In Romans 12:3 we are told to not think more highly of ourselves than we ought, but in my experience many of us are more likely to think less of ourselves than we ought. We need to consider what we are listening to with respect to ourselves. All too often our internal self-talk is negative and harsh about ourselves. Life's experience can lead us down this path, we may have family who constantly talk us down, we may have suffered abuse, or we may have had our confidence shattered through bad experience in our past.
Whatever the cause of this negative self-belief, we need to understand that as followers of Jesus the only way we will truly know ourselves is to accept and believe what God says about us. It is not about who we are in and of ourselves, or what we have done for God, it is all about what God has done for us, and who we are in Jesus. There are literally over 100 things we have become through Christ, the New Testament is full of descriptions of who we are as believers. Try a Google search like “Who I am in Christ” and you will find great summaries of how God thinks of us since we are in Jesus. Go on do it now, I can wait ….
Sadly for many when we read these lists for some of the things we think “yeah that’s true for most people, but somehow I don’t qualify”, our own self-talk tells us “I don’t feel that is true about me”. Based on our experience, we can develop strong feelings or thoughts about ourselves that are counter to God’s view about us.
We need to decide who is right. Is my internal commentary on myself correct? With all my years of experience of life, have I come up with the final answer on who or I am? Or does God, the Creator of the Universe, the person who formed me in my mother’s womb, who sent his Son to redeem me; does that God know a thing or two about me? When we internally determine that we are not what God says of us, then in effect we are saying to God “you got it wrong”. I am willing to assume if I say such a thing to God, it is definitely me that has it wrong!
Trying to hold these opposing views about ourselves to be true, we run the risk of becoming “double-minded”. We are warned in James (chapter 1) that double-minded people will be unstable in all their ways, like a wave tossed in the sea. So how can we avoid this?
We need to be willing participants in right thinking about ourselves. Being transformed by the renewing of our minds will take our active participation. In 2 Corinthians 10, Paul tells us we wage war with spiritual weapons that have divine power to demolish strongholds. In verse 5 Paul says, “we demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ”. When we have negative thoughts and feelings about ourselves, that are contrary to God’s view of us, we need to actively take those thoughts captive. You may find it helpful to print out some of the things God says you have become in Christ and speak them out loud. Take the time to align your thinking about yourself with what God thinks about you.