“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
Once he read that gospel reading I automatically thought, “I do believe that God would give me a snake or a scorpion.” Right then and there God the Father had brought revelation into my mind. He pointed out the obstacle that had separated me from Him. The obstacle was that I didn’t think that I was worthy of receiving healing. I believed the lie that other people must be deserving, that that’s why their prayers were being answered and mine had not been. During the rest of that healing service, instead of letting the Lord breakthrough that mentality, I decided to hang onto the lie of my unworthiness. I sat watching, in hopelessness and self-pity, while others were being excited by the Holy Spirit’s healing and love. I knew in my mind what everyone said about God being merciful and loving, but in my heart all I could see was the “evidence”. I thought of my sin and brokenness and felt that nothing could overcome them.
Although I thought God wasn’t working during this event, He ended up highlighting a lot of things for me. The biggest things he highlighted was the lies I believed about myself. “I’m not good enough to be healed”, “My sin and brokenness is too big for God”, “I have to deserve God the Father’s love”. All of those things are obvious LIES that the evil one was using. In this moment though, I was falling into one of the biggest traps in the Christian life, which is a performance-based mentality. This mentality/obstacle in my prayer life was that my worth is based off of what I do. So every sin and bad thing that I had ever done defined me in front of God. This mindset is pretty common, especially in our own community. We believe we have to work hard and build our reputation and that defines us. In the Christian lifestyle this isn’t what should define us.
Our identity and worth is not determined by what we do. It’s determined by who we are. We are all adopted by a heavenly Father. He has made us as his sons and daughters and nothing we do can strip that core identity from us. As God’s children, living in this identity and reality is so important for our prayer life and relationship with God. When we are able to recognize God as a loving Father and recognize ourselves as his beloved Children then we are more able to live free and open to receive his Spirit.
This identity that God has given us, is so important that it’s the first thing that Satan attacked in the garden of Eden.
“The serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
The lie that the enemy gave Eve was “You will be like God”. In eating the fruit from the tree of Good and Evil, Eve tried to earn her worth which led to sin and death. She was ALREADY made in God’s image and had access to all he had. She tried to achieve in performance what she already had in her identity.
If our prayer is rooted in performance (which it often can be), our prayer ends up being rooted in death. What that death looked like for me was avoiding prayer because I had committed a mortal sin earlier that week and didn’t feel like I was worthy enough to go back to the Father. I literally wouldn’t even pray because of this mindset. I thought I had to fix myself and then come to God, instead of coming to God in my identity and letting him transform me. What this could look like for you is you thinking about going to a Holy Spirit Encounter and then not going because of believing the lie that it’s only for “holy people”, or you go to pray and only feel anxiety because no one ever taught you to pray and you don’t think you are doing it the right way.
Jesus didn’t die on the cross so that we could earn our relationship with God the Father. He died on the cross so that we could have the same relationship with the Father that he has. He died so we could have the SAME intimacy that he had with the Father. That gift isd what is available to us, and when I came across this idea at an Encounter Conference two years ago, so many instances in my own spiritual life (like the healing service above) made sense to me. All of those past instances of hopelessness or despair could have been different if I had just rejected that lie that I wasn’t worthy and accepted my true identity. I don’t know the moment where my heart changed, whether it was sometime during the conference or the weeks afterward, but I suddenly felt like I was on the same team as God. That instead of feeling like nothing I ever wanted or hoped for in prayer was going to be received, suddenly I felt that my connection to God had power and that we really were working together because He made me worthy in my identity. It was such a subtle transformation, but it truly has changed my life.
If you have felt similar things and think you are in this “performance mentality”, then take this moment to pray for transformation. Ask the Father simply for the grace to see yourself the way he sees you. He sees all the goodness in you and will meet you in prayer, because he truly loves every aspect of you and wants to provide for you like a Father does.