“I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself.”
1 Corinthians 4:3
For so long I didn’t like myself. I had a very bad relationship with myself. The lies of people and the devil had me convinced I was a person whom I was not. God was telling me one thing, yet, hateful people and demonic forces were telling me something completely different. Oh, but it didn’t end there!
To compound my self-loathing, my unrenewed mind caused me to speak ill of myself about myself to myself. I believed a huge lie: I’M MY OWN WORST ENEMY.
Positive self-talks did not come from any part of my mind. My old, stinking thinking–which was trained by way of cruel people and dark forces–caused me to believe I was worthless. In turn, my relationship with myself suffered greatly.
I thought that getting married would fix this. Nope. Not even close. Having my daughter? No, that didn’t fix my incorrect opinion about myself either. Maybe working harder than anyone else I knew? If I could just become successful financially then my evaluation of myself would be positive!…Nah. Another dead end.
“What’s it going to take for me to like being around myself?! I know, church! I’ll start going to church, and then I’ll like me!”
Yeah freaking right. What I got there was not what I needed–not at that church anyway. I was being taught how bad of a person I was. I was being taught, “Repent! Respect the House of God! Don’t you dare question Pastor!”
I was looking for some unconditional love and relief, but instead I was told, “You ain’t livin’ right! A godly man would get his house in order!”
“I’m trying! That’s why I’m here!…Forget this. I don’t need this crap.” Little did I know, God didn’t want me to try, He wanted me to rest. He wanted me to learn who I really was inside, and then enjoy living my life according to this truth.
I tried another church, and all they did there was brag on how big their church was and how I had to give them money if I wanted God to truly take care of me. “You gotta give back to God what He has loaned you, that’s a minimum! Stay hungry and give above the tithe in order to be blessed beyond your wildest dreams!” We even chanted parts of this.
They made my loving Heavenly Father out to be a loan shark. That place preached church, not Jesus. Jesus was just a little add-on now and again, especially around the holidays. They constantly boasted on how “influential” their church was rather than on what Jesus had done for me. I was being taught church. I was being taught “praise the pastors,” rather than praise Christ’s finished work.
Striving to enjoy my relationship with myself eventually drove me to numb my feelings about myself. Drinking, many different hobbies, and even getting in good shape was all out of balance as I grasped for straws. Each day, I woke up not looking forward to being around…me.
“GOD! WHY DO I HAVE SUCH A BAD OPINION OF MYSELF?!”
He replied, “Because you don’t know the truth about yourself. Matthew, you are going to have to understand my opinion of you, only then will you see how valuable you are.”
“But I still mess up so much!”
“I know, but you are not messed up. Your choices and thoughts might be off, but you’re not. I live in you and you are my masterpiece. Your spirit is perfect, just like me.”
… … …Crickets. You could hear crickets. “Wha…?” I said with a squint. “How’s that possible? The pastor of that church said if I’m still sinning, I’m not really saved. So how can you say I’m spiritually perfect?”
“I’ll show you. Be patient and trust what I say about you.”
This was going to take some serious convincing on God’s part. However, as I grew deeper into the knowledge of His grace, our relationship began to flourish! The Holy Spirit of God started to reveal who I truly was inside! At first, I didn’t believe Him.
“Father, how can I be so infinitely loved and cherished by you when my actions and attitudes are so terrible?”
“Me.” Jesus cut in and said. “What I did for you is your answer. I’m the how, and I’m the why.”
Jesus began to expunge the thoughts I had about His sacrifice not being good enough! He started to delete, one by one, the ideas in my mind about how I must earn my spot with God–and worse, sustain my spot with God!
“Yep! I took care of that sin for you too!” Jesus continued, “Yeah, that one as well. Stop focusing on sin. Focus on your true self. Matt, remember who I’ve made you to be, perfect in your spirit. You can’t change this so stop worrying about it. Just be yourself.”
“Just be myself?! How can you say that?!”
“Because I know who you are. You are good, like me.”
“But that sounds like some sort of blasphemy mumbo-jumbo! How can I say I’m good like you?!”
“Because I live in you, because I’ve given you a brand new spirit, and because I’ve joined you in your spirit. It will take time, but I’ll teach you more about this as we live together. I’m giving you eternity to understand who you are. Just believe me.”
Day by day, Jesus’ Spirit was educating me on what He’s done for me and in me. My opinion about myself was slowly changing. The chess match between Satan and me was over. “Checkmate.” I NOW KNEW WHO I WAS–and he knew that I knew. Hell was officially in a lot of trouble.
Even when people tried to un-convince me of who I was inside, it didn’t work. I believed God. Try all they liked, even I couldn’t convince myself that I was a bad person any longer–Jesus wouldn’t let me! I was being trained by the Spirit of God! IT WAS AMAZING! IT STILL IS AMAZING!
I was learning how to separate my who from my do! I finally understood that my behavior–good, bad, or indifferent–could not change my identity!
Was God being naive with this plan? No way! God is pretty smart! He knew that we are going to act like who we think we are–the devil knows this too! That’s why God decided to make us spiritually perfect for good, for free, forever! All we have to do is believe He’s forgiven us through Jesus–and we are! THAT’S THE GOSPEL! THAT’S YOUR IDENTITY! Christian, you are a spiritually spotless, heaven-ready saint!
Through the revelation of this truth, the tide had changed in my relationship with myself. I began to like myself–a lot. Not in an arrogant way, but in a way which reflects the fact that if God says I’m infinitely loved and valuable, then who am I to say I’m not? I finally learned how to take a compliment. I stopped insulting myself to look better. False humility was out the door. I knew the truth of who I was, and now my mission was to gracefully convince others that God had done the same in them–or that He will, for free, if you want Him to.
So today, my friends, know this: God wants you to have an enjoyable relationship with yourself. Everywhere you go, you are there, so you may as well get along with you. If you are harder on yourself than even your Creator is, stop that. You don’t deserve that. Be nice to you, forgive you, and love you. You are learning and growing each day into the familiarity of who you really are! God only has good things to say about you, so why not agree with Him? Why not say good things about yourself? After all, it’s the truth! The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit would all three agree!
A prayer for you: Heavenly Father, I want to thank you for opening my eyes to the truth of my identity. For so long, I focused on my mistakes, but you wanted me to focus on my true self! Paul said, in 1 Corinthians 4:3, that he wasn’t even worried about PEOPLE judging him because he didn’t even judge himself! HOW AWESOME IS THAT?! He was so fixated on his spiritual perfection that when he made a mistake, he brushed it off like a fly on his arm. Teach us how to do the same! Right now, I lift up all who are reading this, directly to you. So many of them don’t like themselves, and I know exactly how they feel. They’ve believed the lies of people and the devil, and their minds need to be renewed to the truth. Help them begin to do this today! Reveal who they are! Reveal that they are perfectly loved Sons and Daughters of God! In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.
This devotional is from 60 Days for Jesus, Volume 3. Get your copy here!