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
In the last devotional we were considering some visible signs of ‘self-rejection’ and a ‘negative or wrong self-image.’ We considered the matter of Over Attention to Fashion, the Inability to Trust God, and Excessive Shyness. Today we move to a few more and hopefully, they will help each of us reject the wrong image and adopt the right image embracing our uniqueness in God.
Another evidence is Difficulty to Love Others. The Bible teaches that we are to ‘love’ our neighbors as our selves. If we are unable to love ourselves with a healthy love, we will also find it difficult to love others in the right way. We may exhibit what I call poison love rather than the agape of God.
Another evidence is Extreme Self-Criticism. If we focus on the unchangeable features of our bodies and complain about them inwardly or outwardly, we are clearly exhibiting unhealthy ‘self-rejection.’ Isaiah 45:9 addresses this, “Woe to him who strives with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth! Shall the clay say to him who forms it, ‘What are you making?’ or shall your handiwork say, ‘He has no hands’?” You are unique and are ‘in Christ’ therefore learn to be free and forgive yourself, God has.
Another extremely dangerous and revealing trait is the Wishful Comparison with Others. I believe that extreme fascination with desiring to be different or like others in the unchangeable areas of our bodies is evidence of ‘self-rejection’ and a wrong ‘self-image.’ However, it is a healthy approach to desire to change the things about us that do not conform to the image of Christ. Remember the words of the Apostle Paul in Romans 9:20, “But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?”
Another dangerous evidence is Harboring Floating or Lingering Bitterness. I have heard people say, “I hate myself.” That could be a reference to something they have done or said, or it might be a reference to some physical feature or their entire lives. That can lead to the development of animus toward God, after all, He created us. The words of Ephesians 5:29 are powerfully germane, “For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church.” If we hate ourselves, we are expressing bitterness toward the one who created us.
A final example I will mention is Having Wrong Priorities. When we neglect our God-given responsibilities in order to afford more time to pursue that which brings the accolades of others, we may be revealing evidence of self-rejection. Craving the approval of others more than the approval of God is dangerous. Galatians 6:4 tells us, “But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.”
The opinion of others will not bring peace to your soul but will leave you in a state of constant anxiety wondering what they are thinking now. We deem ourselves unsatisfactory and therefore our significance comes from the approval of man rather than the approval of God. God’s view of us is that we are “in Christ” and “in Christ” we are whole and approved.
I want to take up God’s basic purpose in creating us and other things but will hold that until the next devotional.
May the LORD bless you richly on this beautiful day!