“Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?” (Romans 7:24, NASB)
Ok so let’s be honest! Do you REALLY like yourself? Do you really think you’re not too this or too that? Maybe the “if only-ies” or “I wish I coulds” creep into your mind as the going gets a bit tougher and rougher than the flesh would want? Maybe your displeased with your reactions or actions? Are you becoming your mind’s worst enemy or nightmare?
Well friends, you are definitely NOT ALONE in your thinking! Many of us seem to fall hostage to the unhappiness of ourselves, which brings us to the question – as Christians, aren’t we supposed to like ourselves so we can be more like Jesus?
How often do we try to drill cliched sayings like this into our subconscious through self talk and perhaps even ‘recite’ one-liners like, “how can I love others if I can’t even love myself.” We start to loath the psychologist in us and end up wasting another day trying to figure out how to stop running away from the root cause to all our problems: coping with one’s self! As if we could do that, then couldn’t we cope with anyone else?
So, it’s time to stop right here and find some answers.
Let’s think BIGGER and think HIGHER as we delve into the world of thinking from a DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE.
We’ll examine some Scriptural supported reasons why we may feel we don’t like who we are, with realistic solutions.
REASON 1: I am inherently flawed!
“Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me” (Psalm 51:5, NASB).
“16For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through him” (John 3:16-17, NASB).
This Scripture very specifically says that God loves His human creation, so much, that He sent His son, Jesus with the intention to REDEEM EVERY SINGLE HUMAN!
That should tell us something. God loves us anyway!
Ok, so we know that, but do we really KNOW that?
Why not begin to look at ourselves through God’s own eyes? We like the idea of becoming godly and changing ourselves and growing, but when it comes to doing the work, we just like to talk about the idea. So do we just keep talking about what we want to change or do we actually role up our sleeves and start CHISELLING at ourselves to change and TRUSTING and DEPENDING on God to help us also be who HE wishes us to be?
TRUST comes from faith in our Creator and His Son Jesus, and faith comes from hearing the word of God (Romans 10:17).
God sees our sin much more fully than we do, but recognizes our sin in the context of His love.
God not only provides us needed lessons of learning accountability and obedience to HIS WILL, He provides us a pathway back to Him:
“6 Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being, and in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom. 7 Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. 8 Make me to hear joy and gladness, let the bones, which You have broken rejoice. 9 Hide Your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquities. 10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. 11 Do not cast me away from Your presence and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit. 13 Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners will be converted to You” (Psalm 51:6-13, NASB).
David spoke these words after he had committed some pretty terrible sins and brought his guilt before God. But in these verses he began to realize his sins were being viewed through the eyes of love, compassion and mercy – as well as justice.
Make me know wisdom – he is capable of knowing it if GOD helps him.
Purify me, and I shall be clean – he is capable of being clean if he relies on GOD.
Do not cast me away from Your presence…Restore to me the joy of Your salvation –It was as if David was saying this in his prayer: “GOD, I love you and I know I am valuable in Your eyes, but I lost that value because of my actions. Help me get the value back that I know you see in me. Help me grow from my mistakes. I know am flawed, but I know you see beyond the flaws.”
This is a brilliant way to begin to address the issues of our lives. God sees our potential and encourages us to come up higher. We talk to God.
TELL GOD “THANK YOU” for forgiveness and seeing worth in me.
TELL GOD “I LOVE YOU.”
TELL GOD ” I’M SORRY.”
TELL GOD “PLEASE FORGIVE ME.”
TELL GOD “I WANT TO PLEASE YOU”; “I WANT TO ONLY DO YOUR WILL AS IT IS AS PERFECT AS YOU ARE”; “I WANT TO CHANGE FOR THE BETTER.”
ASK GOD ” PLEASE FATHER, ABBA, HELP ME”; “WHAT IS YOUR WILL FOR ME?”; “SHOW ME WHAT YOU WANT OF ME FATHER.”
If we do our part in wanting to improve, God will do His part. “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you” (James 4:8).
When we do bring our flawed selves back to God it is a glorious time, as we can learn to live in His love:
“1Bless the LORD, O my soul, And all that is within me, bless His holy name. 2Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits; 3Who pardons all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases; 4Who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with loving-kindness and compassion; 5Who satisfies your years with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle” (Psalm 103:1-5, NASB).
David found a way to see from God’s perspective and it was a cause for praise. David understood it is that perspective that could rule his life.
This is a huge ATTITUDE CHANGE! It came from learning God’s LOVE through learning about God’s forgiveness.
We can consciously work to make an attitude change, but if we do not keep it changed, it will reverse. This is a challenge!
Let’s keep telling ourselves “What gives us the right to not like ourselves if God loves us?”
We insult God’s name if we walk around feeling worthless!
God is the potter and we are His clay. We do not have the right to complain about the way in which he molds us if we have surrendered up our wills to Him, trusting that our perfect Creator will creator a perfect masterpiece out of what He has allowed to come to life.
When we communicate with others, let’s try to speak in glowing terms and not be pessimistic, insulting or harsh. Our communication reveals what we are leaning on.
Here is what to lean on for positive, strong communication:
“12 So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. 14 Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 Whatever you do in word or deed do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father” (Colossians 3:12-17, NASB).
If we have the Lord Jesus in our hearts and minds, it will elevate our communication even when we are not talking about spiritual things.
REASON 2: I have made many bad choices based upon my sinful flesh and desires!
“1 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. 3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest” (Ephesians 2:1-3, NASB).
Do you think that God is not aware of your bad choices? How does He see you in spite of them?
“17 Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. 18 In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures” (James 1:17-18, NASB).
Take a moment to ask yourself this: Why would God give me His love of the Truth for the benefit of all, if I were just trash?
Give God credit in His love for you.
Shine your joys of THANKFULNESS & GRATITUDE for all HIS BENEFITS shown towards you and this is what we are told to do in Psalm 116:-
“What shall I return to the Lord for all his goodness to me? I will sacrifice a thank offering to you and call on the name of the Lord. I will fulfill my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people…” (Psalm 116: 12, 17, 18).
Let’s try to listen to God’s voice that says, “I love you, my child. I know you are broken, but that is why I am here in your life.”
Regarding our bad choices, we cannot take away what has already happened – our personal history is there to stay.
Our personal history can be destructive, especially if we view it as our personal present and personal future.
Every time we use a Scripture that talks about how bad we are, we will go to the context to find out how good God is in correcting that.
So, how does God view our personal history?
“4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His GRACE in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by GRACE you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them” (Ephesians 2:4-10, NASB).
God loved us even when we were dead in our transgressions.
Whose opinion, whose observation, whose assessment of your personal history is most reliable?
God’s of course.
Do we believe it intellectually or actually trust it is true?
It is okay to not like parts of ourselves–this is appropriate when we are not doing things right, kind or loving.
But God sees our character as POTENTIAL ground for goodness and godliness.
So we need to learn to love ourselves in spite of not liking what we do.
That is part of the balance. We have to rely on God’s eyes and not our own. See things through God’s eyes.
“6 The LORD performs righteous deeds and judgments for all who are oppressed. 7 He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the sons of Israel. 8 The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in loving-kindness. 9 He will not always strive with us, nor will He keep His anger forever. 10 He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. 11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His loving-kindness toward those who fear Him” (Psalm 103:6-11, NASB).
We cannot comprehend the size and scope of God’s love. God’s grace, benevolence and plan are bigger than you or I can imagine! Why wouldn’t we trust His view of our broken selves?
“4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! 5 Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:4-7, NASB).
Drive your desires towards God’s mind and God’s way. He knows it is difficult which is why He gives us so many things we can rely on.
Comparing ourselves to others (and never measuring up) is one of Satan’s greatest tools of lies. Our comparisons should encourage us.
Let us learn to say, for example:
“The Apostle Peter made a lot of mistakes but look how strong he became. I can learn from his experiences.”
We do not want to let the mess of our lives override the love of God in our lives. God loves us in spite of our sin and in spite of our difficulties.
Would the God of the Universe not understand us? We need to rethink the eyes we see ourselves with and the voice we listen to.
God appreciates our frailty and has made allowance for it. Do you do the same for yourself?
“20 But now there are many members, but one body. 21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, I have no need of you; or again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. 22 On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary; 23 and those members of the body which we deem less honourable, on these we bestow more abundant honor, and our less presentable members become much more presentable…” (1 Corinthians 12:20-23, NASB).
There is great wisdom in the structure of the body of Christ. Different members do different things, and some have more honor than others. But so what? They all have value and are a part of something bigger.
REASON 3: I don’t always do what is right, even when I know better!
“14 For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin. 15 For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate” (Romans 7:14-15, NASB).
Are we not all so often walking contraditions? We see, we know, and we want to do God’s will, but we so often do less, or act contrary or even defy it.
We see this as a reason to beat ourselves down, but how does God see it?
“21 I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. 22 For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, 23 but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin” (Romans 7:21-25, NASB).
God sees our flaming contradictions through the covering of Jesus. What is His reaction?
God sees us as being made right through Jesus. Surely we could begin to see what He sees!
We being imperfect can never truly please God, so aren’t we really fighting an unwinnable battle?
We are weak and lack in discipline and focus. We even hold onto things that may not be right in God’s eyes, yet our Heavenly Father sees the depth of our heart above and beyond all of these things!
“5 One person regards one day above another; another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God. 7 For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself; 8 for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s” (Romans 14:5-8, NASB).
The Apostle Paul was saying he was a slave to sin but did not want to be. He fought against that but acknowledged the fact that the fight existed.
One of the basic Christian principles is learning how to get beyond our own limitations when it comes to forgiveness.
REASON 4: Even when I do what is right, it seems to end up bad anyway!
“6 For all of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; and all of us wither like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away. 7 There is no one who calls on Your name, who arouses himself to take hold of You; for You have hidden Your face from us and have delivered us into the power of our iniquities” (Isaiah 64:6-7, NASB).
We see ourselves as so incomplete and so unworthy that we assume ourselves to be generally worthless, and this is the way we define our lives. What does God see?
God sees value, He sees worth, He sees potential. He sees what we can be in His hands:
“But now, O LORD, You are our Father, we are the clay, and You our potter; And all of us are the work of Your hand” (Isaiah 64:8, NASB).
The way we see ourselves dictates in whose hands we place our lives.
Do you place your life in God’s hands or Satan’s?
“15 As for man, his days are like grass; as a flower of the field, so he flourishes. 16 When the wind has passed over it, it is no more, and its place acknowledges it no longer. 17 But the loving-kindness of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, and His righteousness to children’s children, 18 To those who keep His covenant and remember His precepts to do them” (Psalm 103:15-18, NASB).
God’s thoughts and plans are based on eternity – shouldn’t we rely on His judgment of us? Temporary vs. eternity? Flawed thinking vs. perfect thinking? Creator vs. created?
Are we making accomplishments in lifting others to higher spiritual levels?
“16 Nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified… 19 For through the Law I died to the Law, so that I might live to God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life, which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself up for me. 21 I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly” (Galatians 2:16, 19-21, NASB).
The Law served a great purpose, but its real purpose was to bring us to the next step. Our lives have to be in Christ so we can become acceptable to God. We are acceptable not because of our own doing; rather, because Christ “covers” us with his righteousness.
God does not call us in order to cover a piece of dirt with Christ, but He calls us because of the “YOU” He wants to draw out.
The lesson for us all is not to change the way we look through our eyes or through the eyes of other humans, because God is interested in our sincerity of heart deep within our soul.
Be the best “YOU” as God sees you!
So, are we doomed to trudge through life – trying, failing and then finally dying?
Doomed? No! Privileged? Yes!
God absolutely loves us and absolutely has our highest welfare in mind, after all, He IS our Father!
“4 You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin; 5 and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons, my son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor faint when you are reproved by Him; 6 for those whom the Lord loves he disciplines, and he scourges every son whom he receives. 7 It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline?” (Hebrews 12:4-7).
REASON 5: I cannot escape from the mire of this pit of my own sin!
“9 What then? Are we better than they? Not at all; for we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin; 10 as it is written, there is none righteous, not even one; 11 there is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God; 12 all have turned aside, together they have become useless; there is none who does good, there is not even one. 13 their throat is an open grave, with their tongues they keep deceiving, the poison of asps is under their lips…” (Romans 3:9-13, NASB).
Jesus has released us from sin so what we need to do is TRUST in that release as we see the WHOLE picture in Scripture of how God sees us!
“23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; 25 whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in his blood through faith. This was to demonstrate his righteousness, because in the forbearance of God he passed over the sins previously committed; 26 for the demonstration, I say, of his righteousness at the present time, so that he would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. 27 Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith. 28 For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law” (Romans 3:23-28, NASB).
When you are justified, you are made right in God’s eyes. We are not actually “right” while still in our sinful state, which is why we need the “covering” of Christ’s righteousness.
When God sees us through the covering of Jesus, He sees our potential. This is just how we look at our own children when they make mistakes – we look at their potential.
Think of the reasons why you do not like yourself and replace those reasons with how God views you.
That does not mean we stop our work on character development into the likeness of Christ but it means we recognized that through God’s eyes we see we have potential to improve and change and thus we can TRUST God’s ABILITY to mold us into something of incredible value. We start out as a lump of clay in a potter’s hand, and end up a beautiful vessel.
To live above our dislike for ourselves is to FINALLY breathe the fresh air of God’s mighty plan and really understanding what God’s Perfect Righteous LOVE feels like to learn how to develop this same kind of love.
“19 The LORD has established His throne in the heavens, and His sovereignty rules over all. 20 Bless the LORD, you His angels, Mighty in strength, who perform His word, Obeying the voice of His word! 21 Bless the LORD, all you His hosts, you who serve Him, doing His will. 22 Bless the LORD, all you works of His, in all places of His dominion; Bless the LORD, O my soul!” (Psalm 103:19-22, NASB).
We choose what we set our minds upon.
“8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things” (Philippians 4:8, NASB).
We must get out of the routine of, “I don’t like myself; I’m a failure,” and change that thinking to, “I love myself because I know unequivocally that God not only loves me, but He works with me and cares for me and has a plan for me. I am God’s MASTERPIECE. God sees great POTENTIAL in me. I can be an asset in the hands of God.”
We need to review Psalms 103 often!
God wants you to develop into something better–your potential. That is how we need to see ourselves. God has provided many inspirations for us to grab hold of. Learn to see ourselves through God’s eyes and put ourselves in God’s hands so His plan can be accomplished.
A text that easily puts the idea of loving ourselves into a positive light:
“28 One of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that he had answered them well, asked him, What commandment is the foremost of all? 29 Jesus answered, the foremost is, HEAR, O ISRAEL! THE LORD OUR GOD IS ONE LORD; 30 AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH. 31 The second is this, YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF. There is no other commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:28-31, NASB).
Keep our love for ourselves in a positive and humble light:
“3 For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. 4 For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. 6 Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; 7 if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; 8 or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness. 9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; 11 not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, 13 contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality” (Romans 12:3-13, NASB).
Let love be without hypocrisy – when we despise ourselves, it is actually a hypocritical act if we do in fact believe that God and Jesus love us and want to walk in the footsteps of Jesus as we serve God’s will.
A prayer of Daniel that reveals the sinful and broken state of himself and the nation of Israel:
“4 I prayed to the LORD my God and confessed and said, Alas, O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and loving-kindness for those who love Him and keep His commandments, 5 we have sinned, committed iniquity, acted wickedly and rebelled, even turning aside from Your commandments and ordinances. 6 Moreover, we have not listened to Your servants the prophets, who spoke in Your name to our kings, our princes, our fathers and all the people of the land. 7 Righteousness belongs to You, O Lord, but to us open shame, as it is this day–to the men of Judah, the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all Israel, those who are nearby and those who are far away in all the countries to which You have driven them, because of their unfaithful deeds which they have committed against You. 8 Open shame belongs to us, O Lord, to our kings, our princes and our fathers, because we have sinned against You” (Daniel 9:4-8, NASB).
With such a state of affairs, the temptation could be to go down the road of self-loathing but Daniel was far more mature than that and simply lived his faith in God’s forgiveness. Are WE that mature?
The answer to such a humble and sincere prayer came in the form of an angel:
“20 Now while I was speaking and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the LORD my God in behalf of the holy mountain of my God, 21 while I was still speaking in prayer, then the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision previously, came to me in my extreme weariness about the time of the evening offering. 22 He gave me instruction and talked with me and said, O Daniel, I have now come forth to give you insight with understanding. 23 At the beginning of your supplications the command was issued, and I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed; so give heed to the message and gain understanding of the vision” (Daniel 9:20-23, NASB).
The content for this post is based on a radio program by “Christian Questions”– http://christianquestions.com/
At the above link, you can find out how to tune in to the LIVE Broadcasts of the radio programs via the “Mixlr” App (anywhere in the world) as well as sign up for CQ Rewind, and obtain a written transcript of each weekly program which provides all of the Scriptures discussed on the program and the reasoning behind them, complete with graphics and illustrations. It’s a great Bible study and character development tool.
The URL for this post: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/07/29/but-do-you-really-like-yourself/