The Pursuit of God

Serious Topics for Serious Christians

Focusing on Truth (The List Exercise)

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As humans who are filled with insecurities and fears, we often shut down on God or we find it very hard to emotionally connect with His desire for us. When we are in this place, we focus on the negative without even trying. Demons produce an endless supply of depressing, discouraging thoughts about how God views us and we swallow them all down without even trying to resist.

The purpose of this exercise is to help you focus on certain positive truths about God. If you are a Christian, then regardless of where you are currently at in your walk, there are certain things you can claim about how God views you. Let’s now look at a list of statements that capture how God feels about you right now:

I love you.
I want you.
You matter to Me.
I am always with you.
I am always listening to you.
I will never leave you.
I care deeply about you.
I created you because I wanted you to be in a relationship with Me.
I delight in the idea of us being together forever.
I know what is best for you.
I understand how difficult I can be to relate to.
I know you better than you know yourself.
If you are willing to trust Me, I will satisfy your soul.

Now where we can go astray in an exercise like this is by choosing invalid statements. There are many misguided shepherds in the Church who will encourage you to claim truths that don’t really apply to you. We have intentionally created a list of statements that would apply to any Christian. You’ll notice that we didn’t put certain things on it, such as God saying “I am pleased with you.” If you are currently in a state of rebellion, God would not say that He is pleased with you, but He would say the other things on this list. When practicing truth, we need to make sure we are rehearsing valid truths, not ego-pleasing lies. Notice we didn’t make statements like, “I want you to be rich” or “I’m going to really bless you in this world” or “I’m going to fix all of your problems.” Such statements cannot be universally applied to all Christians.

Now depending on where you are at with God, you can add other things to this list. If you know that you are currently in alignment with God, then He would certainly say “I am pleased with you.” But if you’re feeling very insecure about how God views you, then stick with this list of essentials. Just focusing on these truths can be very uplifting to your soul.

Because God has designed us to be such adaptable creatures, we have to keep changing things up in order to stay focused on them. If you were to stick this list on your bathroom mirror or in your car, you’d stop seeing it after a week or so. Without any variation, our attention drifts. To help you focus as you review these truths, we’ve come up with several different ways that you can review them. Choose one of these methods each day and go through the list. Whenever you find yourself having a hard time praying, go over this list instead, using one of the methods below (or another method that you come up with). As awkward as an exercise like this might seem at first, it can be very helpful. Mental focus has a very powerful effect on our souls. When we focus on positive truths about God, it has the opposite effect on our souls that focusing on lies does. Try using all of these methods at least once and see which ones work best for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you connect with these essential truths as you review them.

PERSONALIZE – DIRECT

Get out a journal or a piece of paper and a pen. Then write out the above list, only start each sentence with your name. For example, if your name is Sara, you would write:

Sara, I love you.
Sara, I want you.
Sara, you matter to Me.

After you write out your list, read through it out loud and slowly and think about each point.

PERSONALIZE – INDIRECT

In the previous exercise, the sentence structure made it sound like God was speaking directly to you. Now let’s use a different substitution method to make it sound like He is speaking about you. Write out the list again, only this time fill your name in wherever the word “you” is written. For example:

I love Sara.
I want Sara.
Sara matters to Me.
I am always with Sara.

Again read through your list out loud and think about each point.

EMPHASIZE

This is another writing exercise. But this time, as you write out the list of core truths, emphasize the words we have bolded (or other words that stand out to you), either by writing them in all caps or underlining them. Then read each one out loud with the proper emphasis.

I love you.
I want you.
You matter to Me.
I am always with you.
I am always listening to you.
I will never leave you.
I care deeply about you.
I created you because I wanted you to be in a relationship with Me.
I delight in the idea of us being together forever.

I know what is best for you.
I understand how difficult I can be to relate to.

I know you better than you know yourself.
If you are willing to trust Me, I will satisfy your soul.

ROLE-PLAY

Suppose God wants you to act out Him speaking tenderly to you. Use your phone to take a picture of yourself. Then, looking at your picture, role-play God saying our list of core truths to you in a kind and loving way. Role-playing God like this can be a very effective way of connecting with the fact that these statements are His feelings towards you, not just a random list of words.

LISTEN

Record yourself slowly reading through this list several times, then listen to it as you’re going to sleep or when you’re having trouble praying. If you’re familiar with recording software, you might also add a background of soothing music.

VISUALIZE

These days all computers and cell phones have the ability to record someone speaking. Once you make your recording, listen to it with your eyes closed and picture God standing in front of you, making each statement to you. Another positive visual to use here is to imagine God embracing you and whispering each statement to you.

THE VALUE OF THIS EXERCISE

So is it valid to do something like this? Aren’t you just playing wishful thinking games? No, you’re not. The reality is that all of the statements on our list are accurate statements of how God feels towards every one of His kids. And while you will probably feel awkward trying these exercises at first, realize that there’s nothing new about these methods. When you focus on an image of God scowling down at you in your mind, you’re using a visualization technique. When you keep dwelling on the idea of God rejecting you, you’re using the power of repetition. When you imagine God being disgusted with you, you’re using a form of role-playing. The concept of mentally rehearsing things isn’t new to you at all—the problem is that you’ve been rehearsing the wrong things. When we focus on lies instead of truth, it drains our souls and encourages us to form all kinds of false conclusions about God. When we focus on truths that God has taught us, it helps us develop faith and recognize the Holy Spirit’s leading in our life. God always points us towards truth.

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