Lately, I have been going through a series by J. Hampton Keathley III called Marks of Maturity: Biblical Concept of Christian Leadership, it has really heed me think through some of my thoughts. However, the chapter that has really helped me recently is chapter 3 which in the title of this entry A Biblical concept of oneself. When I got on to write this was looking at some of my drafts that didn’t make it to the published side. One those entries is called inferiority complex. Something I can struggle with in my christian walk is how I view myself which usually isn’t how the Bible says that God sees me. The study is quite long but I’ll share the things that really impacted me or greats points he makes.
“For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.”
– Romans 12:3 NIV
This scripture tells us to not think that we are not to think of ourselves as if we the best thing that has ever Wales on earth but to really look at ourselves as God sees us. What women hasn’t struggled with her image? Her worth? Her characteristics? I’m sure everyone has at one point but the beautiful thing is that we need to think of ourselves with SOBER judgement which means a real look at who we are and where we want to be. Better yet, where God wants us to be. If we have the right thoughts about God, we’ll have a right view about ourselves. On the oher hand, if we don’t like who we are, we will have the crazy notion that no one like us either. That’s a sad mental state to be in because it can paralyse yourself, your ministry and the relationships around your (friends, family, etc). That mentality will put your further in isolation and selfishness and as Christians we need to consistently pour ourselves out (deny ourselves) as mentioned in Luke 9 : 23. If we live in a state of self hatred and hating others, we will focus on our own personal strength and not on the strength tat God provides us with and when failures come around it becomes a huge hindrance in the Christian walk. God has made us able to accomplish his plan into reality.
“Such confidence we have through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant…”
– 2 Corinthians 3:4-6 NIV
If we focus on what people think about us, we’ll never really get anywhere past of what the limitations people will give us. You don’t want to be a slave to the opinions of people but be fully confident that God has equipped you and made you competent. I love what Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 2:4 & 6,
“On the contrary, we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts. We were not looking for praise from people, not from you or anyone else, even though as apostles of Christ we could have asserted our authority.” NIV
Paul had the mindset that he could honestly care less what the people thought about him because he was confident in his calling and how God saw him. Paul didn’t measure success by men’s standards but by God’s grace which helped him to be grateful and work harder.
“But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.”
– 1 Corinthians 15:10 NIV
Paul also knew the danger of measuring up to men’s standard, instead of God’s. When you look at men to set your standard and give you approval, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Not only that, it’s sinful because you’re idolizing people.
“We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise. But, ‘Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.’ For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.”
– 2 Corinthians 10:12, 17-18 NIV
Keathley gives a list of what false standards lead to which are:
- False motives – Philippians 1 : 17
- Guilt, frustration, depression – 1 Thessalonians 2 : 4 – 6
- Feeling of pride and false success – 1 Timothy 3 : 6
- Fear of failure and not wanting to go for the ministry – 2 Timothy 1 : 6 – 7
- Self deprecation with the belief that we aren’t good enough
Falso standards -> false feelingso of significance
He continues to say that all those attributes lead to “handicapped people who are divisive and unloving because they compete with others and themselves for a sense of significance” and become defensive, argumentative and fearful. Have you ever been a person who is defensive, argumentative and fearful? I have and that was because I allowed my emotions to keep a hold of me and not rely on the word of God for the truth.
A mature believer… (From Keathley)
- Act on the truth in their identity in Christ
- Rest and act on God given abilities
“There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.”
– 1 Corinthians 12:4-6 NIV
- Act on God’s purpose and nature for this life
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
– Ephesians 2:10 NIV
To summarise what I learned from this lesson is that if I know who I am in Christ, I will act accordingly regardless of the response or success of others because I know of where I am going. Jesus knew who he was and where he was going that he did not really care for the negativity of the people of the leaders of the time. It’s always about the cross and our relationship with God. You should only measure yourself with Jesus and not other people because their sense of measurement is broken. God knows you more than anyone and even yourself and he has really made you one of a kind with gifts and talents! Find out what those are and excel in them and be okay with your weaknesses.
“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.”
– Psalm 139:13-14 NIV