Not that we have been freed by Christ to love ourselves, but that we have been freed from self-obsession. Not that the cross frees us for the ego trip but that the cross frees us from the ego trip-Dennis Voskuil.
It’s a tranquil evening, one of those days where even creation seems and feels …calm. You are walking home from a long day of school, work or perhaps a hang out. There is this strikingly colorful display of hues splashed in the sky. The colors look so spectrally pure…vivid orange, or is it red. You really cannot decide so you settle for, the sun just cannot help but go down in style. You get to your destination and before you settle down to what you normally do in the evening, there’s a knock on the door. Your friend ‘Anna/ George’ comes seeking solace. It is one of those days where they feel like the scum of the earth. They are convinced they are not capable enough. Smart enough. Worthy enough. They feel insecure. What do you say? What do you tell him/her?
Most of us have experienced such a situation. Where a friend comes with a non-existent sense of worth. Or where we are the ones in need of a reminder of our worth. I have had many of those two days. Where someone asks “How are you?” and my reply is something like, “Sigh…it’s just one of those days *emoji, emoji*”
Often times when my friends would approach me in need of an uplift, my head would directly go towards reminding them of their other amazing qualities. Therefore, the conversation would drift off to something like, “You are one of the most courageous people I know! You can get through this.” Or “You are smart. You have a beautiful soul and the kindest heart ever.” Most of us I believe tend to use this method of approach when dealing with worth issues, but is it really a permanent solution or a temporary plaster that will come off at some point? Are we merely sugar sprinkling each other’s egos? We all long to built up and to be made to feel worthy but is this approach a biblical mandate?
THROUGH GOD’S LENSES
We all have flaws in our characters and sometimes we feel like we have physical flaws too. There are those days our worth goes rocketing down the drain and we need a reminder. How we thereafter react to our flaws and other people’s flaws matters greatly. It looks like a subtle inclination but it does matter enormously. The Bible has a record of three men who had worth issues. They felt inadequate. Not good enough to pursue what God had called them to do and how God responds to their fear is more or less in the same manner.
Moses was tending Jethro’s flock at Horeb, the mountain of God when God appeared to him in a burning bush and told him a few things about what he had set him apart for. Moses asks a series of questions and brings up a few objections and he finally lays it on the table. He is not eloquent of speech. He has a slow tongue. I can almost imagine how Moses felt. God was telling Him that he would be the one to bring the Israelites out of slavery. No jokes. God responds and says, “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have I not, the Lord? Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what to shall say.” (Exodus 4:10-11) God did not start mentioning all these amazing qualities Moses possessed to overshadow the negative. He could have easily said, “Moses, you are a good leader. You have it in you” but He did not.
Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah was called out by God to be a prophet. God spoke to him about it and Jeremiah was taken aback, “Hold up God, I am too young for this, I can’t speak.” Said he. However, God replied and said, “Do not say I am a youth, for you shall go to all whom I send you. And whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of their faces. For I am with you to deliver you.” (Jeremiah 1:4-8)God did not go all; on the other hand, you are handsome and on the record you have pretty eyes or stuff like that.
Gideon was threshing wheat in Ophrah and an angel of the Lord springs up on him tells him, “The Lord is with you mighty man of valour.” I do not know how I would react to that but Gideon responds and they have this chat where the angel gives him his assignment. Gideon objects, “how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh and I am the least in my Father’s house.” (Judges 6:15) he does not feel good enough for it. God replies, “Surely I will be with you and you shall defeat the Midianities as one man.” (Judges 6:16).
IT’S ALL ABOUT YOU. JESUS.
In all three instances, God was quick to take off the focus off themselves. He pointed out that He was with them, He would be with them. He was quick to shift the focus to himself because he would be the one at work. What will you tell that person who approaches you with a twisted view of self? What will you remind yourself when you are struggling with feelings of inadequacy? According to scripture, our place is not to elevate our strengths in the name of feeling better. Our place is not to massage our friends’ ego in order for them to feel better. Paul puts it this way; boast about your weakness that Christ may be exalted.
2nd Corinthians 12: 7-10
Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn’t get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me,
My grace is enough; it’s all you need.
My strength comes into its own in your weakness.
Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.- Bible The Message
When your friends come with issues of inadequacy, elevate Jesus. God looks at our flaws and sees an opportunity to affirm His strength. So do point them to Christ, to a savior who is our sufficiency. Point them to a finished work in which they can rest secure eternally in His love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, abilities, grace and sufficiency. Remind them who they are in Christ because it’s all about Jesus. It will always be about Jesus. It has always been about Jesus.See He has engraved you on the palms of His hands and the numbers of your hair are numbered.
I’m a believer.Sometimes I believe the lies of the deceiver.The lies of seeds when they sprout.They lead to seasons of spiritual amnesia.Deep seeded self doubt.That creeps in my conscious feeds my fear.And keeps me up at night conquered by Critical thoughts my mind is prone to conjure.When it wanders, watching my failures, play back play back on repeat. I’m trying to change the chain of events but Can’t rewind to find the delete button to push.I’m on the edge its like the world is about to end.I’m in the middle of Armageddon with No arms, no weapons, no armor for protection.It’s the testing of my faith and I know the answers but instead I’m just guessing.Like I forgot that God was my father and I was set apart for his own possession His word is my armor and my protection…According to God I was called from darkness into his marvelous light..A man who was prized and pardoned.And chosen before the world’s foundation His whole possession, his royal priesthood,I’m part of his holy nation.I’m his friend, I’m valued completely cared for Enough for Christ to purchase. According to God I’m an adopted child.With intimate access created with purpose- According to God. Beautiful Eulogy