We sat down with Lisa Bevere to talk about her new audiobook Without Rival. The interview was recorded and can be played below. Enjoy!
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Vicki Morgan: Hello, and welcome to the conversation! I’m Victoria Morgan interviewing for Christian Audio. And joining me today on Skype is best-selling author and internationally known speaker, Lisa Bevere. Lisa is the co-founder of Messenger International; and she is certainly a messenger with a mission — to help women all over the world find answers to what she calls “desperate problems.” We’re excited to be chatting with her today about what I believe is one of her most powerful messages to date, a new audiobook called Without Rival. And I just have to give you a sneak preview of it. She’s talking here about the root of systematic divisions in our relationships. On page 14 she says that a systematic division starts on a much more intimate scale. It could start in the home, where divided houses are filled with wounded people and divided hearts. There are very real forces that whisper lying innuendos that assault your mind, your will, and your emotions in the hope of causing you to turn on yourself, and then others.
So we’re going to talk to her today and we’re going to touch on that subject. This is indeed just one of the desperate problems that destroy women today. And she tackles them head-on in her new audiobook Without Rival. In fact, Lisa’s heart breaks over social injustice. She’ll tell you that herself. As an advocate for change, she believes in empowering women through God’s word and her hard-earned insight, which you can find in her award-winning studies and best-selling audiobooks and also DVD series which we’ll talk about later. Lisa wakes up with coffee, she loves coffee, and ends the day with the love of her life, husband, author and speaker John Bevere, and their family.
Lisa, with that, we welcome you to Christian Audio. Thank you so much for joining us today.
Lisa Bevere: I am so thrilled to be here, Vicki. I’m excited to talk about this topic with you.
Vicki Morgan: So the first thing that you asked us to do in Without Rival is to imagine a life without rivals. I have to tell you I breathe the sigh of relief when I heard that. A lot of us feel when we wake up in the morning that life is a competition with our friends, coworkers, drivers on the road from the time we wake up until the time we collapse into bed. But you say in Without Rival that we are fighting an imaginary war and you say that this feeling of having to spar with one another is actually distraction from the real war that we’re supposed to be fighting.
Lisa Bevere: Absolutely! And I do think that so many people will feel relieved if they’re they like, “Oh, good, I don’t have to compete. I don’t have to go for this.” But there is definitely a very real competition for who you are and what is on your life and we need to know what God thinks about us and why that is different, why we don’t have to compete with one another, because there really is no competition. God does not love His children equally, He loves us uniquely. And when God loves us uniquely, that means He loves us without rival. So, Vicki, there is no competition between you and I for the love of God, there is nobody that is going to express the love of God to this earth the way you will do it and there is nobody that God is going to love uniquely the way He loves you. You are a living breathing expression of what it means to be loved by a God as a daughter without rival.
Vicki Morgan: So, imagine rivalry is affecting us personally, I get that. It’s sapping our energy. It’s deflecting our purpose of lifting each other up in love. And in your audiobook you really go into the different types of rivalries that women face, and there’s more than I thought. But the one thing you seem to be most passionate about is gender rivalry in the church – men against women, women against men – you give us some very strong clear-cut passionate warnings to the church body about this. So, what are some of the lies women believe about the role in the church? Let’s hear your thoughts on this subject.
Lisa Bevere: I just hung up with an interview with a newspaper and they said, “Why are you talking about this when you’re actually not talking to the men? Why are you talking about gender rivalries in a book that’s written to women that probably needs to be heard by men?” And I said, “Because women at some level,” Vicki, “they actually believe these things about them.” And what I had heard when I became a Christian and what I believe is still being spoken over women by a large vast majority of the leadership in the body of Christ is that women are gullible, that they’re easily deceived, that they were the first to sin and the last to be created and therefore, they shouldn’t have voice, they shouldn’t have contribution. And this is really a huge misappropriation of the commandment of Jesus. Jesus is the one that commissioned male and female to go into all the world and preach the Gospel, the Great Commission is actually our permission.
But you know what, Vicki, for years I looked at my own life and I thought, “You know what, I can see areas where I’m completely unfit. I can see areas where I’ve been an idiot and have been unwise. I can see areas where I’ve been gullible and lack discernment.” And so I would allow sometimes, Vicki, those labels to limit me. Then I started to meet young girls and they began to ask me questions like, “Why should I be happy that I’m a woman? Why do I have value? ” Then I started having granddaughters and I started to think, “Wait a minute, if I allow these things to be spoken over me, then I am allowing these things to be spoken over my daughters and my granddaughters, and I won’t let anybody say that my granddaughter is an unfit representation of God’s goodness and the love of God and the Gospel and action. I’m not going to let anybody say that she’s gullible and easily deceived even though she’s only five years of age.” The truth is, all of us, male and female, have been all of those things.
But Jesus Christ is the one who made us fit and able, and the Holy Spirit is our Counselor and our wisdom, and the Word of God is what rightly divide so that the undiscerning become discerning. And so we need to stop limiting women to fallen designations. What Jesus Christ did was appropriated to both genders and the church needs to stop devaluing its daughters because I do think that this is actually creating a lot of the gender identity crisis that’s going on.
Vicki Morgan: You recently wrote a blog called Sticks and Stones and Broken Bones. And I think it ties into our discussion quite nicely. We can hurt each other with our words, we can perceive this gender rivalry happening, but we can also hurt our own selves too by listening to the wrong voice. And I love how you explain this so painfully well in your book. You say, “We judge when we feel judged. We shame when we feel shame. We hate when we dislike ourselves. And when we feel bankrupt, we want to rob others.”
Lisa Bevere: Yeah. And I do think that we have this scarcity mindset that other people are taking what is rightfully ours. But what if, Vicki, what if we actually believed what Paul wrote in 1st Timothy 6:6 that “godliness with contentment is great gain.” There is something that comes through godliness pairing with contentment that gives you a perspective where you actually have this ability to adopt God’s vantage. This means we don’t just acknowledge how He sees other people, but we also embrace how He sees us. And I think you’re very astute to say that many of us are our own worst enemies as those things that we say about ourselves, those things that when we look in the mirror we diminish about ourselves, these are things that are always going to be tearing us down. And we think that if we do not constantly attack and criticize ourselves that we’re going to be breeding complacency, but the truth will actually release us into a realm of creativity and so we need to stop listening and turn from the distracters and the distractions and open up some sacred space in our life so that we can hear from God.
Vicki Morgan: And I love in response to the enemy’s lies you’ve written so many books that help women find their God-given strengths, their talents, their warrior abilities, in fact in all of your books and audiobooks you remind women to fight, to be warriors, champions, achievers, not competing against each other but for each other against a common enemy. And you’re just so courageous when you write that and I really look up to you, but were you always that courageous?
Lisa Bevere: Absolutely not! [laughs] No, absolutely not. And here’s the thing. I had the benefit of hearing the Gospel in a time period that is different than now. Vicki, when I heard the Gospel for the first time I heard that my life was no longer my own, that I had been bought with a price and that I had been translated from a realm of darkness into a realm of light and that the life I now lived was not my own, it was bought by Christ. And so when I got saved, my husband was a preacher, he was very motivated to preach, it’s all I want to do is preach and travel and see people get saved. And I was like, “Yay, John.” But he started to notice, “There’s a lot of young girls in our youth meetings that need to hear from you,” and I said, “Oh, wait, wait, I’m not some package deal. Just because you’re preaching doesn’t mean I have to preach. You’re the preacher and I’m the supportive wife.” And John would say things to me like, “You just need to be ready tonight when I call on you to speak,” and I’d be like, “Well, you just need to be ready that I will walk out the back door.”
But here’s the truth. He would hand me the mic and, Vicki, I would open my mouth and God would somehow fill it. And we would go home and I would say, “Don’t you ever pull that stunt on me again,” and he’d say, “Lisa, you’re not your own.” Because Vicki, I had lost an eye to cancer when I was five. So I felt like I got to option out under the handicap clause. I didn’t want to get up in front of people with an artificial eye and have them look at me and say, “Wait, she’s weird. Look at her eye and stuff.” And God just started to tell me, “It’s actually not about you, Lisa, it’s about them.” And I have been a big champion of telling women that God actually loves to position you to face what you fear because when you face what you fear, you become fearless and God is looking for a generation of women who will choose to love fearlessly.
Vicki Morgan: We’re just so very blessed to have you share that with us and to have you as a coach to remind us all to support one another, to quit cat-fighting and pour our energies into honoring God. But you said something earlier that now I’m kind of questioning. You said, and I hope I get this right, that God told you audibly that He doesn’t love His children all equally. So, it must have come as a shock when He gave you that message. In a nutshell, what was He saying? How did you take that?
Lisa Bevere: You know what? It was a shock. I was actually just coming back from Korea, just falling asleep, I was working on my other audiobook Girls with Swords, and I was just falling asleep when He said “I do not love my children equally,” and I thought that’s blasphemy! You have to love us all the same! And He said, “Same would mean one of you were replaceable. Equal implies that my love can be measured,” and He said, “My love is immeasurable and none of My children are replaceable. I do not love My children equally, I love them uniquely.” And the term unique, one of the main definitions breaks down to without rival.
Vicki Morgan: And you just bought that point home. If we are without rival, we really can’t compare ourselves to others, we can’t try to outdo them and we can’t be envious of them because God loves us all very uniquely. In fact, we can’t ever be anything like other women. So, in your audiobook you explain why it would be a waste of time to try. I think about the rivalry between Sarah and Hagar and look how that turned out.
Lisa Bevere: It was not good.
Vicki Morgan: It was a disaster.
Lisa Bevere: [laughs] Yeah, we’re still navigating that disaster. No, it was not good at all and yet I hated that Sarah’s mishandling of that caused her to remove herself from some conversations that she needed to be part of. And I think that one of the things that when I was writing about a promise without rival, as women we need to know. Just because we’ve mishandled something in the past doesn’t mean that God says we’re out of it for the future. God needs us to be part of some of these conversations that only women will know how to carry. And Sarah, by making a lot of mistakes, was able to have some depth woven into her so that later in life she was able to carry something that birthed not only a promise but a nation.
And so I think that that is an incredibly crucial thing. And going back to what you said about we can’t be anybody else, I love the way Romans 12, verse 5-6 and the message it unpacks. It says (so since we’ve discovered we are without rival) “So since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ’s body, let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren’t.” When we compare and contrast, we limit ourselves to what we have known or what we have seen, and God is saying, “I need my daughters to stop that.” Because I really believe with all of my heart, Vicki, that He’s getting ready to do a new thing.
Vicki Morgan: You’re right, you’re right. We are entering that new period of time and women in the church have to understand who they are in Christ. Let’s say that we get it, we are now living without rival and it’s wonderful and we’re going through your audiobook, but there’s a chapter in there called When You’re Seen As A Rival. So what do we do when all of a sudden somebody wrongly perceives us as a rival, they start treating us like we’re competition?
Lisa Bevere: Well, first and foremost, I’m really actually sorry to be the one to say this, if they haven’t already figured that out … you have no ability to control how other people choose to see you. But you do have this ability to choose how you’re going to respond to them. We have to say, “All right, we need to be a friend even if these people don’t want to be friends with us.” But you have to know that rivals usually do not want friendship, they usually want to displace you. So you have to make a choice that you’re going to allow the rivals in your life to bring out the best in you rather than best you. And again, God will send a rival into your life so that you can get position and you can get perspective, but a lot of us we don’t view them correctly and we don’t understand that rivals are callous and rivals can reveal God’s power in our life.
David had a rival, the first one. Well, really his first rivals were his brothers. I find it very interesting that his father didn’t send for David. And then when his father sends David into the battlefield to bring cheese to the brothers, they all are like, “We know the naughtiness of your heart.” And then when Goliath is defying the armies of Israel, David goes around and says, “Is there not a cause?” And his brothers again diminish and demean his involvement or his potential of contribution. But rivalry of incredible potential was being set up because by David defeating Goliath, he gained prominence. So he had position from Goliath, but then he got perspective from Saul. And Saul was this rival that made David a king. But David was always hoping that Saul would not see him as a rival, he was hoping that Saul would be a father to him.
And a lot of us, we’ve looked to people to be a friend or a father or a mother and all they’ve been is a rival and we feel like a victim and we need to understand … no, actually God will use that struggle process to strengthen us and refine your own personal motives. And so get your eyes off of them and say, “God, what would you might want to teach me through this situation?”
Vicki Morgan: And I think people are going to, women especially, are going to really love your audiobook, Without Rival. It brings such relief and such peace just to not be at odds with the entire world and church body.
Vicki Morgan: It just really was very good for me. I drive in my car and I’m saying, “I am without rival.”
Lisa Bevere: That’s right.
Vicki Morgan: And it’s just so different. I would love to keep picking your brain, Lisa, and soaking up some of your courage, but I know you’re busy. The good news is, all this information is available for us to enjoy in-depth, not only in your audiobook, Without Rival, but also in your DVD series Insights to a Life Without Rival. I’m excited about that. Do you want to talk about that and then give us a good website so that we can all dive in?
Lisa Bevere: Absolutely! Well, first and foremost, you probably can figure out, yes, I love caffeine but I’m also very passionate. I’m half Sicilian, part Apache Indian, French and English. I’m incredibly passionate to see women be everything they’ve been called to be. And so I find that sometimes when women read books, they read it the way they have heard things in their brain. So when you compare an audiobook where the author is actually speaking with passion and strength and emphasis, it kind of changes it because you have somebody saying, “Hey, hey, hey” … in this kind of tone and this kind of manners. I love that I was given the opportunity to read it.
And then we preached it.
So the DVD series Insights Without Rival, we took the six major concepts and we gathered women in a group and we preached it and we prayed over them. And it was just this beautiful kind of ceiling that if anybody wondered, “Hey, I’m not sure,” or if they have a home group, they can put this in, I believe they are fifteen to eighteen minutes each, and so the women can listen to the book, read the book and then they can watch the DVDs. And I loved partnering with this audiobook project because I feel like so many women have really busy lives. You said you did it driving in your car. And so some women don’t have the capacity to sit down and watch a DVD. But boy, when they’re picking up their kids or they are running errands, they can listen to it. And so the DVD, Insights Without Rival and the audiobook, they can get it at messengerinternational.org and there is also a withoutrival.com.
Vicki Morgan: Now, I heard that you also have a study guide that comes with that DVD series?
Lisa Bevere: The study guide is with the DVD series and it’s woven into the book itself. We felt like this message was so important that we went ahead and wove the study guides with the questions into the book and into the DVDs and so it’s a great partner with the audiobook.
Vicki Morgan: I’m excited to dive in because I need it. I don’t know about anybody else but I need it and I think some of my friends might too. So, Lisa, we at Christian Audio are so grateful that you’re sharing your message in audiobook form. You are truly a helpful, healing and an empowering messenger for Christian women worldwide. Thank you for reminding us of who we are in Christ and for speaking with us today.
Lisa Bevere: It was an honor.
Vicki Morgan: You can find out more about Lisa Bevere’s new audiobook, Without Rival, at christianaudio.com. If you’d like a free audiobook each month and heads up on our monthly promotional offers, be sure to join our mailing list. I’m Victoria Morgan. Thanks for listening!
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