It was 3 am, and I stirred wide awake out of a dead sleep. Outside the comforts of home, I was in the hotel suite at the She Speaks Intensive. My sweet roommate had been sick that week before and was still fighting residual sickness. I hated to move for fear of waking her.
Instead of the overwhelming urgency to pray for others that I normally experience at this time of night, I felt unsettled. So uneasy I was doing my best to pray for myself, hoping God would calm me. Frozen in silence and darkness, I wanted my Bible, but it was in the other room.
The next day I would be sharing my passion and calling, and potentially sharing how they are tied to my story. The voice in my head was loud, disturbing and condemning. It said, “Your sin was different, bigger, and in a category of its own. God hasn’t possibly forgiven you.”
I thought, that can’t be right. I know that’s not right.
Then the nagging continued, “Don’t you remember, the Bible says, ‘‘Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God?'”
I knew Paul had written that verse with a list of detestable sins. But sin is sin. I mean, pride isn’t listed in this verse, but God hates it. If it weren’t for the blood of Jesus, we would all be separated from God because of sin. Period! But the enemy is not above using God’s Word to try to deceive.
I thought, if only I could get to my Bible, I could look it up. I’m pretty sure I remember talking this over with a friend. I think there’s more to those verses than that.
That voice continued, “You won’t inherit God’s kingdom. Who do you think you are? What makes you think God would ever want to use you? What makes you think you are worthy to stand in front of women and speak?”
This was a battle over my mind, one that I normally hadn’t struggled with. It was fierce. It was loud and convincing!
I had known God wanted me to help tell women of His love for them, no matter where they had been or what they had done. I knew He wanted to use me to remind them of the freedom and confidence they could have in knowing Him and His forgiveness.
The deceiver of my soul wanted to convince me otherwise. He tempted. He didn’t want me to believe the truth about my identity. I knew God had told me my word for this year would be STAND, but I had no idea the reality of that word would come so soon. I needed God to help me stand, I needed to get to those verses in my Bible, I needed truth, and at this point, I needed rest! I knew this was serious! Restless, I prayed.
The next morning I woke up feeling heavy, anxious, and plain yucky. I saw a text message on my phone. Word for word it said,
“Rivera, I woke up during the night with you on my heart. I felt like something was wrong. No discernment about what. I prayed. This morning I thought you might need reminders of who you are. You are chosen. You are precious. You are called. You are Abba’s beloved daughter. You are holy. You are righteous. You are pure. Do not listen to lies about your identity. Remember the power and authority of the blood of our Savior. Take your thoughts captive. Philippians 4:8 Isaiah 26:3 Colossians 3:17.”
Good tears flowed. I was overwhelmed again by the God-Who-Sees. He’s awake 24/7, and He saw my struggle. He saw me fighting. He loved me so intimately and personally, He woke up one of His prayer warriors (one of my precious friends) to pray… for ME. Then prompted to speak truth over my identity, she let me know God had intervened on my behalf by having her pray.
In that moment, God’s truth and relentless love for me washed over. Peace flooded.
I ran to my Bible. I just needed to see it for myself.
“Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? (There it is). Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”
Yes that’s what it says, but here’s the good part… the PROMISE!
“And that is what some of you were. BUT you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”
~1 Corinthians 6:9-11
There it is! The truth! And on that we can STAND!