Lies And Limiting Beliefs

Nitzavim | Deuteronomy 29:9[10]-30:20

In Parashat Shoftim we discussed the idea that many people consider the Torah to be impossible to keep. Our current Torah portion reinforces the fact that God gave the Torah to His people because He believes they are capable of living it out. Where do we see this? First, God gives the Children of Israel a choice to live by His commandments and receive blessings or to disobey His commandments and receive curses (Deuteronomy 30:1–10). Unfortunately, many people superimpose the character of a cruel, earthly father onto our loving, Heavenly Father. How absurd would it be if our Heavenly Father told us to do things He knew were impossible. This sounds more like the perniciousness of the Greek pantheon or even the abuse found in the Nazi war camps than the loving God of Israel. Only a cruel god would punish a people for setting a standard that was impossible to keep and then curse people for not keeping it.

Second, He then tells us His standard of righteousness is not too difficult:

For this commandment that I command you today is not too hard for you, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that you should say, “Who will ascend to heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?” Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, “Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?” But the word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it. (Deuteronomy 30:11–14)

The enemy’s greatest tool is deception. If he can make us believe that success is not an option, he has won before we even get started. With this in mind, sometimes we feel that it’s easier to give in to our struggles than to overcome them. Rather than holding to, “I can’t eat that fruit because God told me not to,” we hear the enemy’s voice saying, “Did God really say that?” or “That doesn’t apply to me.” We then begin to rationalize why we need that delicious fruit and why we can’t change. But anytime we respond to God’s standard of righteousness with, “Well, that’s just the way I am,” we are rejecting His help to overcome our individual struggles. But it’s precisely in these instances when we feel God’s commandments are too difficult that Hashem wants to help us become the person He created us to be.

In Paul’s letter to the Romans, he details the ongoing battle with sin. Chapters six and seven contain both his admonition against sin and his personal struggle with it. What most people miss, however, is his resolution in chapter eight. While many people read chapter eight as a negation of the Torah, it’s actually Paul’s explanation of how his new life in Yeshua helps him submit to the Torah’s instructions. Where the Torah had previously caused him anxiety because of his sinful nature, it was now a means to show that God’s standard of righteousness could be exemplified in his life:

For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” (Romans 8:3–4)

Paul had previously held to a limiting belief regarding his relationship to the Torah. Through his attachment to Yeshua and the power of the Holy Spirit dwelling within him, however, he was able to discard that belief, overcome his flesh, and see God’s righteousness fulfilled in him.

We may have limiting beliefs that have caged us in and kept us from becoming the people God wants us to become. We may believe that we will never be able to control our anger, or that we can’t overcome our struggle with lust, or that we can’t work things out with our spouse, or that we can’t make ends meet unless we work on the Sabbath, etc. Unfortunately, sometimes it’s easier to do what’s comfortable and suffer the consequences than do what’s uncomfortable and reap the benefits.

Even though the commandments may be difficult at times, God has given us the ability to perform them, especially now that the Holy Spirit has been given to us as disciples of Yeshua. The struggle is real, but it’s our obligation to wage war on our flesh so that our spirit may overcome. As Paul, we must also fight the good fight and beat our body into submission regarding sin in order to obtain the prize (1 Corinthians 9:27). What is your struggle or limiting belief? What is holding you back from becoming all that God wants you to be? What steps can you take to shed this mindset to become free from the things that have bound you? Start today and don’t look back. You’ll be a better person because of it.