Self-condemnation is deflating. Have you ever had someone compliment you or praise you but then you walk away and say, “Yeah, but they don’t know me.” And then when others don’t compliment or praise us, we ask, “Why don’t people notice me?” Have you ever had someone tell you, “I would complement you, but I don’t want you to get the big head?”
We measure ourselves by others but are unaware that others measure themselves by us. “Oh, I wish I were as pretty as she is.” But she does not think she is pretty. “Oh, I wish I were as confident as he is.” But we do not know the struggles he has with a lack of self-confidence. “Oh, I wish I were as smart as he is.” But we do not know how much time he puts into study, and he still thinks he is inadequate. “Oh, I wish my family were like theirs.” But we do not know the struggles they face in their marriage, with their kids or financially. We make superficial judgements based on what we see. Doing that, we will always be less than the other person.
But here is the good news. I am not measured by you, nor you by me. I am measured by God. God defines me, not others. I do not even define myself. Listen to how God looks at His children. “The Lord God is in your midst, the Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness. He will quiet you with His love. He will rejoice over you with singing” (Zeph. 3:17). That simply means God jumps up and down with joy over us. Well, if God is jumping up and down over me, then why am I jumping on myself? Get off!
Listen again, “They shall be Mine,’” says the Lord of hosts. On the day that I make them My jewels. And I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him” (Malachi 3:17). Did you see that? God calls us His jewels. How do you treat special jewelry? Do you trash it? No, we cherish it. Well, God prizes, treasures us. So, stop trashing yourself. Also, notice, “As a man spares his own son….” How do you feel about your children? Do you despise them? Do you talk down to them? Do you replay all the negative things about them? No, we don’t. Then why would we do that to ourselves?
Listen again, Paul prayed that the Ephesians may know, “that the riches of the glory of God’s inheritance in His saints” (Eph. 1:18). Did you read that? God’s people are the glory of the riches of His inheritance. God’s people are not nobodies. God’s people are somebodies! Then, let’s live like it. Inheritance speaks about something that is gifted, not earned. God places His inheritance in His people. We did nothing to deserve it, but He graced us with His love and made us His inheritance. God’s people are the prize God gets out of this experiment of calling many sons to glory. Don’t demean God’s inheritance.
Now look at this. Yes, we have flaws. Others do not know our flaws. But flaws and all, God forgives us, jumps up and down and sings rejoicing over us. He calls us His jewels. We are the riches of the glory of His inheritance. God knows us. He knows our flaws and yet He still sees us this way. So how should I see myself? The same way God sees me. God defines me. I do not define me. Others do not define me. God defines me.
by Rickie Jenkins