Although Jesus said He came to give us abundant life, sometimes we can find ourselves a prisoner of past pain. When we allow ourselves to become self-focused, we can lose sight of the Healer, and instead, fall into feelings of shame. Don’t forget whose you are, precious one! Jesus bore our shame on the cross; we don’t need to bear it for one moment longer.
Transcribed version of the podcast is below
Today’s Scripture Writing Challenge Verse
- 2 Corinthians 3:12-18
Resources Mentioned in Podcast
- MomStrong International
- Scripture Writing Challenge
- Heidi St. John Conference in Lee’s Summit
- Essential Oils
- The Kingdom Code
Resources Mentioned in Podcast
- Matthew 11:25
- Philippians 4:6-9
- Proverbs 23:7
- 2 Peter 1:3
- Romans 13: 1-2
Join us at MomStrong International for our newest Bible Study and Scripture Writing!
Hey you guys, this is Heidi St. John. Thank you for joining me today at my little corner of the Internet. This is the Heidi St. John podcast. Today is Monday, July 1st—moment of silence. You guys, June is over. I hope you guys are enjoying your summer. Today’s Mailbox Monday and I’ve got three questions I’m going to try to get to today. Two of them I know I can get to, I’m not sure about the third, so I’m not even going to tell you what it is.
Stick around, I think you’re going to be encouraged.
All right, so if you guys are following me at MomStrong International, today is Monday, July 1st—which means it’s the first day of a brand new study. We’re studying the fruit of the Spirit and Biblical Womanhood at MomStrong International. This is something that is near and dear to my heart and I know that a lot of you have been struggling with this idea of male and female, because frankly we have messed it up—we’ve messed it up in the culture. We’re struggling with what God says our role is as male and female. And God doesn’t want us to struggle. God has already given us the answer to the questions that we’re asking—in His Word. So as we dig a little bit deeper into that, I just want you guys to be encouraged that God has answers for you. So jump into this study.
This is a great time to get into it with your kids. I’m not even kidding about this—it is a great time and we’re going to study what it means to be an image bearer. The Bible teaches us that we were born with an innate need for God. We are born into this world with an innate need to find our purpose. And here’s the thing—tied to purpose and belonging, is our worth as human beings. So if we don’t know where our worth comes from, we can never truly feel like we belong. And a heart that is lost in a sea of self-loathing—and I hear this all the time from men and women around the country—is easy prey for a culture that is busily distorting God’s plan and His purpose at every turn. And so we need to know the answer to this question and praise the Lord—God has given us the answer.
So on Wednesday I’m going to come back and I’m going to dig into a little bit of Genesis 1 and talk about what it means to be an image bearer, and as women to be born responders. So hope you guys will tune in on Wednesday for that. And in the meantime, July 1st, this is a great day. You can join the Scripture Writing Challenge for free. If you’ve never done that, I would love to encourage you to do that. This is also a fantastic time to start the Bible Study with us at MomStrongInternational.com. You can take part in Kid Strong, download the cursive version so you kids can be practicing cursive with you through the summer. And I just want to encourage you to do that. You can find it at MomStrongInternational.com.
A bunch of you guys are asking me where I’m going to be coming up. My speaking season is winding to an end, sort of slowly. I will be in Lee’s Summit coming up for my women’s conference there. We’re going to be doing Miracle Worker: The Life Changing Power of Following Jesus. So I’m very, very excited about that and I want you guys to come out. It’s not too late. You can register HeidiStJohn.com/events. The next two places I will be are coming up in July. So July the 18th through 20th, I will be in Arizona, and the 11th through the 13th I’ll be in Pasadena for the CHEA conference. So all that information is at my website at HeidiStJohn.com/events and you should be able to click on those events and then get to registration and everything else that you need to find them.
Another thing I wanted to say is: THANK YOU. We are blown away by the number of people that are listening to the show and writing in to us. The reason that I have questions to answer and to think and pray over every Monday is because you guys are sending them to us. So thank you so much for doing that. It is an encouragement to me to hear what God is doing in your life and to wrestle through some of these questions with you. And so if you’ve never sent us a question to Mailbox Monday, it’s very easy to do. Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. That goes to our staff and we go through those questions—and we try to pick out the ones that we think are gonna be relevant to the greatest number of listeners. And we want to hear from you.
Also, you can reach out to me via snail mail. Please don’t send your questions as snail mail, I’d rather that you did that online—but if you want to send us questions or comments, or you want to send support to the ministry, you can do that by sending us a note to: 1100 NE 34th Cir, Vancouver, WA 98682. Also want to say thanks for leaving reviews over at iTunes. Your reviews are helping us get this podcast out to more and more people. So thank you very much for doing that.
All right, so we’ve got several questions that I want to get to today, but before I do that, today is July 1st and our verse for July 1st for the Scripture Writing Challenge is found in 2 Corinthians 3:12-18. So this is what you’re writing today with me if you’re doing the Scripture Writing Challenge with me.
Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to prevent the Israelites from seeing the end of what was passing away. But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. [2 Corinthians 3:12-18 NIV]
That was read out of the NIV. And this is interesting—I’m going to read it to you really quickly in The Message. There’s a lot of things about The Message that I don’t appreciate that you guys have heard me say. If you’re looking for a Study Bible, I would say do the ESV or the NIV. The Message is not a Study Bible. It’s a paraphrase. But I kind of liked this version of it. I read it to my kids. Let me read it to you. So you just heard in the NIV. Now I’m going to read it to you from The Message:
With that kind of hope to excite us, nothing holds us back. So the Apostle Paul is saying in the NIV, Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. and Eugene Peterson’s translation of that is with that kind of hope, like the kind of hope we have in Jesus, nothing holds us back.
Unlike Moses, we have nothing to hide. Everything is out in the open with us. He wore a veil so the children of Israel wouldn’t notice that the glory was fading away—and they didn’t notice. They didn’t notice it then and they don’t notice it now, don’t notice that there’s nothing left behind that veil. Even today when the proclamations of that old, bankrupt government are read out, they can’t see through it. Only Christ can get rid of the veil so they can see for themselves that there’s nothing there.
Whenever, though, they turn to face God as Moses did, God removes the veil and there they are—face-to-face! They suddenly recognize that God is a living, personal presence, not a piece of chiseled stone. And when God is personally present, a living Spirit, that old, constricting legislation is recognized as obsolete. We’re free of it! All of us! Nothing between us and God, our faces shining with the brightness of his face. And so we are transfigured much like the Messiah, our lives gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like him. [2 Corinthians 3:12-18 MSG]
I love to read different translations of the Bible as I study it. I was listening to a friend of mine talking to our son the other day who’s getting ready to go to Bible College, and he was saying—you know Spencer, the best way to study the Bible is not to go to Bible College. It’s to read the Bible and read it cover to cover. This is why we do the Scripture Writing Challenge. This is why I’m so passionate about getting you into the Word because I know that it’s God’s Word that transforms. It’s the Word of God. It’s God living in you. It’s the Holy Spirit speaking to us that transforms our life. Nothing does that except for God. And so I want to encourage you to get into God’s Word and join us at the Scripture Writing Challenge.
All right. The first question today, and we got a lot of really great questions this time and I want to say thanks for everybody who’s writing. The first question comes from a mom who would like to be anonymous, so I will read part of her question to you. So we aren’t supposed to live in fear, and we are to cast our anxieties on Him, and rest, and have peace that only He can give. As one who has walked through the abuse you have and struggles with anxiety—how do you reconcile these things and not struggle with condemnation when these things are very real part of your life?
Slight background for this listener, she says—I started having frequent anxiety attacks about a year ago. I started counseling a few months ago and in the process have since remembered a horrific incident from a relationship in high school where I was very violently attacked. Who knew that your brain could completely lock that stuff down in a box for 15 years. Life in the past few months is at times unrecognizable and full of a new PTSD world of triggers, flashbacks, and physical reactions to all of it, and medications to keep me sane in the process. I’m struggling with a lot of condemnation and not being able to just lay it in His hands and let Him take it.
So first of all, precious mom, you’re not alone. All right? I think that part of what the enemy does, especially when it comes to fear and anxieties, he likes to make us feel like we’re alone. I have shared my struggle to overcome anxiety many times here at the podcast—and I am really joyfully coming up on my first anniversary, of the very first year of my life as an adult, and by adult I mean starting in my probably 20, age 20—of not being on any kind of anxiety medicine at all. This has come from a lot of prayer, a lot of working these things out with the Lord and being able to talk them out with my husband. And I told you guys a long time ago—I’m a huge believer in essential oils and accessing the things that God has given us. But I know that God wants His people to be free. He wants us to be free from our anxiety and our fear, and He wants us to make His power known in our lives as He works to take away the things that are troubling us. And at the core, I think anxiety can stem from—obviously it stems from trauma, right?
And it can be any kind of trauma. And you know, sometimes people will say—well, your trauma doesn’t seem like that big of a deal. Listen, you guys, suffering is a subjective. All right? So what is really upsetting to you may not be so upsetting to somebody else. Obviously a violent attack would be upsetting to anyone, but people suffer from anxiety and fear for lots of reasons besides just overcoming a traumatic event. And something that the Lord has really shown me, and I’m going to gently say this because sometimes we’re ready to hear it and sometimes we’re not—but this is the truth. I have come to believe that the anxiety in my life has stemmed from a lack of faith in the Lord. And as I walk through, really not so much the physical response to it, but just my realizing I am being gripped by this—when we’re struggling with a lot of anxiety, really Jesus says it comes from having a little faith. And we want to overcome that. And so at its best, I think anxiety distracts us from our relationship with God and the truth that He really is the Lord of Heaven and earth, right?
That’s Matthew 11:25. But at its worst, anxiety can cripple us. It’s like a disease and it can take over our minds and really mess with us. And for me, I mean—I lived with this constant knot in my stomach. My heart would race, I could not sleep. And the Bible teaches us in Philippians 4 not to be anxious about anything, right? He says in prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And then He says—The peace of God which surpasses understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. [Philippians 4:6-7]
Notice he doesn’t say that it might. He says that it will. I also love that the Apostle Paul said—it will guard. God is recognizing that our minds are under attack and they are under attack in the culture in every way right now in the topic of male and female. In the fact that we are the most fear riddled and the most anxiety driven culture in recent history. And God is saying—I will guard your heart and your mind in Christ. And so the instructions don’t stop there because the chapter goes on to tell believers exactly what to focus on. And it’s not fear. It’s not what happened to us in our past. It’s not illness, it’s not fear of our kids getting sick or evil or any of that. Instead, he goes on to say in verse eight of Philippians 4—whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things, what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me. Practice these things and the peace of God will be with you.
So the first step to getting free from anxiety is to give your life to Jesus. And then once you’ve done that, we have to fix our thoughts on Him. And so when you realize that you’re struggling with anxiety, or you can’t sleep or whatever, one of the things I love to do, and this has worked for me over the years—is to turn on the praise music. I will crank it up. I can’t think about the thing that’s hurting me or bothering me if I am praising the Lord, because fear is a tool that the Devil uses, right? He’s trying to make you miserable. He’s trying to destroy your life. He knows that it can seep in there and cripple you. It can become crippling. And I think, that frankly, he’s using it to manipulate the people, the children of God, and keep us from enjoying the abundant life. Right?
We talked about this with Phil the other day, that the enemy of our soul comes to steal and kill and destroy. But Jesus said—I have come that you might have life and have it to the full. So fear begins with a thought. Proverbs 23:7 tells us that as a man thinks in his heart, so is he. And so where are your mind goes? You follow up. And so you got to find freedom in meditating on the Word of God and in thinking about what God says to think about. And then when you realize you’re struggling with your identity in Christ, when you realize that you’re struggling with fear instead of slipping in the condemnation, which is another trick of the enemy—you say: nope, this is not who I am in Christ. I know who I am.
And then go back to whatever is pure, whatever is right. Remember that whatever Jesus is, we are too. So if He’s strong—in Him we are strong. If He’s courageous—in Him we are courageous. That’s the verse I read this morning from 2 Corinthians 3 which is our Scripture Writing Challenge verse for today it says—because we have this hope, we are bold. Because Jesus is peace and joy we can have peace and joy. He is capable and bold and so in Christ we can do whatever we need to do with boldness because it comes from the Lord. So rather than take on the condemnation that is coming at you from the enemy of your soul who says—this is just your lot in life. I want to just encourage you—you can trust the Lord. He is in the business of healing you. He wants to heal you. You can trust him to heal scars of physical and sexual abuse. This is God. He is in the business of healing. In 2 Peter 1:3 it says—His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence.
And I am learning that everything that I need to follow the Lord in my life, and to grow in the grace and the boldness that He wants to give me, that abundant life comes from abiding in His presence and in the Word of God. And so rather than focus on yourself, focus on the Lord. Rather than gaze inward, gaze upward because when we’re looking at ourselves—that’s all we can see. But when we’re looking at Christ and recognizing Him for the One who has loved us so completely—it really is life changing. All right? Your scars are going to be there your whole life, but God wants to give you healing and He has sent His Son so that you would be free. And that freedom is available to you. So thanks for writing in, crank up the worship music and remember who you are in Christ. All right? This is God’s heart for you.
Oh, so the next question, and I’ve got a lot of questions here at the podcast and sometimes I feel like, you know—I’m not doing a very good job of answering them because there are so many and I only have a few minutes. But the next question comes from a mom who’s saying—Dear Heidi, I’m hoping for you to address how we as Christians should address the crisis at the border and illegal immigration. In my conversations, I believe this is one of the most controversial topics in Christian circles. Natalie, you’re right. In a recent article I read about a girl who started a petition against Vice-President Pence speaking at Taylor University’s graduation. She petitions against him because of his alignment to President Trump’s policies regarding the treatment of refugees and illegal aliens. How do we respectfully bridge the gap with people who are Christians yet lack discernment? The immigration issue is a question I struggle with as I know we are called to bring the Gospel to all people.
You’re absolutely right. We are called to bring the Gospel to all people, but we are also called to obey the law. We are called to obey the law as Christians. And this is very clear in the Bible. Romans 13: 1-2 says—obey the government for God is the one who has put it there. There is no government anywhere that God has not placed in power. So those who refuse to obey the law of the land are refusing to obey God—and punishment will follow. So the only reason that we would disobey the law of the land is if it goes against the law of God. And having borders and national security does not go against God’s law. Abortion on the other hand, taken an innocent human life—that does go against God’s law. And I have witnessed over the last couple of years now vitriolic accusations, lying, name calling, and hatred directed toward our president. And regardless of which side you guys are on, the election is over. And we have a president and God speaks to how we should be treating our elected officials. And so I just want to encourage you.
To me the immigration, the border, the issue of the border, and this idea that the liberal progresses in this country are pushing for open borders is ridiculous. I care about national sovereignty. Everyone who’s listening to this should care. There’s a way to care for immigrants and still follow the law. And so as we digest this verse about following the law, the only time—remember I said that we are to disobey a law is if it’s morally wrong, not in our opinion, but in God’s opinion. So in other words, we’re supposed to be good citizens and we want to do everything we can to obey the laws and to protect our country. Someone was talking about the wall the other day and I was like—good grief. If you don’t think that God cares about the sovereignty of nations, go in and look at the directions he gave to Nehemiah to rebuild the wall around Jerusalem.
I don’t have any quarrel with the president trying to keep our nation safe. I have quarrels with other things, but not with that. And frankly, I’m beside myself at what’s happening in our country where we no longer care about national sovereignty. And I think frankly—it’s pandering for votes. So to me there’s a way for us to love refugees. We should absolutely love people, but you don’t—just like with our children, if my child breaks the law, my love for my child will compel me to say—no, you’ve got to make that right. Like—I love you and I appreciate that you’re hungry, but you don’t get to go and steal food from Safeway. Like, that’s not how we handle it. And so I think while we’re coming up, I think immigration reform is a really good idea. We’ve got to respect the laws of our nation and to me that’s something that Christians should be able to get on board with.
All right, you guys, I am out of time today. It’s a 21 minutes into the show and I’m technically supposed to just have 20 so I want to say thanks for listening. Please keep those questions coming. I really appreciate hearing from you. As always, I want to turn your heart and your attention back to the Word of God. Study it to show yourself an approved workman who does not need to be ashamed, who rightly divides the Word of truth. If you want to do that with us, you can join me at MomStrongInternational.com.
I also want to give a big shout out to our sponsor today and I know that summer is finally here. Amen. Amen. Amen. But for those of you who are thinking about fall curriculum and fall classes, we are excited because here at the podcast we have partnered with The Kingdom Code and you guys, I gotta tell you—they have an awesome course for students ages nine to 13 that I think you are going to love.
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Have a great Monday everybody. And I’ll see you back here for the first day of our July study on Wednesday.
Write to Heidi:
Heidi St. John
c/o Firmly Planted Family
11100 NE 34th Cir, Vancouver, WA 98682
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