One of the areas that is particularly impacted by our view of God is our view of ourselves. If we do not see Him as He really is-if we believe things about Him that are not true- invariably,we will have a distorted view of ourselves.
If we have believed lies about God, we will also believe lies about ourselves. Lies such as…
- I need to learn to love myself
Low self-esteem is one of the most common diagnosis of our day. Mental health professionals diagnose it in their clients; teachers diagnose it in their students;pastors diagnose it in their counselees; parents diagnose it in their children;and countless people diagnose it in themselves.
“You need to learn to love yourself” is the world’s prescription for those who are plagued with a sense of worthlessness. It has become a popular mantra of pop psychology and of a culture filled with people obsessed with finding ways to feel better about themselves.
One religious catalog offers an attractive Afghan with a “Love Yourself” acrostic:
Let go of the shoulds in your life
Open up to the miracle of you.
Value your uniqueness
Explore your dreams and passions.
Yield to life-go with the flow.
Obey the voice of your spirit.
Unwind-get cozy and comfy
Renew yourself-body and soul
Surround yourself with caring people
Express yourself-be true to you.
Linger longer at what you enjoy
Feel God’s special love for you
The truth is,we are created in the image of God,that He loves us,and that we are precious to Him. However, we do not bestow that worth on ourselves. Nor do we experience the fullness of God’s love by telling ourselves how lovable we are. To the contrary,Jesus taught that it is in losing our lives that we find our lives. The message of self-love puts people on a lonely one-way path to misery.
How often have we heard someone say, ” I’ve never liked myself,” or “She just can’t love herself-immensely. When Jesus tells us to love our neighbors as ourselves,the point is not that we never to learn to give others the same attention and care we naturally give ourselves.
If I get a toothache,I immediately look for a way to identify the problem and get rid of it. If I didn’t “love myself,” I would ignore the pain. But when someone else has a toothache,it is easy to be indifferent to his need-that’s his problem. We naturally love ourselves;we do not naturally love others.
We are constantly looking out for ourselves,deeply sensitive to our feelings and needs,always conscious of how things and people affect us.
The reason some of us get hurt so easily is not because we hate ourselves but because we love ourselves! We want to be accepted,cherished and treated well. If we did not care so much about ourselves,we would *>>>not be concerned about being rejected,neglected, or mistreated.
The fact is,we do not hate ourselves,nor do we need to learn to love ourselves. We need to learn how to deny ourselves so we can do that which does not come naturally-to truly love God and others.
Our malady is not “low self-esteem,” nor is it how we view ourselves; rather,it is our low view of God. Our problem isn’t so much a “poor self-image” as it is a “poor God-image.” Our need is not to love ourselves more but to receive His incredible love for us and to accept Hid design and purpose for our lives.
Once we have received His love,we will not have to compare ourselves to others; we will not focus on “self” at all. Rather, we will become of His love to others.
- I can’t help the way I am
This is another lie that puts many people in lifelong bondage. It is a lie we have all believed at one time or another. Perhaps,you can relate to this:
The lie I believe was : “You ‘ll be just like your parents- it’s hereditary- you can’t help it.” My dad was a minister while I was growing up. He and my mom turned away from God and the church. I believe a person could not remain faithful to God forever- that because my parents didn’t, I wouldn’t either.
We see things about ourselves we wish were different or that we know are not pleasing to the Lord. But rather than accept personal responsibility for our own choices,and behavior,we have 101 reasons for why we are the way we are.
I have excused my laziness and lack of discipline,believing that I cannot help the way that I am.
I believed I had a weight problem because my dad’s family is fat. I have their body type, so I am always going to struggle. No use trying-it just comes anyway. Therefore,I was placing blame on them for my bondage to food.
- “Our house is so tiny,everything gets on my nerve.”
- “My job is so stressful, I can’t help being irritable with my kids when I get home.”
- “It’s that time of the month.”
- “My hormones are going crazy.”
- “I’m so exhausted. I just can’t function.”
- “My family never dealt with problems;we just stuffed every thing inside and pretended like nothing was wrong. To this day,I can’t really confront issues.”
- “My mother and her mother were both manic- depressive,I guess it just runs in our family.”
- I had an abusive childhood;I have never been able to trust people.”
- My ex-husband constantly put me down,he destroyed my self-esteem.
The implication of all these statements is that others have made us the way we are -that we are merely victims,reacting to wounds inflicted on us by others.
This lie- “I can’t help the way I am” -makes us into helpless victims of other people and outside circumstances. The suggestion is that or something else is responsible for who we are and what we do than a marionette does. We somehow believe that we are destined to be controlled by who ever or whatever is pulling our strings.
This lie leaves us without hope that we can ever be any different. Satan knows that if we believe we can’t help the way we are,we will never change. We will go on living in bondage. If we believe we are doomed to fail,to keep on sinning,or to be miserable,we will fail,we will keep on sinning,and we will always be unhappy,frustrated human being.
The truth is that as we do not have a choice. We are responsible for our own choices. We can be changed by the power of God’s spirit. Once we know and embrace the truth,we can break free from the chains of our past,our circumstances,and even deeply ingrained habit patterns.