Monday, 5 October 2015

Identity and Self Image

The way that you see or perceive yourself will play a big role in how you live your life. It will affect your decisions and shape your existence. Your value is of critical importance and yet so many of us allow situations or the opinions of other to mold and shape our self image.

Judges 6:12, 15 “ The LORD's angel appeared to him there and said, "The LORD is with you, brave and mighty man!" 15 Gideon replied, "But Lord, how can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest in the tribe of Manasseh, and I am the least important member of my family." GNB (Read also Judges 6:11-15)



What is Gideon's self image? An angel appears to him while he is busy hiding and tells him that he is a brave hero. Was the angel speaking to the wrong person? Or was the angel delivering the wrong message? No! The angel came to tell Gideon how God sees him.

Gideon tells the angel that not even his own parents like him very much, his self esteem has hit rock bottom. Gideon had a problem with his self image. The way that he saw himself, was not the way that God saw him.

Where does my self image come from?


Lots of people find their self image and self worth in their:

  • career: where you work and what type of work you do (what if you lost that job?)
  • studies: where you are studying and what you are studying.
  • relationships: parents, friends, etc. (what if your relationship ends?)
  • hobbies: (what happens if you give up your hobby?)
  • finances or the clothes that they wear (what happens when your money runs out?)
  • attractiveness: (do you and others think you or attractive or not?)
  • the opinion that others have of you (it's a big crisis when people stop liking you)

How can I find out how God sees me and what He thinks about me? By studying the Bible! God wants us to determine our identity and self image according to what the His Word says about us. Not according to what people say about us, people can break you down – but they cannot destroy the potential in you. However, they can convince you to ignore your potential, which will stunt your growth and development.

Other people (myself included) don't know the whole me. Only God our Creator, knows us completely. Only He can tell us why we are here and what we ought to think about ourselves and others. What does the Word of God say about us?

God has plans for your life!

1 Corinthians 2:9-10 "But, as it is written, "What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him"-- 10 these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God." ESV

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” ESV

You were no accident! God has made plans for you, read also Psalm 139.

His Masterpiece

Ephesians 2:10 “For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” NLT

Matthew 10:29-31 “Aren't two sparrows sold for only a penny? But your Father knows when any one of them falls to the ground. 30 Even the hairs on your head are counted. 31 So don't be afraid! You are worth much more than many sparrows.” CEV

You are worth more to God than animals or birds! If God knows how many hairs are on your head then He knows even the smallest detail about you. You are His masterpiece! This shows us how God values us, do you know that you are very valuable to God? Do you live as if you were valuable to God?

God is with you! You are not alone!

Zephaniah 3:17 “The LORD your God is with you; his power gives you victory. The LORD will take delight in you, and in his love he will give you new life. He will sing and be joyful over you” GNB

Children

Galatians 3:26-27 “for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” ESV

Romans 8:14-15 “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, "Abba! Father!" “ ESV (“Abba” also means father).

God's Spirit does not make us slaves, He wants us to be His children! God reveals Himself to us as Father, He wants to make us part of His family! A Father gives security, provision and love for his children.

John 1:12-13 “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” ESV

So to become a child of God I need to believe (have faith) and receive Jesus as my Savior.

Friends

John 15:15 “Servants don't know what their master is doing, and so I don't speak to you as my servants. I speak to you as my friends, and I have told you everything that my Father has told me.” CEV

God does not want slaves, He wants children and friends! The first person to be called "friend of God" was Abraham.

Chosen

Ephesians 1:4-5 “Before the world was created, God had Christ choose us to live with him and to be his holy and innocent and loving people. 5 God was kind and decided that Christ would choose us to be God's own adopted children.” CEV

Do you remember when you were at school - two captains choosing players for their teams from a group of children? That special feeling when someone was chosen, they felt wanted and a sense of belonging. You were chosen specially by God even before He created the earth!

More than conquerors

Romans 8:37 “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” ESV

God does not think of you as a “looser”, when we connect with the power of God we become winners! Sometimes we slip into survival mode: things have been bad so long, that we do our best to keep our heads down and survive through the days, weeks and months. Being in survival mode means that you have stopped expecting things to get better, you have lost hope and have now settled on making it through being enough. This is a very dangerous place to be and many people become disillusioned with life here.

Kings & Priests

Revelation 1:6 “and did make us kings and priests to his God and Father, to him is the glory and the power to the ages of the ages! Amen.” YLT

A king has dominion (he rules) and a priest is someone that serves. This is what God wants to make us. God wants us to live in the authority and power that He has entrusted to us. God did not destine you to be a human doormat, know that God sees you in a very special way.

Your body is a temple!

1 Corinthians 3:16 “Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you?” ESV

When you become a child of God, His Spirit lives in you. This shows us how important our bodies are. Take care of yourself because you are special.

Don't compare yourself to others!

Galatians 5:26 "That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original." MSG

I do not have to look at others and to feel that they are better than me. God made each of us unique and He has a unique plan for each of our lives. Don't look at others and wish that you were more like them, you must be yourself.

If we stay by the living waters

Psalm 1:3 “They are like trees that grow beside a stream, that bear fruit at the right time, and whose leaves do not dry up. They succeed in everything they do.” GNB

Water brings life, God's Word brings life for us and if we treasure it - it will change our lives.

Do you know the Lord Jesus? Do you have a relationship with Him? Do you know that He wants to have a relationship with you? You will only experience the promises that we looked at here if you have a relationship with God. Ask Him today to forgive your sins and invite Jesus to be your Saviour and experience how He will change your life.