Have you ever looked at another person and wished that you could have what they have? Or have you ever looked at yourself and wished that you had something different?
If I were to ask you what you dislike about yourself the most, I’m sure it wouldn’t take you long to come up with at least one answer. We all have things about ourselves that we wish were different. And many times, it doesn’t stop with a simple wish. Sometimes we let our desire to be different turn into an idol in our lives, and it is hard to think about anything else.
Our negative view of ourselves is often enough to destroy us.
Psychologists would tell us to begin thinking better of ourselves, to do things that will boost our self-image and make us feel better about life. But is that really the answer to this problem? Or is there a God-glorifying way to look at ourselves instead?
Today I want to show you a few things that God has shown me lately: three things that God wants you to know about yourself. Are you ready?
#1 – You are loved more than you will ever know.
“I have loved you with an everlasting love” – Jeremiah 31:3
God created you, and if you know Him as your Savior, he is also your Father. Few of us can yet understand the love of a parent for their child. The depths of God’s love for us is beyond our realm of comprehension. And I want you to know that no matter how unlovable you may think you are, God doesn’t love you any less. You are so very special to Him! Again, you will never know how much love God has for you, so you’ll just have to trust Him that He means what He says!
God loves you not because of anything you have done, nor who you are. He has chosen to love you. He loves so fiercely, so relentlessly, more than anything we have ever experienced on earth. When you are at your darkest, even then He loves you!
#2 – You are redeemed…a new creature!
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” – Romans 8:1
Maybe you feel that you really have messed up; maybe you feel like the scum of the earth, and the worst part is that you think you deserve to feel that way. Let me tell you something: we have all royally messed up. Yes, it is true that God should have nothing to do with us anymore. But that is the awesome thing about God: He doesn’t operate by what we think. He gave the most undeserved gift ever when He sent His Son to die for us. When was the last time you stopped to think about the cross? It has everything to do with our talk about self-image. If Christ paid the penalty for your sins that day, then the account is settled. Neither the creditor nor the debtor need discuss the debt any longer. If Christ offered you forgiveness of sins, and you have accepted His gift, you are free and clear! Guilt does not need to dominate your life; you have been free from shame by the blood of Christ!
It’s time to start living like the redeemed children of God that we are.
#3 – You have a completely amazing and unique purpose.
“For I know the plans I have for You, declares the Lord” – Jeremiah 29:11
Did you know that God has a plan for you? Of course you did, but do you really know that? I mean, deep down in your heart and soul, do you know that? Do you believe that? Are you willing to stake everything on God’s promise that He’s got a plan?
God has a very special plan that He’s been preparing for you since before you were born. Everything that He has done for you and with you, up until this point, has been preparing you to do what He has designed you to do. You may not be happy with the way God has made you. I, for example, don’t like the fact that I am not athletic. I have no coordination or skills, and it’s embarrassing. But you know, maybe God’s purpose for me isn’t going to be working at soccer camps, and when I realize that God has made me exactly perfect for what He has for me, I can accept that and be content.
Most of you probably have learned nothing new. You know these truths, that God loves you, that you are redeemed, and that you have a purpose in life. But this is where the rubber meets the road. How do you take what you know (in your mind) and apply them to your heart and to your actions? Let me share a few things that I’ve learned.
You need to replace the lies you’ve heard with the truth.
We have an enemy, guys, and he would like nothing more than to form you into a dissatisfied creature. He wants you to hate the way God made you, to run from what He is preparing you for. Satan is known as the father of lies, and he always lies. But how do you stop him from lying? By replacing the lies with truth. Just like in a dark room you don’t try to suck out the darkness, but instead replace the darkness with light, you have to tell yourself the truth. Repeat these three truths to yourself whenever you are struggling. Write these truths down and put them somewhere that will help you (on the mirror, in the car, on your walls, etc.).
Choose to set your mind on God, and not on the lies.
If you struggle especially with the way you look, standing in front of the mirror for hours is probably not going to help. If it’s really a problem for you, try calculating how much time you spend in front of the mirror, and compare with the amount of time you spend with God. See how it adds up, and consider making some changes to help you focus on the right things.
Don’t waste your time building up self-esteem; develop a pattern of godly confidence instead.
The world will tell you to have a great self-esteem, to listen to positive people, to tell yourself a lot of, “You can do it,” and, “You’re awesome just the way you are”. They have an interesting idea, but they’re missing a solid foundation. Instead of motivating yourself with things that may or may not be true, develop what I call a “godly confidence” instead. In this model, you don’t have to be afraid or embarrassed because you know what God thinks of you and you know that that is the only opinion that matters. Instead of tricking yourself into thinking you have it all together, try admitting that you don’t have it together but choosing joy in light of the fact that the God who never leaves your side and who loves you relentlessly is strong and you don’t have to be afraid!
Friends, this type of thinking can change your life. I can’t say that I always default to being confident in God, but when I do, the difference is astounding. Praise God!