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Seeing yourself through the lens of Scripture

Introduction

One of the things that I think it is vitally important to do as Christians to do is to renew our minds. Romans 12:2 says, “Don’t copy the behaviour and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect” (NLT).

I believe that as Christians that God wants to renew our minds in all areas of our lives. He wants to change the way we think about this life, how we use our time, our finances, how we see our jobs, our families and all of our relationships.

I especially believe, one area that is vital to renew our minds as Christians is how we see ourselves. We need to see ourselves not through our own eyes or the eyes of the world. We need to see ourselves through the lens of Scripture. Then, and only then will we see ourselves as God truly sees us.

Now when I came to Christ. I had the worst self esteem in the world. I really thought I was a waste of space and not worthy to live. This was shaped by my own wrong thinking and what others have said to me. Most of the time I just wanted to die. However slowly over time God has renewed my thinking about myself and changed my thinking from very low poor, almost non existent self esteem to seeing God's Esteem for me.

Now don't get me wrong it is not pride. The Bible tells us not to think of ourselves more highly than we ought to (Romans 12:3). It is about thinking rightly about yourself.

Today I want to share four passages that God has used to change my thinking. These have released me from wrong patterns of thinking to right thinking. From absolute untruth, to God's absolute truth. Each of these Scriptures has been like a building block into my life and has changed my thinking forever. The old way of thinking is gone and the new way has come.

1. The Bible says that we are made in God's image

Genesis 1:26-27 - Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground." 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

When I became a Christian and read about being made in the image of God I wasn't sure what it actually meant. According to most theologians or Bible scholars, being made in God's image has three aspects or three schools of thought...

  • Structural – Structural in the way we are made. We think, can reason, make choices and love. We are logical cognitive beings. When we do these things we reflect God's image.
  • Vocational – God is vocational. He is creative in the way He works and created this world. When we create and work and use our gifts in the world around us we reflect God's image.
  • Relational – God is in the perfect loving triune relationship – the Trinity. Three persons, but one in love, purpose, mission, unity and relationship. When we love God and relate to each other in loving ways we reflect God outwards to the world around us.

While most theologians or Bible scholars fall into one of those camps, I believe that being made in the image of God is a combination of all three. When we make choices, when we work using God's gifts and when we related lovingly to each other, we reflect God's image.

Back to Genesis 1:26-27. As I came to this understanding, two main things touched my heart in this passage.

The first was that I was made by God. The world and evolution told me I was here by chance. They told me that my ancestors migrated from mud to the trees over millions of years. Then after millions of more years they came back down to the ground by a random chance to slowly become human beings. There was not much hope or comfort in that!

However the Good News is that the Bible tells me that I am not here by chance and that more importantly I am made in the image of God. As I saw on a little boys t-shirt at church once. “I am made by God and He don't make junk”. That image of that little kid running around church with his “made by God” attitude has stuck with me. I would love to see that kid now some 15 years later if he started out with that as his slogan! He would be unstoppable!

The second things this passage told me is that I have some of God stamped upon me. I am made in His image. This tells me that God has hard wired His good things into my DNA. I may sin and fall short at times, but my DNA is firmly rooted, established and founded in Him. This passage gave me hope that my ancestors were not from mud, but I am part of the most high God, the King and Creator of the universe!

The Bible tells me that I am made in God's image. Church you are made in God's image too.


2. The Bible says that we are no longer condemned

Romans 8:1 - Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

One of my biggest faults as a new Christian was to be self condemning. It was a pattern I was in and I just couldn't shake it. If I did something wrong I would beat myself up for days...sometimes even weeks! I used to talk to myself and say things like. “You call yourself a Christian and you did this again”. It lasted for years and years. If there was an Olympic gold medal given out for self condemnation I would win by the length of the straight.

Because of this negative self talk I was living way below where God wanted me to be. I was hamstrung, because most of the time I walked around feeling condemned. Not free as it talks about in John 8:36 (if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed). Then one day God really spoke to my heart about it from Romans 8. Verses 33-34 says...

“Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honour at God’s right hand, pleading for us” (NLT).

I finally realised that if God the Father has declared me right with Himself and Jesus was always pleading my case before Him, then I am really not condemned. I am free all condemnation. Really really truly free. I also realised that I try to condemn myself I am not following what God says about me in His Word. He has declared me righteous in His sight. Who am I to speak against God.

The Bible says that I am free of all condemnation. You are free of all condemnation.

3. The Bible says that we are God's masterpiece

Ephesians 2:10 - For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (NIV)

The NLT uses the “Masterpiece” instead of workmanship. I really like that thought. God being the master craftsmen and He made me. Just like Michel Angelo painting the roof of the Sistine Chapel, God lovingly knit me together in my mother's womb.

Psalm 139:13-14 echoes this thought. It says, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well”. God made me and I am wonderfully made. Like the young boy again with his t-shirt. “God made me and He don't make junk”!

The other great thing about this passage is that I am here for a purpose. As I keep telling my girls. We could have been born at any time in history, but God chose for us to live now. He made us with certain gifts and certain abilities to do certain things in the this place in time. He has a plan and purpose for my life. I find this very exciting. I find this empowering. I find this changes the way I see myself. I am no after thought. I am no mistake. I am no chance of evolution. I am a before thought! God had me on His mind before the foundations of the world. God had you on His mind too.

The Bible says that I am God's masterpiece. Church you are God's masterpiece too.

4. The Bible says that we are seated with Christ

Where you are seated at a special occasion often determines how important you are to the host of the function. If you are the bridal table at a wedding reception it means you are very special to the bride and groom. If you are at the King’s or Prime Minister’s table at a special function you are held in very high regard.

The Bible tells us that when Jesus returned to heaven He was seated at the right hand of the Father. That is the highest place of honour in the whole universe. There is no greater place than being seated next to the Father.

But that is not where the great news stops. You are also seated with Christ! Let’s have a look at what the Bible says in Ephesians chapter 2…

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ, even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ, and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages, he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:4-7 NIV)

If you are in Christ Jesus (that means in relationship with Him, trusting Him for your salvation, and have received Him as your King) then you are spiritually seated with Christ in the heavenly realms! You are spiritually seated with Him in the highest place in the universe! I will just let you soak that in a bit!

Because of this great news you no longer have to walk around with your face pointing to the ground or your shoulders hunched over. You and I no longer have to feel unworthy. We have high standing and high honour with the King and Creator of the universe! You and I are seated with Christ.

The Bible says that I am seated with Christ in the heavenly realm. Church you are seated with Christ too!

Closing

As you can see from my message today, God has radically changed the way I see myself. I no longer see myself as worthless or a waste of space, but as made in God's image and made with a purpose. I now see myself through the lens of Scripture.

If you are here today and you have a low self esteem and you don't see yourself as you should. I would encourage you to grab a copy of these Scriptures and place them in a prominent place in your home and read them everyday. Before you read them pray and ask God to help them to really sink deep into your heart and that He renew your mind.

As I close I want you to remember these four things.

  1. You are made in the image of God
  2. You are no longer condemned
  3. Your are God's masterpiece
  4. You are spiritually seated with Christ

Let's pray

By Dave Quinn
Founder of PASSION Australia


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