We all know the power of our thought life and how inner lies can easily turn into anxiety triggers. But today’s guest Alisa Childers tells us that there are many cultural beliefs we’ve come to accept that are actually cultural lies. These half truths promise us happiness and contentment, when in reality they’re actually leaving us anxious, exhausted, and self-obsessed.
Alisa is a wife, mom, author, podcaster, blogger, speaker and worship leader. She was a member of the award winning CCM recording group ZOEgirl and she's currently a respected speaker at apologetics and worldviews conferences. Alisa is the author of Live Your Truth (and Other Lies), where she shares 13 of the cultural lies that are taking us down a path of deception.
WHAT YOU'LL LEARN:
- [05:41] How the enemy uses cultural lies to distract and harm the Church
- [07:57] Cultural Lie #1: You need to put yourself first.
- [13:38] Cultural Lie #2: God just wants you to be happy.
- [23:33] Cultural Lie #3: We shouldn’t judge others.
- [32:57] The two foundational lies that all others are built upon
- [35:53] Which cultural lies have you believed?
[05:41] How the enemy uses cultural lies to distract and harm the Church
Alisa shares in her book the truths that we aren't sure that we should believe or not and calls them out. As you read the book, you come to the realization that something you’ve been led to believe was poisoning your thoughts on God or how you have been viewing yourself.
Alicia reminds us that the enemy knows he can't take away God's love for us, so that’s why she believes one of his greatest tactics right now is to emphasize and strengthen these lies in our culture. By highlighting some of these ways that he's infiltrating our culture, Alisa’s book is sharing a really important message.
[07:57] Cultural Lie #1: You need to put yourself first.
The first lie is that you should put yourself first. This is a huge message that Alisa sees coming through self help books, and even a lot of the materials that are marketed as Christian materials that are ultimately saying that you need to put your own needs first.
In some cases, these books that are being published and marketed for Christians will even say that being a good parent is modeling for your kids what it looks like to never have any dream left unchased, and that can create some problems.
John 15:13 says, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
We have this modeled in the life of Jesus, where He laid down his life for others. Alisa wonders if a lot of the sentiment surrounding the lie of putting yourself first is attractive to Christians because in generations past, the message was sent that you needed to not consider your own wellbeing at all and just put your all into your work, which led to people burning out and breaking down emotionally. Our human tendency to swing from one extreme belief to another is very strong, and so Alisa believes that this is why we are leaning into the lie of putting ourselves first, because we’ve seen what putting ourselves last has done.
It should be noted that we're not saying to swing so far to the other side that you just don't concern yourself at all with other people’s wants or needs but try to find a happy medium between the two.
We see Jesus modeling healthy boundaries and self care when He took time to step away by himself to recharge, refresh, pray, and be in the presence of His Father.
We do need to take care of ourselves and our bodies are very much interconnected with our minds, Alisa adds. She agrees that she’s a better mom and wife when she is eating well and exercising. However, she says, the purpose of doing those things is so that she can be in the service of other people and the service of God, which ultimately will bring more fulfillment because it hits the bullseye of our purpose.
Alisa shares that when we are constantly being refreshed and renewed by the Lord it’s like adding solar panels to a house. The solar panels give energy as they receive energy. It’s a sustainable system where we are getting exactly what we need from the Lord and don’t need to search for temporary highs like getting a promotion at work. This helps us refocus on our primary purpose of worshiping God, serving Him and being in His presence forever.
Alicia shares some verses that go with the theme of how to put ourselves first.
While culture says put yourself first, Romans 15:1 says put up with the failings of others.
Culture says outdo yourself in work or leisure and do whatever it takes to make your dreams come true while Romans 12:10 says outdo one another in showing honor.
Culture says count your likes and accomplishments whereas Philippians 2:3 says count others as more significant than you.
Lastly, culture says to exalt yourself so that you can be number one where Galatians 2:20 says crucify yourself so Christ can live in you.
[13:38] Cultural Lie #2: God just wants you to be happy.
Yes, Alisa says, God wants you to be happy. But the question is, how do you define happiness? Of course, this is one of those questions that lie right in the middle of life’s big, philosophical inquiries, she explains.
Our culture has grabbed onto this idea that if you achieve happiness on earth through success in your career or in your relationships then that's the mark of a successful life. As Christians, we can rest in the fact that our purpose, the actual reason we were created, is to worship God and be in his presence forever. Our purpose and identity in Christ is something that can never be taken away.
Our happiness is in fulfilling the purpose for which we were created. So when we’re in relationship with God, when we’re glorifying, worshiping, and learning about Him every single day, then we have a much more consistent, deep abiding joy that will maintain despite our circumstances.
[23:33] Cultural Lie #3: We shouldn’t judge others.
Much like we need to take a closer look at our definition of happiness, we also should reflect on the cultural definition of judgment versus God’s meaning of judgment. We often hear the verse “Judge not lest ye be judged” (Matthew 7:1) quoted by Christians and non-Christians alike, but God has much more to say about judgment than just this one line.
Biblically, none of us should be walking around saying who's going to heaven and who's going to hell and making statements about people's eternal destinations, but the context of what Jesus was talking about in this verse is completely different. In this verse, Jesus is talking about making moral judgments about people. He’s actually giving instructions about how to help a brother or sister in Christ. In Matthew 7:3-5 Jesus says to remove the speck from our own eyes so we can clearly see in order to remove the speck from our brother’s eye.
He isn’t saying that we have a speck in our own eyes so we should mind our own businesses and stay quiet. These verses are our instructions to judge without hypocrisy. Yes we have flaws and we need to address those. And as we’re addressing our own flaws, we’re allowed to determine right and wrong and call that out.
There are things that God calls sin that the world doesn't think is a sin. That doesn't mean we go around pointing out everybody who's doing it, but we also can't compromise on what is true about reality. The truth is, we can't expect unbelievers to live like Christians. So the primary message for the unbeliever is repent and believe and we let God do the rest.
Alisa says the emphasis isn’t on wagging our fingers in everyone’s faces, but instead focusing on what’s going on first inside of us and then inside the church. In relationship with people that we walk with in life, we do need to be able to confront each other on our sin in order to protect the flock and also to restore the center back to God and back to the church. Alisa adds “Don't judge the outsiders, the world is going to be the world; but inside the church, we want to keep a place that honors God.”
[32:57] The two foundational cultural lies that all others are built upon
Alisa shares that she’s found two foundational lies culture wants us to believe: that we are inherently good and perfect and that everything we discover inside of ourselves is good and should be lived out. These two lies have become so ingrained in our culture that any discussion that suggests otherwise is considered a major offense.
The Bible says that we’re going to have desires within us that are in direct conflict with what is actually good, and that we will need to seek to change them and repent, turning to God. This truth is received as hate speech from our current culture, but as Christians, we know that truth and love are united together, inseparable from one another. We know that the truth may be challenging to hear sometimes, but that truth is love. We rest in the knowledge that His love is the answer for anything we’re going through.
[35:53] Which cultural lies have you believed?
As you listen to the conversation in today’s podcast, take time to reflect on what stood out to you the most. Which of the three lies discussed are the ones that you would say you struggle with, or the ones you have seen infiltrating your own perspective about life or about God himself?
Let Alicia know which of the three lies really resonated with you by reaching out to her on Instagram.
Connect with Alisa:
Other Podcast Episodes on Overcoming Cultural Joy:
- Ep 110: Condemnation vs. Conviction: What's the Difference?
- Ep 125: How the Hustle Culture + My Need to Achieve Nearly Took My Life
- Ep 134: 6 Self Sabotaging Behaviors that Keep You Stuck in Toxic Thinking
- Ep. 163: How I Take Courage, Manage Anxiety, and Release Fear with Amy Debrucque
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