To Tell the Truth or Not: Part 3 – A Series by Jennifer Miller
How do you see yourself? Do you see a confident individual or do you see an insecure person with so many doubts? Are you alone and feel unworthy or are you one of the gang and find your value defined by being a member of the gang? Are you gullible and tend to follow others easily or are you capable of taking an initiative and stand on your own two feet? Are you tired of being scrutinized or ostracized because you are unique or different? It is how we see ourselves that tells us who we are, but to see ourselves more clearly, we need to first change our mindset. We need to stop believing the lies, the put-downs, the phony set of standards that we measure ourselves against one another. We need to stop making excuses and start searching for the truth. Are you willing to take a chance and a leap of faith? Come along with me today to explore past actions that put us on the wrong path and lead nowhere, and then see how to veer off that path and seek a new path that will not only redefine who we are, but will lead to contentment and peace as we endure the journey ahead.
Before we can begin to see the truth, we must confront the lies. Today’s blog is centered about our view on identity and how it can undermine; thus, affect us. We may be under society’s thumb, seeking their approval, living or trying to attain their set of standards, but ultimately, we are the ones who choose what to believe. When we constantly take in negative information and process it, we begin to have a negative viewpoint. That negative visual is unhealthy and can cause more damage than what we visibily see. It eats away at our innermost thoughts and we are at risk of depression, a loss of mental balance, and isolation. However, if we filter the negative and replace it with the positive feedback whether verbal or nonverbal cues, we can change our perception; thus, allowing us to become more positive and productive in life.
Externally, we have vast experiences to draw from that become examples that tend to mislead us daily. We seek out the perfect look, the best personality, the wittiest comments and try to become the “everything appears to be going well” individual. We are misled because we see exterior only and have no idea of the demons or vices the person that we use as a role model or measuring stick, is going through on the inside. We need to go past the surface and explore what lies underneath.
We all have an inner voice issuing comments non-stop at us. Most of our comments are either highly inflated self-praising or negative. Both are false images of who we are and lead us down a wrong path. The negative reflects comments such as: you are not pretty, you are worthless, and those that are geared to have us questioning ourselves such as: Who told you that you were smart, are the ones that do the most damage. There is a force working and lurking in the background that magnifies this to be much worse than it is. The perpetrator is the devil who constantly lies to us. His goal is to attack our defenses and get us to be non-productive, become insecure, carry and conceal bitterness, hate and anger, and to do damage to not only ourselves but others. Today I want to focus on the individual going through this, not the mass public.
I am asking my reader to take a moment, sit down and write what you think of yourself. Be honest and be brutal because your enemy is brutal. Your enemy will always have a negative description of your traits or attributes. Set the list down once completed, in front of you and let’s start off by addressing some key issues: your identity, your weaknesses, your value and worth; all of which make up your self-esteem. This negativity is the foundation of why you would rather justify making excuses which allow you to avoid making an attitude or lifestyle change. So, take a deep breath, let it out and let’s move on.
Our first misconception is that we feel worthless which results in our lack of self-esteem. That is a lie. This is an excuse that we have hung on to for a long time and we use it to justify why we don’t come to Christ when we are called. We start off by saying if He only knew what I have done. First, He does, but He still wants you and frankly, we all can start our story off that way. The Bible tells us the truth that all of us have a value according to God. Let’s look at Matthew 10:31 to see that value, Ephesians 2:13 to realize that we are all bought at a price (Would God purchase something of no value?), and Psalm 139:13-14 and again, I want to re-emphasize Matthew 10:31 to attest that we are each unique and a priceless masterpiece in God’s eyes. God will never demean you or talk negatively about you unlike Satan. He wants the best for you, is there for you, and will refine you to achieve this. He will convict you of your sin and He will go the extra mile to refine you by correcting you. Please do not confuse conviction and correction with negative connotations. He convicts us to open our eyes to our sin, that can lead to repenting of our sin. He corrects us to remove our bad behaviors, not to demean us, but to bring us to the fullness that He has previously designed each of us to be.
“Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.”
“But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.”
“For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.”
“Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.”
Next, is the notion of comparing ourselves to someone else. In general, many people here use someone else as a measuring stick by which they fail to meet the perceived expectation. We set ourselves up for failure because we assume we need to meet the same standards. What we need to realize is that we all have challenges, and trials and experiences that take us down different paths. We are not all cut from the same cloth and were never meant to be the same as one another. It is our differences that define us in His eyes. He has a specific purpose for each of us, so it would be impossible to live up to man’s standards/expectations when each of our purposes differ for a reason; thus, we need to solely devote ourselves to God’s standards. We fail for many reasons in this area. The first is our lack of wisdom as pointed out in 2 Corinthians 10:12. Next, we need to identify who it is we follow: our flesh/man or God as we learn in Galatians 1:10. In Philippians 2:3 we see that we are to humble ourselves first; thus, honoring God, so that we then can encourage others in their walk. We next see that our focus has to be on God and His calling for us, not on how or what others are being called to, as stated in 2 Timothy 2:15. Finally, in Romans 12:4-8 we learn that we all work together as the hands and feet when we use the spiritual gifts and talents specifically crafted for us, and bestowed to us.
“For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that command themselves, but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.”
“For do I now persuade men or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of God.”
“Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.”
“Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
“For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and everyone members one of another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophecy according to the propitiation of faith; or ministry, let us wait on our ministering; or he that teacheth, on teaching; or he that exhorteth, on exhortation; he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that shewth mercy, with cheerfulness.”
When we believe the lie that we must all be the same or measure the same, we fail to see that all of us fall short. Yes, all of us fail to live up to God’s standard as we see in Romans 3:23. We all are sinners and because we are sinners, we will never measure up.
“For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
But do not despair because we have been gifted by His grace when He sent Jesus to die on the cross to pay our debt as sinners. Just when the devil tries to point out our flaws and says we are nothing and not worthy, grace enters and saves us. It is our refreshment and restoration and we find in Ephesians 2:4-9 and 2 Corinthians 12:9 that this grace provides us the needed strength to do His will.
“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace we are saved;) and hath raised us up together and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and not of yourselves; it is the gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
“And He said unto me, my grace is sufficient for thee, for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
As we realize that we are His masterpiece and through His grace we can accomplish great things for our Lord, the devil takes another swipe at us and says we cannot succeed and will never be able to do what is asked of us. We do not have the necessary skillset required. This is another lie, so please do not believe it. Whenever God calls you to do something He will always equip you with the needed skills, provisions and words to use. He will never leave you hanging or twisting in the wind. Romans 8:28 supports this, and Philippians 1:6 guarantees this. Let go of the fear and do what He asks of you. Don’t run away from, but rather run towards Him and see how He is working through you to accomplish His will.
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.”
“Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”
Another issue that we give as justification as to why we do not run with the opportunities He provides us is that we say we do not know His will. It is here that we need to rely on His word to not only learn His will, but the instructions of how to obey His will. This beautiful instruction manual provides us everything we need to know to navigate throughout our lives. It says who God is, why He created us, why He sent His son to save us, and how we can live with Christ indwelling in us; thus, for Christ. In 1 Timothy 2:3-4 is His purpose for all mankind, 1 Thessalonians 5:18 gives us our reason to be grateful and praise Him for such provisions, Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us to trust Him completely, and finally, in Hebrews 13:36 reveals to us the promise of what is to come after we have obediently followed Him and have done His will.
“For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; who will have all men to be saved and come unto the knowledge of the truth.”
“In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”
“For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.”
Remember Satan’s job is to deceive us and get us so discouraged that we forgo the will of God and set our minds on the world and its problems instead. Do not succumb to that line of reasoning. Take a stand today, pick up God’s word and see for yourself that you matter to Him, He has value in you, He loves you and sent His Son to die for you. That is a very powerful statement of His love for you. Search for Him and then develop a personal relationship with Him. Make an investment, discard the lies and excuses and find peace and hope instead. Next time I will take a closer look at the lie we mistakenly believe of our own strength and wisdom. It is called pride and it tries to convince us that we are in control of our lives and that we do not need to call on God. Ponder on that and I hope that the message today was of help to anyone seeking to let go of the excuses and let God into their life. God Bless!