2 Corinthians 10:12, 17-18 – “For we are not bold to class or compare ourselves with some of those who commend themselves; but when they measure themselves by themselves, and compare themselves with themselves, they are without understanding…
17 But he who boasts, let him boast in the Lord. 18 For not he who commends himself is approved, but whom the Lord commends.” NASB
I suspect that one of the most significant issues in Christians today is having a wrong self-image. I have encountered many believers whose self-image is either too high or too low. There is a myriad of issues that spring forth from that root and help to produce and reinforce the wrong self-image.
If we have a wrong self-image and maintain it over a number of years, we become more and more comfortable with that view and if it is bad, it is destructive. It can and often does create many problems in relationships and attitudes toward God, family, friends, future, etc.
I saw a survey conducted on a Christian College Campus. They sought out the most attractive and popular students and asked if they were satisfied with their basic appearance. Over 95% said, No. Those students were aware of their basic sin nature and the need for salvation. They had placed their faith in Christ and had been born again. They were Christians. Yet, they confessed to having continuing struggles with fully dedicating their lives to the will of God. As this was examined it was discovered that those students inwardly reasoned that if what they saw in the mirror was an example of God’s love and creativity for them, they could not trust Him with their future. They believed they were flawed and too imperfect.
They had a wrong self-image. The Bible teaches that we should see ourselves through the finished work of Jesus and Christ. The condition of our heart is the measure of God’s approval, not physical appearance. We must never measure ourselves with the external standards established by the world or those around us seeking their approval. I wonder how many who are reading this if you were standing in front of a mirror and could change anything about your physical appearance would change something? Don’t get religious on me, be honest.
Ephesians 2:10 – “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
There are visible signs of ‘self-rejection’ and a wrong ‘self-image’ that need to be addressed. One of the first and most notable is Over Attention to Fashion. On the flip side, a lack of concern for appearance is a problem as well, but undue concern for fashion may be an attempt to compensate for unchangeable physical features a person deems unacceptable.
Jesus linked those two conditions in Matthew 6:27-29 – “And which of you by being anxious can add a single cubit to his life’s span? 28 “And why are you anxious about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil, nor do they spin 29 yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory did not clothe himself like one of these.” You are created by God embrace your uniqueness it is His mark of ownership. Celebrate your difference rather than reject it.
Another sign is the Inability to Trust God. I have discovered that when a person rejects the basic design of God in how they were made they often have difficulty expressing confidence in the designer in other areas of their lives. The idea is, “If God messed up this badly in my physical attributes, He may not be up to the task in other areas.” Ephesians 2:10 tells us that we are God’s workmanship. In Psalms 139:14, the Psalmist declared, “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well.” God took the time and care to make us, just as He did the flowers, mountains, and trees. We are wonderfully made! Celebrate your difference and uniqueness.
Another sign is Excessive Shyness. The person that is petrified of what others think of them is miserable most of the time. Sadly, many are paralyzed by the fear of what others think of them. One can be meek without being petrified of others. If we believe we are inferior to others and their opinions control our actions, we will find it difficult to trust God.
I want to address a few more visible illustrations of a wrong self-image and self-rejection that translates into a lack of trust in God. We will take this up again in the next devotional.
May the LORD be with you as you enjoy this beautiful day, He has made for us!