Day 16

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A Warfare of Rest – Day 16 – The Resting Place

Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you, for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets. (Luke 6:26)

Now this is not exactly a verse you will find plastered on most people’s refrigerators!

Who among us doesn’t want to be popular? Bask in the glow of approval from parents, teachers, peers?  We all want to be accepted, we all want to feel loved.

Our need for approval and acceptance is as old as humanity itself – it goes back to the moment that Adam and Eve sinned and were banished from the garden.  They didn’t just leave with a new animal-print wardrobe.  They also took with them a root of rejection that became woven into the fabric of the soul of mankind.  From that day forward, every single human being born on planet earth has struggled with the fruit of this separation from the Father, an orphan spirit that aches with an unrelenting need to feel worthy, accepted, validated and loved.

By going to the Cross, Jesus laid Himself down as a living sacrifice for our sins and became the bridge by which we could be restored to right standing with the Father.  He delivered us from our slavery to fear and rejection and the bondage to an orphan spirit, by releasing over us the power of the spirit of adoption. (Romans 5:6-21).

For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.  The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.  And by him we cry, Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. (Romans 8:14-17)

For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. (Romans 8:29)

As believers we came to Christ because of a revelation of our sinfulness and need for the saving grace of the blood of Jesus. But if we lack the revelation of the full work of the Cross and of our placement in the family as sons and daughters of God, then we will be tempted to fill that need for approval and acceptance somewhere else.

As part of my Christian journey, I went through an extended season of testing in a church that was not a healthy spiritual environment.  Because the leaders themselves struggled with rejection, they were unable to provide the normal encouragement and blessing that spiritual fathers and mothers should give to younger people.  In fact, they saw anyone with a gift as a threat to their authority and so many young people, including myself, were deliberately pushed down and made to feel small and insignificant.

I cried out to the Lord many times for true spiritual fathers and mothers.  And in His mercy, the Lord began bringing leaders into my life who genuinely loved me and wanted to see me released into my calling. But because I did not yet have a revelation of my adoption as a daughter of God,  I soon found myself desperately seeking approval and validation from these leaders.  That put me into a vicious performance cycle – serving in obedience to God but driven by this unhealthy need for approval. And no matter how much approval came, it was never enough because my heart was like a bag with holes in it.  Everything that was poured in, always managed to leak out.  So even when it looked like everything was going my way and  I was given many amazing opportunities to walk with senior leaders, inside I still struggled with a deep rejection that kept me bound in a place of terrible pain and emotional torment.

One day I was driving and bitterly complaining to God how I felt unappreciated and used and how I knew the problems were these leaders I was walking with – that they just didn’t know how to be true spiritual parents.  All of a sudden, I saw a clear vision before my eyes.

I was literally hanging off the side of a cliff, my finger nails dug deep into the ground.  I instantly knew this was a picture of me in my former church – just barely hanging on for dear life.  But then I saw leaders standing below me, at the base of the cliff, their arms outstretched, coaxing me to let go, promising to catch me.  As I fell into their arms, instantly I turned and like a frightened little child, I clung to them.

The vision stopped and the Lord spoke to me, “You have made these people into idols, Stephanie, and that’s why you are struggling so much in these relationships.  I ordained you to walk with these leaders as a way of bringing healing into your life.  But you have started to look to them to be the ones who will “save you” and release you into your calling.   And I am a jealous God, Stephanie, and I will not permit anyone or anything but Me to be your safe place.  And so I am opposing the very relationships I ordained because this is wrong order.”

‘For as the sash clings to the waist of a man, so I have caused the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah to cling to Me,’ says the Lord, ‘that they may become My people, for renown, for praise, and for glory; but they would not hear.’  (Jeremiah 13:11)

We are meant to cling to the Lord and the Lord alone. But because many of us have not received a complete revelation of our adoption as God’s children, we tend to cling to other things to fill the identity void inside us.  For some, it’s our jobs or our callings or maybe our ministry positions.  But for most of us, we cling to other people: spouses, parents, bosses, spiritual leaders or friends.  Psychology has developed modern descriptions like co-dependency or soul ties to describe what is, in fact, a very old problem: idolatry. 

When we hear the word “idol” we think of images of stone carvings or Asherah poles.  The objects never were (and still aren’t) the problem. The problem was that people looked to these things for safety, for protection, for comfort, for direction. And they worshipped – they bowed down – to them.   Anything or anyone we depend on to feel safe, protected, or comforted other than God can be an idol.  Anytime the opinion of another person starts to speak more loudly into our identity than the voice of God, we have elevated that person to the place of God and made them an idol.   

Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe. (Proverbs 29:25)

My people have committed two sins: they have forsaken me, the spring of living water,
and have dug their own cisterns,  broken cisterns that cannot hold water. (Jeremiah 2:13)

Human beings are imperfect; they will always disappoint us, hurt us, sometimes even use and abuse us.  If we tie our sense of identity to the approval of another human being, we will never be able to truly enter into rest.  True freedom will only come when we gain a revelation of our adoption as sons and daughters of God and cling to Him, and Him, alone.

If this resonates with your heart and you would like God to expose and remove any idols in your life, let’s pray this prayer together.  “Lord, Psalm 24:3-4 says, ‘Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, nor sworn deceitfully.’ God, the longing of my heart is to go to deeper places in Your presence and experience greater levels of Your glory. But I know that this can’t happen if there are idols in my life.  So Father, I’m asking You to shine the light of Your truth and revelation into my heart and expose any idols I have established there.  Deliver me from the fear of man and give me a testimony in my spirit that I am a son/daughter of God.  I want You to be my only refuge, my only hiding place, my only place of rest.  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen!”

On behalf of the Awaken Team

We would  love this journey to be an expression of the corporate body and not just a few of us, so if the Lord gives you a vision or dream or speaks to you through a scripture or if you have a story or testimony you would like to share, please send it to

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