God's Truth About..., Personal Growth

359 – A Healthy View of You

Comments Off on 359 – A Healthy View of You 18 July 2014

Are you self-critical? Perhaps you are your own worst critic. You feel guilty and are harshly judgmental toward yourself. You wonder how anyone, even God, could love you. Since there are many books and other media that suggest ways to build our self-esteem, it may be worth taking a break from them and looking at God’s Word and hearing His truth about how to develop a healthy view of the person who greets you in the mirror each morning. For our times of self-doubt and uncertainty there are some answers. Three aspects of love that relate to this topic will point us to some helpful conclusions that will raise our self-esteem by giving us a God-view of whom we are. The teaching of Jesus is helpful. The Master Teacher said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments’” (Matt. 22:37–40 NIV). It is clear that Jesus taught that a healthy view of self comes through a healthy view of God and others. It all has to do with the love relationships of our lives.

In order to have a healthy view of yourself you need to:

1. look up and love God first – Jesus was clear that we are to love God supremely. There is to be no other love like our love for Him. This is not optional. It is mandatory. It is a command. Jesus was answering a question about which of the Ten Commandments was the greatest. He said on these two all of the others rest – love God supremely, and love others as you love yourself. Our love for God is not to be conditioned on how things are going in our lives. Some people express love for God when things are running smoothly and when their will is being done. Loving God supremely means that we love Him no matter what. We love Him with a love that trusts. It causes us to surrender our ALL to Him. We need a healthy relationship with God in order to understand what He is doing in our lives and what He wants to do with us. In order to have that kind of intimate relationship, we must recognize that He is always with us. God loves us so much that He is committed to be with us forever. “God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you’” (Heb. 13:5 NIV). Loving God first gives us a perspective we need to avoid self-pride. We tend to say, “I did this or that.” The truth is that if God is our number one love, we will allow Him to do what He wants through us rather than claiming we are doing as we please. God honors a broken and contrite spirit. “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise” (Ps. 51:17 NIV). The way is always from brokenness to blessing. If we love God with all of our hearts we will also obey His commands. We never sin when we are “Loving God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength” (Mk. 12:30). A mind set on God, with love, will not consent to sin. When we ignore our first love with Him we get into trouble. The more we love God the more we will act like what we know of Him through Jesus Christ. Here is where a healthy self-esteem begins. It begins with looking up and loving God first!

2. look around and love others – Jesus second command of importance was this, “And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’” (Matt. 22:39 NIV). You may be thinking of someone who is difficult to love. You are asking, “How can I love him or her?” The word “neighbor” has to do with anyone who is near us. It is one with whom we share life. We are to love them as we love ourselves. That demands unselfishness. It demands that we recognize there are some things that belong to them. We are to honor the sanctity of that. That is why these two commands Jesus said cover all of the Ten Commandments. We need only to go to 1 Cor. 13:4-7 to see how we are to love others. “Love is very patient and kind, never jealous or envious, never boastful or proud, never haughty or selfish or rude. Love does not demand its own way. It is not irritable or touchy. It does not hold grudges and will hardly even notice when others do it wrong. It is never glad about injustice, but rejoices whenever truth wins out. If you love someone, you will be loyal to him no matter what the cost. You will always believe in him, always expect the best of him, and always stand your ground in defending him” (1 Cor. 13:4–7 LB). How would our lifestyles and relationships be altered if we started living out of those verses? This is the kind of love that forgives and gives new beginnings to those it loves. Living by this teaching would remove many causes of guilt and pain and emotional disruption, and it would remove the causes for much of the damaged esteem in our lives.

3. look inward and love yourself – This is not an open invitation to a narcissistic lifestyle! This is an invitation to love what God is doing in our lives. We cannot resent ourselves without losing trust in others around us. If we do not recognize the value God sees in us, we cannot learn to love the new persons we are in Christ Jesus, and we will never be able to believe others could love and be loyal to us either. We cannot resent ourselves and at the same time love the God who created and re-created us. If we love God supremely we will learn to have His view of us. If we mistreat ourselves emotionally and tear ourselves down in our minds, we will also begin to do the same to others around us. The answer is to give attention to God’s view of us. Then, we will be able to develop a healthy self-love. There are two extremes that we observe in people today. One is pride and arrogance borne from a faulty sense of one’s self-importance. The other is a self-depreciating attitude that is born out of guilt and a false humility that rejects the transforming and re-creating power of God in our lives.

The world is wired to tear us down: fears, unhealthy past, low confidence level, refusal to forgive wrongs, critical attitudes, perfectionism, and more. How can we allow God to heal and give us a healthy self-esteem? Get honest with God about you. Listen to His accurate appraisal of you. Let Him work His grace in your life and change you from the inside out. Be teachable! Recognize that change is a process. Don’t expect too much too fast. Trust God enough to be totally surrendered to Him. Learn to trust others who are godly people. Discover God’s view of you. Here it is: “How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! He’s the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him. Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son. Because of the sacrifice of the Messiah, his blood poured out on the altar of the Cross, we’re a free people—free of penalties and punishments chalked up by all our misdeeds. And not just barely free, either. Abundantly free! He thought of everything, provided for everything we could possibly need, letting us in on the plans he took such delight in making. He set it all out before us in Christ, a long-range plan in which everything would be brought together and summed up in him, everything in deepest heaven, everything on planet earth. It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone” (Eph. 1:3–12 The Message) Now you know God’s view of you!

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