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By ruth myers
Multnomah PublishersCopyright © 2005 Ruth Myers
All right reserved.
Chapter Onea crucial question
Who are you?
Your deepest answers to that simple question are vitally important, because your thoughts and feelings about yourself determine the quality of your attitudes and actions.
This is true for all of us. A small self-image sets boundaries on what we can accomplish. A negative self-image predisposes us to failure and unhappiness. An inflated self-image makes us our own worst enemy in relating to other people.
And a changed self-image-one that is transformed by God-can alter our personality and behavior in delightful ways. That's what this book is about.
For several decades mainstream psychology has emphasized the importance of our self-image, the mental picture of ourselves that we carry around within us. But that's something the Bible has emphasized for centuries!
In the Bible, God gives Christians a new self-image, a new sense of identity. His work of changing us is not primarily directed to the outer margins of our lives, but to the very center. Through His Word and His Holy Spirit, He transforms us by renewing our minds.
God puts great emphasis on our self-concept because we act like the person we see ourselves to be. In this book we'll see how He expands our self-image as we allow Him to. This will broaden our view of what is really possible for us. He superimposes a glorious, positive self-image over our false and negative views of ourselves. This helps to make triumphant living possible.
God's truth sets us free from pride, insecurity, and other inhibiting negatives. This means we can become the unique person He designed us to be before our birth, when in the womb we were "intricately embroidered with great skill" (Psalm 139:14-15, paraphrased).
In revealing His truth to us, God teaches us to acknowledge the negatives about ourselves. From His point of view, everything we are "in the flesh"-even our self-attained righteousness-is corrupt. And He causes us to face another fact, one that is negative only from the viewpoint of human pride: our helplessness and inability, on our own, to achieve anything of value in His sight.
Admitting these humbling truths is essential. Without this we live in false self-confidence, relying on the ability of the flesh, which "profits nothing" (John 6:63).
But God doesn't stop with telling us about the negatives. He teaches us to dwell in the positive facts of who we are in Christ now and forever. Yes, we're to glance at the negatives, but we're to focus on the positives. This keeps us from wallowing in the weakness and sinfulness of our flesh.
Our quest for identity can sometimes occur on a low level, rooted in desiring a self-assurance that's independent of God. In contrast, He wants us to freely acknowledge our dependence on Him as we seek to discover who we are on the highest plane possible. Just think! God "has brought us into this place of highest privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to actually becoming all that God has had in mind for us to be" (Romans 5:2, TLB).
As we'll see, God created us to have a God-supported ego. We can gain an accurate sense of identity only as we're securely grounded in Him and His Word. He supports us with the confidence that, in Christ, each of us is "all right" as a person forever. Why? Because we share His belongingness, His worthiness, His competence.
The closer we walk with the Lord, the more vividly we'll learn to recognize both the negatives and the positives about ourselves. As we repeatedly acknowledge the negatives, then turn from them to believe the positives, our daily experience of who we are in Christ expands. The facts about our identity in Him become active forces in our lives by faith-by trusting the Holy Spirit to work within us.
And we strengthen our faith by practice-by accepting the truths God reveals and praising Him for them.
Use the following words to help you talk with your heavenly Father about the things you've been reading in these pages.
How I rejoice, Lord, that the answer to this question is known so fully and intimately by You, my loving creator and Father!
I look to You, my gracious Lord, to continue revealing to me who I am as You see fit, according to Your sovereign will. You know fully what I need to understand about myself. You know the distorted ideas and wrong labels in my self-identity that need to be corrected.
Work in me, Lord, so that I will love and worship You more and serve You better by choosing a more accurate self-image. Transform me day by day through a fresh new awareness of who You are and who I am in Your sight.
I ask this in Jesus' name, with deep gratefulness for His sacrifice that has won me an intimate relationship with You. I'm so grateful that I can bring my requests to You and freely receive Your answers. Thank You!
Excerpted from CHRIST/Life by ruth myers Copyright © 2005 by Ruth Myers. Excerpted by permission.
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