we come back, we’re going to hear about the most significant lie that we tend to believe, but also take a look at how we can stand against these lies. We’ll be back in two minutes. Stay tuned.
[Radio Station Spot Break]
Michelle: Welcome back to FamilyLife This Week. I'm Michelle Hill.
Today we are taking a look at lies that we all tend to believe—men and women. Here might be a few that you’re wrestling with: “I can’t help the way that I am. I am who I am.” Or maybe you had a difficult relationship with your earthly father, and you might be believing this lie: “God is just like my father.”
You know, Robert Wolgemuth says that there could be a reason that all lies are born from a wrong view of God. Remember Adam and Eve? Robert says this can all be answered with a famous question that comes from modern-day prophet, A.W. Tozer.
Robert: Tozer said, “What a man thinks about when he thinks about God is the most important thing that he thinks about.” That is foundational to everything! Now, the average guy walking around the street doesn’t think that, but, at the end of the day, his theology is who he is.
I grew up in a home with a great dad. He wasn’t perfect, but he was really pretty special, and I’m grateful for that. But guys who don’t have that; when you talk about father or talk about dad and they cringe or get this sinking feeling in their stomachs [because] they hated their dad, or didn’t know their dad, or whatever—they’re forced to be cycle-breakers when it comes to understanding the right concept of God and who He is and how He loves us like He does.
Bob: Part of what’s happening there is that guys are believing that the flawed father they have is the right picture of their heavenly Father.
Bob: The lie they’re believing is that “God is like the human father I had,” rather than looking at what the Bible says is true about God and saying, “This is who God really is.” If we have a flawed picture of who God is, that’s going to infect our thinking about everything.
Robert: Yes. My favorite picture of God, and I think this is why Jesus told this story, is Luke 15—the Parable of the Prodigal, who is out wasting his daddy’s money. So my question to you guys is: when does the father forgive the son? I mean, you ask anybody that and they’ll say, “You know, when the kid comes home. His dad was big enough to run down the lane to meet him!”
Nope! His dad forgave him long before that. There’s nothing that I can do to earn God’s favor or His forgiveness.
[End Audio Recording]
Michelle: A great reminder from Robert Wolgemuth. The blood of Jesus is sufficient to cover every sin that I’ve committed; that you’ve committed. Just call out to Him! He will forgive.
Now let’s get down to the practical, brass tacks of how we can combat these lies. You know, it’s beautiful that God has given us friendship, and that is one thing that Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth is thankful for as she combats her lies.
Nancy: I have a walking partner, and when we get out and walk, we do it for our health and we do it for exercise, but we do it for our souls as much as anything.
Nancy: You say, “What do you do? What do you talk about when you walk?” We talk about where we are in our circumstances, in our situations, in our season of life at that moment, in our week. At any given time, one of us is probably struggling with something: “How do I handle this? How am I going to make it through this?” And then we counsel each other’s hearts according to the Truth.
Rather than just commiserating with each other: “Man, I know how you feel! I can’t believe he said that to you. I can’t believe that happened! You’re right, that’s a mess!” We don’t let ourselves go there.
Nancy: We counsel each other’s hearts, and we say, “You know, what does God’s Word say about that?” We remind each other—we have this little thing that we say to each other. We’ll quote Scripture or quote God’s ways, and then we’ll say, “It’s true, you know?’
[End Audio Recording]
Michelle: Nancy, using those fighting words with her accountability partner. You know, I don’t have a walking partner, but here’s something that I do. I have two really good friends from church, and we have all installed the Marco Polo app on our phones. Marco allows you to leave video messages for people. So we use Marco almost every day to tell each other what we are struggling with and how to encourage each other through these struggles.
And then, usually, by the end of the evening, we’re able to share with each other what we’re thankful to God for, for what He’s done in our lives that day. You know, it’s not about the app or technology. It’s about the fact that we can communicate, and we can be transparent, and we can encourage each other to grow in Christ.
After all, Paul wrote these words in 2 Corinthians: we are to “take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” So if I’m dealing with wanting something that I can’t have, my friends remind me, “Take every thought captive.”
You know, along with taking every thought captive, there is one final lie that Robert talks about, and it’s a lie that we need to be in constant war against. Here’s Robert:
Robert: When I talk about my late wife’s death, I don’t talk about her death. I talk about her stepping into heaven, because she’s not dead. There is a sense in which—in fact, Stephen Covey opens his book with your friends walking past your casket.
Robert. You’re lying there, room temperature. What are they saying about you? That’s the whole, you know, “with the end in mind.” So, you know, this is the truth; this is my life. I held my wife, and she died in my arms. So I know what it is to say “goodbye” to your mate of 45—almost 45—years, and to realize, in the presence of your children while that happened, that this is good news. This is amazing! This is healing! In fact, it’s really true. Bobbie was completely healed in that moment.
Robert: Her emaciated, cancer-ridden body was completely healed in that moment. Honestly, I really have never been afraid of death, but now I’m really not at all. You realize the joy that is set before us because we know Christ, and because He rose from the dead. That’s real stuff!
Dennis: The lie that you write about at the end of your book is that men believe, “My death will be the end of my story.” You’re saying the Bible proclaims it’s the beginning!
Robert: That’s right.
Dennis: Of seeing the One Who made you, face-to-face.
Robert: Dr. Ken Boa says, and probably others have said this: “We live in the land of the dying, and we’re going to the land of the living, which is the opposite of what we think is true.”
Michelle: Spoiler alert! It’s a really good thing.
You know, I hope our time with Robert and Nancy Wolgemuth has been helpful for you today as you process through lies, but also process through truth. You know, we want to help you do that! Nancy has compiled a list of 40 lies that we tend to believe, but also the truths that will combat those lies. We have that list on our website. It’s free! Go check it out: FamilyLifeThisWeek.com. That’s FamilyLifeThisWeek.com.
Next week, we are going to be talking about grandparenting, and I know a lot of new grandparents. They want to know just—well, it’s more than just holding that baby, but it’s also not as much as always being there to change the diapers and doing everything that they did with their own kids. How do you properly grandparent these new grandchildren that you have? That’s the question. I think we’re going to answer that pretty well next week, so tune in.
Hey, thanks for listening! I want to thank the President of FamilyLife, David Robbins, along with our station partners around the country. And a big “Thank you!” to our engineer today, Keith Lynch. Thanks to our producers, Marques Holt and Bruce Goff. Justin Adams is our mastering engineer, and Megan Martin is our production coordinator.
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