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The world is full of messages about self.

You deserve it
You’re worth it
Take care of yourself
Pamper yourself
Love yourself

“Love your neighbor as yourself.” Mark 12:29

I have heard it taught concerning this passage that Jesus assumes we know we already love ourselves a lot – we are self-focused and self-centered and that we should apply the same energy and time we spend on ourselves on loving other people.

Questions

(Apart from the obviously idolatrous worship of self the world revolves around) Does this mean loving myself, as Christ loves me, is wrong? And if it is wrong, how am I supposed to view myself? Most of the teachers I read say something like this:

We are depraved creatures who, apart from the grace of God are nothing. In light of His glory we are worthless. (Or at least that is how is sounds to me.) I have embraced these teachings because it seems good to make much of God and not to make much of me. A Christ-centered gospel is good. A man-centered gospel is bad. I believe this!

But, I am wrestling with the every day battle that wars inside my soul. When I sin (regardless if I repent or not) I feel defeated. I feel that with each new sin I chip away at God’s grace for me and that He sees me as predictable and a failure. This makes me run away from Him for obvious reasons.

Then I think of the prodigal son. The father ran to him when he was a long way off, gave him the robe, the ring and the fattened calf. But what happened when he messed up again, 2 months after the big feast? What then? Was the father exasperated with the wayward, sin-prone son? Did He give up on him?

What about the woman at the well? Did she go back to her lover? Did she leave him only to shack up with another man years later? Did Jesus still love her or was he just disappointed in her failures?

So when Christ forgives me, cleanses me, and his Spirit indwells me, am I still bad and worthless?

How am I supposed to view myself? I am loved by the Creator God, redeemed by His son’s blood, indwelt and empowered by His Holy Spirit…but yet worthless, dirty and depraved? I can’t reconcile this.

“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

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26

Accepted

The best example I see in scripture is Peter. He failed, repented and was redeemed. He was changed. He now KNEW that God loved him more deeply than he had imagined – historians document the rest of his life as a life of dedication to the gospel and renunciation of self – I think because of his complete abandon to a life bathed in the unconditional love of Christ.

It seems to me easier to forge ahead in my life secure in the fact that I will be completely loved regardless of how many times I fall down!

Cleaned Up

There is so much pressure in today’s evangelical world to look “cleaned up.” My life might be a wreck on the inside but on the outside everyone sees a shiny, happy Amy. If I don’t show this false self to the world, who needs Christ, then I run the risk of “hurting my witness.” The potential guilt of leading someone away from Jesus and on to hell is too much for me – so sometimes I fake it. Yes, I said it 🙂

When a hurting, lost and dying world perceives that I have no problems and am “all cleaned up” is that attractive? Do they want Christ more when I present a false self? I am convinced they do not.

In my experience, the people I encounter feel the need to pretend to be like the false self I am portraying! They guard their speech and never really let me see their inner lives and struggles – that is until they see that I struggle too.

I have come to the conclusion that if Satan is the father of lies, then being someone I am not, even if it looks good, must be evil.

“I am the way, the truth and the life…” John 14:6

I am convinced that I cannot hate my fallen, sinful, depraved self and have a vibrant relationship with God. Self-hatred is self-centeredness that draws me away from God and toward the things of this world. I don’t know what this looks like but I am going to begin by going to my Father and believing that His love for me is bigger than my sin and my mistakes. I am going to believe that

He is not shocked by my failures and He is not deterred in His pursuit of me.

…”being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” Phil 1:6

I want to live like I am utterly loved and accepted and nothing can rob me of that – even my own sin.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39

Maria (seated in dad’s lap) was tragically killed today.
Praise You Father that you are Jehovah-Shammah, The Lord is There, & Jehovah-Rophe,The Lord Who Heals. We will see you soon!

Meet Maria

Maria and Steven: “Cinderella, The Story of Daddy and His Princess”

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