It is amazing the different shades of images that people have of themselves. Whether it is openly spoken, or quietly thought out in the recesses of the mind, most people think of themselves as less than what God purposed you to be.
People say or think things such as: “I’m not really bright, I am unloved and nobody cares about me.”
“I can’t amount to anything, because of the mental and physical abuse I’ve been exposed to in my life.”
I’ve been born into the wrong family. I can never get out of the rut that I am in.”
“I am a failure in life. I’ve made so many mistakes in my life – I don’t think God will ever forgive me. I am unworthy.
“No one really understands me. Life has no meaning at all…” And the list goes on.
The sad reality is that most people don’t know that there is an alternative perspective to one’s life. Even Christians who have made Jesus Christ as Lord of their lives do struggle in living their life of faith.
The fact is, our outlook towards life have been shaped by centuries of teaching, philosophies, ideas and expectations of other people, that are contrary to what the Bible teaches what we are as God intended us to be.
For as long as we remain ignorant of God’s truth about ourselves, then life will hold no hope for the future, or Christians will continue to live unfulfilled lives.
In the Old Testament Book of Jeremiah 29:11, the Bible says: “For I know the thoughts I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
If you go further back to the first book in the Bible, you will find in Genesis chapter one it gives you the biblical world view about creation and especially the creation of humankind. At the end of this chapter you will find these words: “Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good.” (v.31). Now let’s look at what does God say about you.
First, God says, you are “very good.” The Bible says that God created humankind in his image and in his likeness, and he said we were not just good, but very good! Oh, how far we have moved away from this truth, and lost the revelation of who we are and what we were created to be.
We have gone so far away from our biblical foundations, that some have decided men are accidents of evolution – just some kind of animal that evolved from nature accidentally. And when you don’t know your purpose and your creator, you tend to live your life like animals – far below your potential in God.
So we see the current condition of societies throughout the world today. People don’t like themselves, because they don’t really know who they are. And because they don’t like themselves, they don’t like anyone else around them.
The fact is, if you get back to knowing who you are and what God says about you, if you will believe what God says more than what society says, more than what the government or educators say, then and only then will you rise to your full potential, and experience your God-given destiny. Believe what God says about you!
Some religions will actually tell you, that you are nothing but a worm, or a dog. They heap condemnation on you. But God’s word, the Bible, says to you: “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4.16).
It’s time for you to start thinking and believing who God says you are in Christ: His child! It’s time you carry yourself with a sense of destiny and dignity. It’s time you took your place, as a person who has been given dominion over the circumstances of your life. People haven’t known who they are, so they’ve lived below their God-given potential.
The second thing God says about you is that “everything is under my feet.”
The Bible says in the book of Psalms 8.4 & 6: “What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You should visit him? … You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands, You have put all things under his feet.”
Now that is what Scripture says about an individual who believes in God’s Son, Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, most people are living their lives under the fear and depression and discouragement of the world.
People are living under the economy, under government, under circumstances, under challenges and difficulties. The Bible says that you are supposed to be standing on top of these things, for God has “put all things under your feet.”
It is an amazing fact that how you think, truly affects how you live.
If you think, “I’m the victim of circumstances,” then you often are.
Similarly, if you think, “I’ve been created by God and all things are under my feet,” then they often are.
Dead religion may tell you to, “Love God and love your neighbour, but hate yourself because you are unworthy.” And this can cause us to have a self-inflicted hatred of our person, and that in turn causes difficulties for us when it comes to loving God and loving our neighbour. You see, loving God and hating yourself, or loving your neighbour and hating yourself is a contradiction.
But if you can grasp what God says to us: “You are my son. You are my daughter. I have created you in my image, in my likeness. You can have dominion over this earth. All you have to do is love me, and love yourself, and love your neighbour,” if you can grasp that, then you can start believing in everyone around you. The book of Proverbs 23.7 says, “As he (man) thinks in his heart, so is he.” The truth is, you have been made and purposed by God to be very good, and in Christ, he has put all things under your feet.
The third thing God says about you is that: you have to remove all your limiting thoughts.
The Bible says: “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.” (Isaiah 55.7).
To return to the Lord is to forsake our thoughts. Our thoughts always lean toward limiting ourselves in our abilities, in our talents, in our gifts, limiting our faith and so on. Jesus Christ has already declared that, “I have come that you might have life and have it more abundantly.” (Gospel of John 10.10).
It is not enough for us to say “amen” to new revelation and understanding. We must forsake our thoughts and accept God thoughts. The Bible says in Isaiah 55.8-9, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways,” says the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.”
When we get God’s thoughts, we also get God’s ways. For as long as you hang on to your negative thoughts about yourself, and the world around you, you will stay stuck in your ways. But when you forsake those thoughts, and get God’s thoughts, then you get God’s ways.
You need to realise that the thoughts of the world are very subtle.
They never come marked in red, saying, “Warning! Warning! This is an ungodly thought!” They come disguised as insights or revelations. That’s the way our spiritual enemy, Satan, works. He begins to work on your subconscious mind and into your conscious mind, until you start believing the untruth about yourself.
You might say, “But I don’t have much education.” That’s fine, let’s just look for some successful people who have had very little education.
You might say, “My age plays a limiting factor in my success.” All right, let’s look for people of your age group that have achieved greatly in their careers. “I’m too heavy.” OK! Let’s look for overweight people who have made a success of life.
The truth is, people can tell you that you are unworthy, or you will never amount to much, but that is not what God says about you.
Sure, we’ve all behaved badly and displayed negative attitudes.
But God never stops seeing you as valuable and precious, worthy to die for. We read earlier from Jeremiah 29.11 that God’s thoughts toward us is one of peace and not evil, to give us a future and a hope. So God is thinking well of you. He is not looking to put you down. He wants to give you a future and a hope.
Let me ask: What are your thoughts about you? When you think about yourself, or your spouse, or your family, or your neighbour, or your business, or your career, is it with the thoughts of God? Or with the thoughts you picked up from others and the world?
You will have God’s higher peace and his higher way of life when you have his higher thoughts.
We have run out of space so we will continue this discussion next time.
Enjoy your weekend, stay safe - and how about taking the time to read the Bible?
Pastor Tevai Matapo,