Step 5 – Building a Healthy Self-Esteem
Seeing Yourself through the Father’s Eyes
You now know that the toxic mind-set which led you into addictions is a low self-esteem, self-condemnation and guilt, self-rejection, self-disapproval, self-bitterness and/or self-hatred. If it is any comfort to know, you are not alone! This mind-set is in epidemic proportions world-wide….and the church is unfortunately no exception. People simply don’t like themselves. There are two big areas that people deal with in which disease flourishes and that is “state of being” and “state of belonging”. In other words “Who am I”, “who do I belong to”, “who cares”. This is very, very big even in Christianity as people are struggling with who they are.
SANCTIFICATION OF YOUR SOUL
Even though the accusing spirit which initially taught you this toxic thinking habit of a low self-esteem, self-hatred and/or guilt has been removed, you still have a toxic long term memory of self-hatred/self-rejection/guilt in your brain. That toxic long term memory is able to initiate the chemical and hormonal reactions that lead to addictions, even without the accusing spirit being there. Therefore that long term memory has to be dealt with and removed through renewing of your mind. That is sanctification of the soul. You sanctify your soul through the washing of the water of the Word.
John 17 v 17: “Sanctify them [purify, consecrate, separate them for Yourself, make them holy] by the Truth; Your Word is Truth.”
Ephesians 5 v 26: “So that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the Word.”
Sanctification of your soul through the washing of the water of the Word is a wonderful picture of cleansing your brain of all those filthy toxic mind-sets of self-hatred, guilt and shame. In the previous chapter, you set your healing in motion with your prayer of repentance where you asked God for forgiveness for your low self-esteem, self-disapproval, self-rejection or self-hatred that led you into the trap of addictions. However that prayer is not the beginning and end of it! That is just the beginning – you still have to go through the process of renewing your mind and that is where the effort on your part comes in. Repentance is more than just saying “Sorry God” with words. The original Greek word for repentance in the Bible means “changing your thinking”. You need to renew your mind by changing your thinking to the way that God thinks. You find out how God thinks by meditating on His Word.
LET’S STUDY THE WORD TO FIND OUT HOW GOD THINKS…ABOUT YOU!
The New Testament says approximately 140 times that you are in Christ! One of the primary reasons for this wrong mind-set of self-hatred and self-rejection is not having a proper knowledge and understanding of who you are in Christ. In your ignorance you have received and believed satan’s blatant lies and deceptions concerning who you are and your value and worth.
In order to gain complete deliverance from addictions, it is vital that you learn to place your identity in Christ, and develop a healthy self-esteem by choosing to see yourself as God sees you. In this chapter come on a journey with me through the Word to find out who you are in Christ, so that you can renew your mind and develop a Biblical self-image.
IT IS TIME TO DISCOVER YOUR FULLEST POTENTIAL AS A CHILD OF GOD
I would like to start by sharing an article which was written by a professional psychologist who analysed one of the characters in the Bible – see if you can guess who the article describes: “He suffers from chronic low level depression. He’s moody, impulsive and becomes angry when he feels victimized. He struggles with low self-worth. Because of feeling intellectually inferior, he attempts to hide behind an exaggerated ego. He really trusts no one. And yet he relies on others more than necessary and becomes naïve in his relationships with them. He exhibits self-criticism and irritability. He believes in individualism and has trouble in interpersonal relationships. His lack of trust often leaves him feeling anxious around people. He has relative weaknesses in attention. He has trouble sleeping. His weight fluctuates. He’s not mentally ill; he doesn’t have a personality disorder, and yet he often feels humiliated, embarrassed and remorseful.”
Did you guess who this could be? Well first of all, outside of the Bible he or she could be anyone you might meet in town tomorrow and even in church – or any man or woman who wasn’t raised with a Biblical self image… including you. But the Bible character this best describes is a young man by the name of Gideon. Let’s look at his story because he is just like anyone else. If Gideon could believe what God said about him and develop a new self-image, so can you.
At the time, a tribe of people called the Midianites were oppressing Gideon’s land. His family were dealing with super high taxes and inflation. All around him was economic, cultural, religious and racial bondage. It was the worst of times for Israel – and Gideon was right in the middle of it. He was just trying to survive. He wasn’t thinking about being an over-comer or prosperous individual. When God called this young man of about 20 years old, he was hiding in a winepress, trying to thresh out some wheat. Threshing wheat in a winepress was a horrible, miserable job. The chaff, the dust – everything was unpleasant. In that day in the life of Gideon, the Angel of the Lord appeared to him, and his life was changed forever. He said, “The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valour!” (Judges 6 v 12).
When you take the time to study what a “man of valour” is in the original Hebrew word, you will find that God called Gideon “a champion overcoming warrior who possessed valour, dignity and honour!” When the angel said that to Gideon he said, “Look, uh, Lord – would you please look around? Look at me. Come on, I’ve been a mess my whole life. I’ve been making minimum wage. I’ve just been trying to make it through life. I come from a family of dysfunctional people. We’re all just surviving – barely making it through. So are my friends. We are all trying to make a living. Everybody I know is sick, poor and in debt.” But God told this insecure young man, “All that is going to change son. You are not what you think you are. Listen, you are what I say you are! You are a mighty man of valour – a champion overcoming warrior who possesses dignity and honour!” And this fearful young man from the tribe of Benjamin changed the course of his nation. Gideon went to war, and God fought with him:
Judges 8 v 28: “Thus Midian was subdued before the children of Israel, so they lifted their heads no more. And the country was quiet for 40 years in the days of Gideon.”
God told Gideon who he was and the rest was up to him. This is how God talks to anyone with a low self-esteem who is living below their potential. God is saying to you: “YOU ARE NOT WHAT YOU THINK YOU ARE, LISTEN, YOU ARE WHAT I SAY YOU ARE -YOU ARE A MIGHTY MAN (OR WOMAN) OF VALOR, A CHAMPION OVERCOMING WARRIOR WHO POSSESSES DIGNITY AND HONOR. COME ON, WE’VE GOT WORK TO DO!”
The next stop in our journey through the Bible to find out who we are in Christ is Jeremiah 1 v 5: You need to know that…
GOD ACCEPTS AND APPROVES OF YOU!
Jeremiah 1 v 5: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew [and] approved of you [as My chosen instrument], and before you were born I separated and set you apart, consecrating you…”
Before you were even formed in your mother’s womb, He knew and approved of you… do you know that God can approve of you but not approve of your behaviour? Before God formed you in the womb, He knew you… HE KNEW YOU! Psalm 139 v 4 says that before the words are even on your lips, God already knows what you are going to say. So if you are going to say something wrong and sinful tomorrow, God already knows about it. In fact, before you were even born, God already knew you…He already knew all the wrong, sinful, dumb mistakes that you would make during your life… and knowing ahead of time all these things….HE STILL APPROVED OF YOU ANYWAY! WOW!
Actually you are no surprise to God. He knew what He was getting when He made you and He chose you. Ephesians 1 v 4 says, “He chose us [actually picked us out for Himself as His own] in Christ before the foundation of the world.” He already knew every weakness and every flaw and He still said, “I want you.” Ephesians 1 v 5 says that He predestined you to be adopted as His child.
Ephesians 1 v 6: “To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He has made us accepted in the beloved.”
In Ephesians chapter 6 where it talks about the armour of God, it says, “Put on the breastplate of righteousness.” But the translation in the Living Bible says, “Put on the breastplate of God’s approval.” Part of your armour that God gave you to withstand the attacks of the enemy is to walk around knowing that the great God – your heavenly Father approves of you!
Say this out loud to yourself and mean it from your heart: GOD ACCEPTS AND APPROVES OF ME, THEREFORE I ACCEPT AND APPROVE OF MYSELF!
You also need to believe in the same words that God spoke over Jesus – “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3 v 17). You are His beloved son in whom He is well pleased! You are His beloved daughter in whom He is well pleased! God wants you to realize that you are pleasing to Him just the way you are. The devil tries to keep telling you that you are not, but God is telling you that you are. You are His beloved child who is well pleasing to Him. The devil tries to tell you that you cannot possibly be acceptable to God because you are not perfect, but God tells you that you are accepted in the Beloved because of what He has already done for you.
Now, say this out loud and believe and settle it in your heart: “I AM GOD’S CHILD AND HE IS PLEASED WITH ME!”
YOU ARE RIGHTEOUS BEFORE GOD:
God’s love for you is not performance based. His love for you is not based on what you have done, but on what Jesus has done and His work on the cross. It is impossible for you to ever earn or deserve God’s love, acceptance or approval because your most righteous acts are like filthy rags in God’s sight…no amount of good works would ever be enough. Isaiah 64 v 6: “For we have all become like one who is unclean [like a leper] and all our righteousness (our best deeds of rightness and justice) are like filthy rags or a polluted garment; we all fade like a leaf and our iniquities like the wind take us away [far from God’s favour, hurrying us towards destruction].”
However, when Jesus becomes Lord of your life and you meet Him at the cross, you are literally given His royal robes of righteousness. Isaiah 61 v 10: “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul will exult in my God; for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation. He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland and as a bride adorns herself with jewels.”
What does righteousness mean to you and me in our practical everyday life? The definition is found in 2 Corinthians 5 v 21: “For our sake He made Christ [virtually] to be sin Who knew no sin, so that in and through Him we might become… the righteousness of God [what we ought to be, approved and acceptable and in right relationship with Him, by His goodness].”
So righteousness means acceptance, approval, right relationship and right standing with God. It is essential that you understand that you have been made right with God through your faith in Jesus Christ. Otherwise you are going to live on a performance treadmill trying to earn God’s acceptance, love and approval. Trying to earn God’s approval is like trying to get into a chair that you are already sitting in! Talk about frustration for nothing! You don’t need to earn God’s acceptance and approval… you’ve already got it!
THIS IS THE BASIS OF SELF ACCEPTANCE – KNOWING THAT GOD COMPLETELY ACCEPTS YOU THROUGH JESUS AND SEES YOU AS TOTALLY RIGHTEOUS.
This does not mean that you don’t sin anymore or that when you do sin, you can just dismiss it like it’s no big deal. It simply means that God loves you for who you are in Christ, not for what you do. For example, I know a couple who had a 3 year old son who used to scream and throw a fit when he didn’t get his own way. Even though they disliked and disapproved of his behaviour, they still loved him tremendously. They didn’t stop loving him or kick him out of the family because he does things wrong. They loved him and worked with him to develop the good character they knew he needed to succeed in life. The same is true with God, your Heavenly Father. He is not pleased with your wrong behaviour, but He certainly loves and adores you! Romans 5 v 8 says that He showed and proved His love for you in that while you were still a sinner, Jesus died for you. In other words He didn’t wait until you were righteous to send Jesus – He sent Jesus because you would never be righteous without Him!
The next thing we need to learn about our Biblical self-image is:
YOU ARE CROWNED WITH GLORY AND HONOR!
Look at how you are mentioned in Psalm 8, starting with verses 3 and 4: “When I view and consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained and established, What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of [earthborn] man that you care for him?” When I have spent time lying on the grass at night, looking at the stars and observing the greatness and magnificence of God’s creation, I have often felt (just like David did) very small in comparison. Here David was saying, “Why in the world would you want to visit with us, Awesome and Mighty God? Why are we so important to You? When we look at the glory of the universe and realize that You want to be involved with us… WOW!” Verse 5: “Yet You have made him but a little lower than God [or heavenly beings], and You have crowned him with glory and honour.”
So you are the King of Kings kid and you are dressed up like it! Spiritually you are wearing Jesus’ royal robe of righteousness and a crown of glory and honour on your head! Verses 6 to 8 of this powerful psalm of your God-given image go on to say how God has given you dominion and that all things are under your feet.
So when you wake up in the morning and get out of bed to face the day, you get up crowned with glory and honour, you have dominion and you walk into every circumstance knowing it’s under your feet! Say this out loud with me: I AM A ROYAL CHILD OF GOD. SPIRITUALLY I AM WEARING A ROYAL ROBE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS AND A CROWN OF GLORY AND HONOUR!
When God looks at you, He doesn’t see your failures and short comings, He sees Jesus’ righteousness and He says, “Qualified! Accepted! Approved!” There is now no condemnation for you in Christ!
THERE IS NOW NO CONDEMNATION FOR YOU IN CHRIST!
One of the devil’s greatest tools to make us feel bad about ourselves is condemnation. Many people, who love God and are serving Him, are tormented by negative thinking about themselves. They think that God must be so disappointed and angry with them for all their failures and shortcomings. How many “could have”, “would have”, “should have”, “if only” statements do you make in a day? These are guilt statements and thoughts that are full of condemnation, which are extremely toxic to your body. How many times have you replayed in your head a conversation or a situation that pained you or one that hasn’t even occurred yet? When you think like this you waste precious time building up a toxic thought and putting your body into a toxic state of sickness which will inhibit the way in which you function.
How much time do you waste living under guilt and condemnation? I purposely said how much time is wasted because that is precisely what that kind of thinking is – a waste of time. As long as you have repented for the things you did wrong, forget the past because God has (Hebrews 10 v 17). Don’t meditate on all that you’ve done to mess up – think about how you have been made the righteousness of God through Christ and therefore God accepts and approves of you. Remember that thoughts turn into actions. If you want your behaviour to change, your thinking has to change first. Keep meditating on how terrible you are and you will act worse.
Romans 8 v 33 – 34 “Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect [when it is] God Who justifies [that is, Who puts us in right relation to Himself? Who shall come forward and accuse or impeach those whom God has chosen? Will God, Who acquits us?] Who is there to condemn [us]? Will Christ Jesus (the Messiah), Who died, or rather Who was raised from the dead, Who is at the right hand of God actually pleading as He intercedes for us?”
In other words the above Scripture is saying: if God doesn’t condemn you…And Jesus doesn’t condemn you…Who is there to condemn you? So why do you condemn yourself?
Romans 8 v 1 “Therefore [there is] now no condemnation (no adjudging guilty of wrong) for those who are in Christ Jesus, who live [and] walk not after the dictates of the flesh, but after the dictates of the Spirit.”
So every time the devil brings a condemning thought to your mind, quote Romans 8 v 1 to him and tell him to take his condemnation back to hell where it belongs and to “Hit the road Jack!”
In order to be free from guilt and condemnation, we not only need to receive forgiveness from God, but we need to forgive ourselves. We need to stop hitting ourselves over the head with something that God has forgiven and forgotten. This does not mean that we are perfect and will never mess up again, it just means that we can go on with our life without being weighed down with a constant burden of guilt and condemnation for what happened in the past. As long as we have repented from the heart and our hearts are right with God and we are doing the best that we can, we can stay out from under the burden of guilt. God is more interested in our heart than what we do. He knows that when our heart is right toward Him, our actions will eventually come in line with our heart.
Now say this out loud: GOD DOES NOT CONDEMN ME, THEREFORE I DO NOT CONDEMN MYSELF!
The next important point we need to know in the process of renewing our minds and developing a Godly self-esteem is:
YOU ARE LOVED UNCONDITIONALLY BY GOD:
You are a woman or man of such tremendous value and worth that the King of Kings gave His life for you! I explained earlier that God’s love for you is not performance based. When you mess up, it does not affect His love for you one little bit. A friend once said to me, “I’ve found something that is impossible for God to do!” I replied “That’s rubbish! Nothing is impossible with God! In fact, God said that even I can do anything (Philippians 4 v 13 says I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me).” But she said, “No, God cannot love you anymore than He does right now!”
Romans 8 v 35, 38 & 39: “Who shall ever separate us from Christ’s love? Shall suffering and affliction and tribulation? Or calamity and distress? Or persecution or hunger or destitution or peril or sword?… For I am persuaded beyond doubt (am sure) that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor things impending and threatening nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Jesus said in John 16 v 27: “27For the Father Himself [tenderly] loves you because you have loved Me and have believed that I came out from the Father.”
How can you not love yourself if God loves you? The Awesome, Indescribable, Almighty, Holy God Who is the Greatest of all says He loves you! God spared nothing for you in His love for you – even His only beloved Son! So under which Gospel do you have the audacity to not love yourself and think that you are worthless? I want to tell you that the Great God – your Father loves you so very much!
It is important that you are secure in the knowledge that you are loved by the Father so that you can overcome rejection. Accepting rejection is a sin because you are telling God that man’s acceptance is more important to you than His. In your heart you are saying, “God, you lied when You said that I was worthy, accepted and approved. I would rather believe what other people think of me.” Rejection can lead you on a desperate search where you strive for the love that would complete you. Many of us come from dysfunctional families where we have not known a Godly, loving environment. This hinders us from an early age in receiving the love we crave so much. However this love cannot be found in the acceptance and approval of other people, but only in the arms of the Father!
As a believer, you need to come to the place where you are so wholly satisfied and complete in the love of God and who you are in Christ that if anybody even smiles at you today, that is just a bonus. Say this out loud with me: I AM LOVED!
The next point in our journey through the Bible to find out who we are as children of God is:
CHRIST IS YOUR SPIRITUAL HUSBAND:
The Bible says that the church is the bride of Christ (Revelations 19 v 7 and 22 v 17, Ephesians 5 v 26 – 27) and that includes you if you are a born again child of God.
Jeremiah 3 v 14: “Turn O black sliding children, says the Lord, for I am married to you!”
Isaiah 54 v 5: “For Your Maker is your Husband – the Lord of Hosts is His Name – and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; the Lord God of the whole earth He is called.”
Song of Solomon 6 v 3: “I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine.”
Song of Solomon 2 v 4: “He brought me to the banqueting house, and His banner over me is love!”
When Jesus came the first time, He came in humility – He was born in a stable and He rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. But when Jesus comes again, He’s coming for His bride. Let’s have a look at what He is going to look like when He comes back….
Revelations 1 v 13 – 16: “The Son of Man was clothed with a robe which reached to His feet and with a girdle of gold about His breast. His head and His hair were white like white wool, [as white] as snow, and His eyes [flashed] like a flame of fire. His feet glowed like burnished (bright) bronze as it is refined in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of many waters. In His right hand He held seven stars, and from His mouth there came forth a sharp two edged sword, and His face was like the sun shining in full power at midday.”
Revelations 19 v 11 – 16: “11I saw heaven opened and behold, a white horse [appeared]! The One Who was riding it is called Faithful (Trustworthy, Loyal, Incorruptible, Steady) and True, and He passes judgment and wages war in righteousness (holiness, justice and uprightness. 12His eyes [blaze] like a flame of fire, and on His head are many kingly crowns (diadems); and He has a title (name) which He alone knows or can understand. 13He is dressed in a robe dyed by dripping blood, and the Title by which He is called is the Word of God. 14And the troops of heaven, clothed in fine linen, dazzling and clean, followed him on white horses. 15From His mouth goes forth a sharp sword with which He can smite (afflict, strike) the nations; and He will shepherd and control them with a staff (scepter, rod) of iron… He will tread the winepress of the fierceness of the wrath and indignation of God the All-Ruler (the Almighty, the Omnipotent). 16And on His garment (robe) and on His thigh He has a name (title) inscribed, KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.”
That is a description of a very powerful Son of God, Who is the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords … and your Husband to be! Whooohooo! Wow! So when you’re struggling with low self-esteem, self-hatred and an identity problem remember who you are engaged to! Shout it out loud with me:
I AM ENGAGED TO THE KING OF KINGS!
It doesn’t matter who has rejected you because God is your source and it’s about time you stopped making them an idol. If somebody doesn’t love you, that’s their loss. God is your Father and Jesus is your Husband and they are all you’ve got 100 years from now so you may as well get used to it now. Let me tell you that you are loved! I release you from those insecurities and those fears that say you are not loved. I release you from your dependency on humans who will possibly never love you. I release you to the love of your Father and the love of the Lord Jesus Christ as a work of the Holy Spirit. I release you to a peace inside you that you have never known because you are wanted, and you are loved! God has saved you, He’s made you a son and a daughter, He has chosen you, you are the apple of His eye (Zechariah 2 v 8), you are engraved in the palms of His hand (Isaiah 49 v 16), He’s betrothed you to His Son as a wife, your names are written down in Heaven in the Lambs book of life…what more do you think He needs to do for you?
This next point is something that is especially important for the ladies. In renewing your mind and changing how you think about yourself, you need to think that you are beautiful…
YOU ARE FEARFULLY AND WONDERFULLY MADE!
The way that you look is intentionally designed by God for a specific purpose. I spent a lot of years being self-conscious, thinking that I was ugly and not liking various parts of my body. I didn’t like the way that I am big boned with a broad body frame. I wanted to be small, thin and petit. However I’ve now realized that God specifically made me that way, as part of His calling on my life is to be an Orthopaedic surgeon. Orthopaedic surgery requires a lot of physical strength: for example when fixing the broken femur (bone in your thigh) of a large muscular man. Had I been small and petit, I would not have the body strength to perform operations like that. However because of the structure of my broad body frame, I have tremendous physical strength, especially for a woman. God knows what He is doing! God designed your nose, eyes, ears, backside or whatever side it is that you don’t like for a specific reason! So just enjoy the way God made you!
There are many woman who do not like their sexuality as a female and hate their femininity. Often it is because their father wanted a son but got a daughter instead. As a result that curse followed her and she struggled with her female identity because there is a spirit assigned to her to accuse her in her creation. However when God created you a female, He made no mistakes – you are fearfully and wonderfully made.
Psalm 139 v 14 – 15: “I will praise You for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: Marvellous are Your works; And that my soul knows very well! (KJV) My frame was not hidden from You when I was being formed in secret [and] intricately and curiously wrought [as if embroidered with various colours] in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance, and in Your book all the days [of my life] were written before ever they took shape, and when as yet there was none of them. How precious and weighty also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them!” (Amplified Bible)
Ladies, go and look in the mirror and say this out loud, “Marvellous! I am beautiful!” The men can say this out loud, “I am a handsome hunk of dust!” That’s Henry Wright’s saying. Some of you felt a bit uncomfortable saying that you are beautiful didn’t you? You need to change your thinking…God thinks you’re beautiful and you need to see yourself as God sees you. Now say this out loud: “I AM A MASTERPIECE OF GOD’S CREATION – I AM INTRICATELY, FEARFULLY AND WONDERFULLY MADE!”
So far, you have learnt that: You are loved unconditionally by God. He accepts and approves of you. He is pleased with you. Spiritually Christ is your husband and His banner over you is love! You are righteous before God – you are wearing Jesus’ royal robes of righteousness and a crown of glory and honour. There is now no condemnation for you in Christ. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. You are a mighty man (or woman) of valour – a champion over coming warrior who possesses dignity and honour. When Gideon renewed his mind and changed his thinking to see himself as God saw him, he rose from being a pitiful failure to a mighty warrior who shook a nation. Now I pray that as you continue to read, you will be blown away at the realization of who you really are in Christ… and what you are capable of in Him!
One man or woman who is willing to believe God, and rise up to who they really are in Christ has the potential to shake nations and make a difference in the outcome of this entire world. The question is will you be one of them? You most certainly can be! Here’s why:
AS JESUS IS, SO ARE YOU IN THIS WORLD!
John was the closest disciple of Jesus – he is the one who laid his head on Jesus’ chest. John was with Jesus when he forgave the adulteress, healed and miraculously fed the masses, cast out demons, walked on water and calmed the storm, blessed the little children and when Jesus laid down His life – John was there at the foot of the cross. So John knew the God who’d called him to a life of ministry. His image of his God was one of compassion, miraculous power and uncompromising, steadfast, unconditional love. In 1 John 4 v 17 he writes, “As He is, so are we in this world,”
The description of Jesus in Revelations 1 v 13 – 16 and19 v 11 – 16 quoted earlier give us an image of a very, very Mighty God! That is who Jesus is and that is the image that the Holy Spirit is moulding us into. You were made in the image of God (Genesis 1 v 27). That image is modelled for you by Jesus. As Jesus is so are you now – not when you get to heaven – no as He is now, so are you in this world.
Colossians 3 v 10 “Put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created him.” KJV.
In other words that scripture is saying get knowledge –renew your mind, change your thinking in the area of your self-image, and put on your new man which is your new self-image according to who you are in Christ. What are you seeing when you look in the mirror? If you’re seeing anything less than the image of Jesus, you need to renew your mind in knowledge according to the image of Him, so that you can begin to enjoy the life of divine health that Jesus provided for you on the cross and fulfil His destiny that He planned for you before the foundation of the world. But it all starts and ends with how you interpret His image – and ultimately your image.As long as you see yourself as a useless nobody, you will be a useless nobody.
So declare this out loud: AS JESUS IS, SO AM I IN THIS WORLD!
THE IMMEASURABLE AND UNLIMITED AND SURPASSING POWER OF GOD IS ON THE INSIDE OF YOU!
I’m sure that you have realized by now, especially after reading the description of Jesus in Revelations that you serve a very powerful God… but did you know that HIS POWER IS ON THE INSIDE OF YOU???!!! That’s what it says in Ephesians 1 v 19 – 20: “And [so that you can know and understand] what is the immeasurable and unlimited and surpassing greatness of His power in and for us who believe, as demonstrated in the working of His mighty strength, which He exerted in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His [own] right hand in heavenly [places].”
Think about what this Scripture is saying for a moment and allow it to really sink in: Consider the magnificent huge expanse of the universe – the power of God created that. Consider the beauty of nature and the intricately complicated human body – the power of God created that. The power of God raised Jesus from the dead. THAT SAME POWER IS ON THE INSIDE OF YOU! As Jesus is so are you in this world and the immeasurable, unlimited and surpassing power of God is on the inside of you! If you would just get a grasp of that, I don’t really need to tell you anything else about who you are in Christ because that in itself would change the way you see yourself and the way you face every trial and circumstance in life.It did for me. For example I was in a situation years ago when I was first trying to get into medical school. I had to compete with 300 other South African students (who were the top 300 from schools across South Africa) for 20 places. I was having a panic about it one day when the Lord said to me, “Do you believe my Word or not?” I replied “Yes, Lord, I believe your Word”.Then He said, “Then act like it.” Say this out loud and say it like you believe it: THE IMMEASURABLE, UNLIMITED AND SURPASSING POWER OF GOD IS ON THE INSIDE OF ME!
When I first found out that the immeasurable, unlimited and surpassing power of God is on the inside of me, it absolutely blew my mind. It still blows my mind! With the immeasurable, unlimited and surpassing power of God on the inside of you…You have the ability to shake nations never mind overcome an addiction! Remember what I said earlier:
One man or woman who is willing to believe God, and rise up to who they really are in Christ has the potential to shake nations and make a difference in the outcome of this entire world.
Why don’t you be one of them? God uses the so-called nobodies you know. Look at Joyce Meyer, she was an average housewife but she chose to believe God and now she has a world-wide ministry that is impacting nations for God’s kingdom. Gideon was a coward, a pitiful failure and the least significant in his family and community but He chose to see himself as God sees him and he changed the course of His nation. And you’re never too old! God used Moses at the age of 80 to lead the biggest church in history of 3 and a half million Israelites! So what’s your excuse? I’m going to believe what God said about me and I’m excited to see what He’s going to do through me. How about you?
Having the power of God on the inside of you, means that you have the ability on the inside of you to do the things that Jesus did, and in fact the Bible says that you will do even greater things than Jesus did.
1 John 14 v 12 – 14: “I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, if anyone steadfastly believes in Me, he will himself be able to do the things that I do; and he will even do greater things than these, because I go to the Father, And I will do [I myself will grant] whatever you ask in My Name [as presenting all that I AM], so that the Father may be glorified and extolled in (through) the Son. [Yes] I will grant [I Myself will do for you] whatever you shall ask in My Name]…”
Yet many of us still walk around believing and saying that they are weak, useless, pathetic individuals who will never amount to anything! Renew your mind and say this out loud with me: I WILL DO THE THINGS THAT JESUS DID AND GREATER THINGS WILL I DO!
The last stop in our journey through the Bible to find out how God thinks of us, so that we can think like Him and develop a Biblical self-image is that:
YOU ARE MORE THAN A CONQUEROR!
Romans 8 v 37: “Yet amid all these things we are more than conquerors and gain a surpassing victory through Him who loved us.” I would like to really drive the meaning of this scripture home by explaining it to you like my grandfather once explained it to me. I spent a lot of time with my grandparents in the school holidays whilst growing up. They used to live on a farm in Karoi in Zimbabwe, where the flies were an irritating problem in summer. I would often stand in the kitchen whilst my grandmother was cooking dinner, with a fly swatter. One day swatting and killing the darn things left, right and centre, my grandfather said, “Do you know what being more than a conqueror really means? When you hit that fly with the fly swatter – you killed it – you conquered it. But the Bible does not say that you are a conqueror, it says you are MORE THAN a conqueror. According to the meaning of the original Greek word that means when you kill that fly, you pick up a 3 tonne sledge hammer and not only smash the fly out of existence, but you also break the table and the concrete foundation of the kitchen in the process!” Now this is a silly story but I hope you get my point. Am I exaggerating? No! Not at all! This is the kind of surpassing victory that you have in every circumstance when you know who you are in Christ. So say it out loud: I AM MORE THAN A CONQUEROR!
With all that said, I now have one very sincere question to ask you: IF THIS IS WHO WE ARE IN CHRIST – HOW ON EARTH CAN WE HAVE A LOW SELF ESTEEM??!!!
If we only knew who we are in Christ, we would not be in such a mess. We would be living with victory upon victory instead of this pitiful state of defeat and sickness.
THINK LIKE THE NEW YOU!
I hope that by now that you have discovered the “real you” as a child of God – and just how much you have allowed the devil to rob you, by deceiving you into believing that you are unlovable, unworthy, guilty, defeated, useless, powerless and so on. If you truly want to overcome addictions, and enjoy the abundant life (John 10 v 10) that God has for you – you have no choice but to let go of your old toxic mind-sets of self-hatred/low self-esteem, and begin to see yourself as God sees you. Your value and sense of self-worth needs to be firmly rooted in the knowledge of who you are in Christ. Think like the new you!
SPEAK LIKE THE NEW YOU!
Be careful what you say about yourself because you are today what you said about yourself yesterday! Your words shape your world because they have creative ability. What you confess over yourself is what you will become. What you confess over your life is what your life will become. You must never underestimate the power of your words.
Proverbs 18 v 21: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and they who indulge in it shall eat the fruit of it [for death or life].”
Your thoughts and ultimately your words are seeds which are containers of power – they will produce a harvest of either blessing and health or sickness and destruction. It starts with your mind (your thinking) and your thoughts become words.
Mathew 12 v 34: “Out of the fullness (the overflow, the superabundance) of the heart, the mouth speaks.”
If you permit thoughts of a low self-image and self-hatred to dwell in your heart, you will ultimately speak them with negative results in your life and health. Yes, your thoughts and your words are that powerful.
I want to encourage you to begin purposefully using your thoughts and your words for your good.
In Romans 4 v 17 it says that God calls things that are not, as though they were, and thus brings them into being. The Amplified Bible says, “God gives life to the dead and speaks of non-existent things that [He foretold and promised] as if they [already] existed.” Now the Bible calls us to be imitators of God – if He does that then we can do it too! He calls things that are not as though they are and so brings them into being. When He first called Gideon a mighty man of valour, a champion overcoming warrior who possessed dignity and honour, the physical reality at the time was that Gideon was a coward and a pitiful failure. But He spoke over Gideon’s life and that is what he became – a warrior who turned the course of a whole nation.
FAITH FILLED WORDS DRAW THINGS OUT OF THE SPIRITUAL REALM, WHERE THEY DO EXIST… INTO THE NATURAL REALM WHERE THEY DO NOT YET EXIST.
God began this kind of work all the way back at creation. He didn’t say, “Whoo it’s dark here!” He said “Let there be light” and it was so (Genesis 1 v 3). The description above of who you are in Christ may be the exact opposite of what you look like in reality right at this moment. But as you purposefully change your thinking and choose to see yourself as God sees you – also purposefully speak out what God says about you in His word… and that is what you will literally become in physical reality. One of your most powerful weapons to defeat the enemy is to speak out the Word of God. Joyce Meyer says, “You cannot defeat Goliath with your mouth shut.”
Hebrews 4 v 12 says that “the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power [making it active, operative, energizing and effective]; it is sharper than any two edged sword.”
The Word of God is a powerful two edged sword that we can use in spiritual warfare to defeat the enemy in our life. However just as a sword left in its sheath is not effective in battle until you take it out and use it, the Bible on the shelf is not going to do anything for you. Its power is only released when you speak it in faith. Jesus was tempted three times by the devil when he was fasting in the dessert. Each time, Jesus simply resisted him by saying, “It is written…it is written…It is written…” (Matthew 4 v 4, 7, 10). That is the way we need to respond to the devil when he tries to tempt us with self-hatred, condemnation, regret, guilt and any other negative thought that would make us feel bad about ourselves.
Personally, in dealing with spiritual roots and struggles in my own life, I have found it very helpful to write out what I call a “Faith Confession” with relevant scriptures, which I speak out on a daily basis until my mind is renewed and I have victory in that area. So to help you in the process of renewing your mind and developing a healthy self-image by seeing yourself as God sees you, I have put together a “Faith Confession” containing Scriptures that speak of who you are in Christ. I encourage you to speak this out on a daily basis until you have developed a new Godly mind-set concerning who you are in Christ. This is not meant to be carried out like a religious ritual, it is just a guide to help get you started. When you speak out this faith confession – think about what you are saying – don’t just absentmindedly say it out loud whilst your thoughts wonder elsewhere – say to yourself – this is who I am!
FAITH CONFESSION OF WHO YOU ARE IN CHRIST
“I am a precious woman (or man) of great value and worth because Jesus, the King of kings, died and paid a great price for me. I am a royal daughter (or son) for I have a crown of glory and honour on my head, and I am wearing Jesus’ royal robes of righteousness (Isaiah 61v10; Psalm 8 v5). God accepts and approves of me (Jeremiah 1 v 5). I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139). There is now no condemnation for me in Christ (Romans 8 v1). Therefore I accept myself, and love who I am and the way I am made.
Father, I am who You say I am: I am called by God (2 Timothy 1 v 9). I was chosen by God before the foundations of the world to be set apart for Him (Ephesians 1 v 4; 1 Peter 2 v 9; 1 Thessalonians 1 v 4; John 15 v 16). I am God’s child (Romans 8 v 15 -16). I am born again of the Incorruptible seed of the living Word of God that endures forever. (1 Peter 1 v 23). I am forgiven of all my sins and the blood of Jesus has washed away my guilt and shame (Ephesians 1 v 4 & 7; 1 John 2 v 12; 1 John 1 v9; Colossians 1 v 14).I am a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5 v 17).I am holy and blameless in God’s sight, even above reproach, before Him in love (Ephesians 1 v 4). I am the righteousness of God, which means that I am approved, acceptable and in right relationship with Him (2Corinth.5:21. I have full access to the Father (Ephesians 2 v 18) and can fearlessly, confidently and boldly draw near to His throne (Hebrews 4 v 16). I am blessed and I am God’s favourite(Galatians 3 v 9). I am the apple of God’s eye and my name is inscribed on the palm of His hand (Zechariah 2 v 8; Psalm 17 v 8; Isaiah 49 v 16). I am stamped with the seal of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1 v 13). I am established to the end (1 Corinthians 1 v 8). I am being changed into His image and He Who began this good work in me will bring it to completion. (2 Corinthians 3 v 18; Philippians 1 v 6) I am God’s workmanship, recreated in Christ for good works (Ephesians 2 v 10). I am an ambassador for Christ (2 Corinthians 5 v 20). I am complete in Him (Colossians 2 v 10). I am the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6 v 19). I have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2 v 16; Philippians 2 v 5).
I am a joint heir with Christ and He has qualified me to share in His inheritance (Romans 8 v 17; Colossians 1 v 12; Ephesians 1 v 11). I am redeemed from the curse of the law and Abraham’s blessings are mine (Galatians 3 v 13). I am redeemed from the futile way of life inherited from the tradition of my forefathers and am purchased with the precious blood of Christ (1 Peter 1 v 18-19). I have been delivered from the control and dominion of the devil and have been translated into God’s kingdom of love (Colossians 1 v 13). I am set free (John 8 v 36; Galatians 5 v 1; John 8 v 31 – 34). I am dead to sin and alive with Christ (Romans 6 v 11; Ephesians 2 v 5). I am raised up with Christ and am seated with Him in heavenly places (Ephesians 2 v 6). Because I am born of God the evil one cannot touch me (1 John 5 v 18). I have been given all things that pertain to life and godliness and I am a partaker of His divine nature (2 Peter 1 v 3-4). I am blessed with every spiritual blessing that heaven has to offer (Ephesians 1 v 3). I am firmly rooted, built up and established in my faith (Colossians 2 v 7) and I have faith that can move mountains (Mathew 16 v 20).
Father, I can do what You say I can do: I am a victorious over-comer (1 John 5 v 4; Revelations 2 v 11), a mighty woman (or man) of valour a champion overcoming warrior, who possesses dignity and honour(Judges 6 v12). I am more than a conqueror (Romans 8 v 35). All circumstances are under my feet (Psalm 8 v 6). In all things I gain a surpassing victory (Rom 8 v 37) and in all things God leads me to triumph in Christ (2 Corinthians 2 v 14). Through my union with God, I am strong in the Lord and the power of His might (Ephesians 6 v 10). I have strength for all things in Christ who empowers me. I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency (Philippians 4 v13). Everything I put my hand to prospers (Psalm 1 v 1 – 3). I am the head and not the tail, above only and not beneath (Deuteronomy 28 v 13). Greater is He that lives in me than he that is in the world (1 John 4 v 4). Because I believe in, lean on, trust and rely on God, I do the things that Jesus did, and greater things will I do, for His Spirit within me knows no limit. (John 14 v 12 – 14). Therefore I believe that all things are possible and limit not the Holy One within me (Philippians 4 v 13). I received power when the Holy Spirit came upon me, so every place I go and all I do, I do in the power of the Spirit: I have power to lay hands on the sick and see them recover (each and every one), and at my command, in the Name of Jesus all demonic
KEEP COMPANY WITH THE NEW YOU!
Your friendships are important because you become the same as those with whom you keep company. Solomon said, “Don’t be deceived, bad company corrupts good character.” Daniel was a man of great integrity and excellence. He prospered and rose to the top in everything he put his hand to. However, did you notice that his friends were also excellent? Daniel would not compromise, but neither would Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. You need to be spending time with other people who share your vision for Godly change. You need to keep company with the new you! Build friendships with people who are going where you want to go or are already there! If you get on a bus with a group of people who are going to Namibia and you want to go to South Africa, and you say, “These people are all my old friends. We’ve been together since high school. We’ve been through so much together and we’re so close!” Guess what, you won’t make it to South Africa.
Proverbs 13 v 20: “He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed.”
When strife came between Abraham and Lot’s men, Abraham chose to separate from Lot. He said, “Is not the whole land before you? Please separate from me. If you take the left, then I will go to the right; or, if you go to the right, then I will go to the left.” (Genesis 13 v 9).
You see, when strife comes, the anointing goes. As long as Lot was hanging around Abraham, God was limited to what He could do in Abraham’s life. The moment Lot left God showed up and furthered Abraham’s vision. Abraham had to get his social relationships right before God would lead him any further spiritually. “Yes but they’re my friends,” you may say. Well, you either have to give up your destiny and your destination in Christ or you have to give up those ungodly relationships. Which one is it going to be? I’m sorry to seem so harsh and insensitive, but that is just the way it is. “Well, can’t I do both?” OK, sure, just start fulfilling your call to share the gospel in their lives. They’ll either be saved or separate. Otherwise you’ll become what God calls an unstable, double minded person (James 1 v 8) because you refuse to make right choices. A double minded Christian will say, “I don’t want to leave my old friends but I want to go to a new destination. I don’t want to give up the world but I sure want all that God has for me. I don’t want to give up eating five doughnuts and drinking three cokes every day, but I would like to lose the extra kilograms.”
You have a dilemma here – it’s not going to work out well if you don’t learn to make the right choices. You need to choose to hang out with the new you. You may feel comfortable with your old ties, but you may never become the mighty man or woman that God intended you to be. You won’t be able to overcome an addiction to alcohol for example, whilst still hanging around your friends who drink. Many of us want to hang on to the long term relationships in spite of the fact that they aren’t beneficial and are actually detrimental. Are there people in your life with whom you need to dissociate? Has the Holy Spirit brought the names or pictures of people to your mind while you have been reading this? If you continue in these same old relationships, you will continue in the same old lifestyle and the same old negative mind-sets…and your same old health problems. If you want to take a hold of all God has for you and become the new you that God talks about in His Word, you have got to choose your friends wisely. Psalm 1 v 1 says not to sit inactive in the pathway of sinners. You will have to accept the fact that your desire to change will separate you from some old friends. All the old clichés are full of truth: AGAIN I ASK: IF THIS IS WHO WE ARE IN CHRIST – HOW ON EARTH CAN WE HAVE A LOW SELF ESTEEM??!!!
Birds of a feather flock together – If you sleep with dogs, you’ll get fleas – If you hang out with chickens, you’ll only stir up a little dirt.
God isn’t going to release you into His destiny and calling for your life, if you are hanging out with people who are sabotaging your destiny. So you have to decide, “Am I going to keep flapping with the chickens or am I going to fly with the eagles? Am I going to be a fryer or a flyer?” It’s always your choice. What is more important to you – accommodating the past or moving forward into the future? Pleasing God or pleasing my worldly friends?
Jesus said, “Do not think I came to bring peace on the earth, I did not come to bring peace but a sword.” (Matthew 10 v 34). Now Jesus is the Prince of Peace and He does give us inner peace (Isaiah 9 v 6; John 14 v 27). However, what He was saying in Matthew 10 v 34 is, “Now look guys, I did not come to compromise and make everything smooth and easy. I’ve come with a sword because in some situations you are going to have to cut off some stuff.” Are you going to follow somebody on the wrong bus going nowhere? When God’s call on your life is sending you to South Africa and your friends are going to Namibia to serve themselves, where will you go? I am not saying that you must not love them and lead them to Jesus. Of course you must do that. But they will never help you become the new you until they know God. Be a light to everyone you know, but don’t allow ungodly relationships to put your light out. Hang out with the new you!
Take the Next Important Step with me !