Much has been said about the importance of cultivating a positive self-image. Many say self-confidence arises from our ability to self-love. Some even claim that it is necessary to love OURSELVES first, before any possibility of giving or accepting love can occur. But when did this SELF-CENTERED ideology arise? You may be surprised to hear it all began in the Garden of Eden.
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When God created Adam and Eve their focus was entirely on their Creator. They saw their bond as man and woman as an extension of self (one). They practiced an “upward and outward focus” (Souce: God’s Perspective When Life Hurts by Darlene Kordic). They were without sin.
But when the Devil/serpent tempted Eve and deceived her into eating the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, sin occurred and an awareness of self was birthed. Adam and Eve actually HID FROM GOD, aware of their nakedness they became self-conscious.
“But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Genesis 2:17 (NKJV)
Furthermore, their awareness of self led to feelings of shame, which then resulted in their blaming others for actions they should have claimed responsibility. They also became independent of each other.
And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?”
Then the man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.”
And the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”
The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
THIS IS WHEN issues of SELF arose, Self-confidence, Self-esteem, Self-love. This is also when and where we should reconsider our present day focus on self. Self-awareness was birthed out of sin. Ponder that fact for a moment. Our identity confidence should be found in CHRIST JESUS. We are co-heirs with Christ and we share the same Father. We are created in the image of God, who LOVES us with an unfathomable LOVE. He knit us together with special attention, selecting every trait, gene, talent, and gift we possess. Our confidence should be built on this fact. God LOVES His children.
“For the Lord will be your confidence, and will keep your foot from being caught.” Proverbs 3:26 (NKJV)
YOU have worth! YOU are a child of God! YOU are the adopted child of a heavenly King! That makes YOU royalty. YOU are special because there is no other like you.
When doubt of your value or worth causes you to waver in confidence, consider the immeasurable love Father God has for you. He gave His own son Jesus as a living sacrifice, and by His sacrifice you have been redeemed. There is no greater LOVE!
If mankind turned their focus upward…. finding their confidence in God, imagine the change it would make in this world. If mankind recognized they were “fearfully and wonderfully made,” exactly how God intended…. healing would occur. God is all knowing, all wise and perfect in His love. This truth should make the acceptance of facial features and physical disabilities much easier. God does not create junk. We are HIS masterpieces! He made us exactly how we need to be in order to fulfill His divine purpose and will for our life.
“For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.” Psalm 139:13-16 (NKJV)
When somebody urges you to focus on yourself, DO consider your health. Are you in need of rest or healing? God wants well-rested and healthy saints who can serve Him whole-heartedly. We are to be good stewards of our gifts and our earthly bodies. So find your rest and healing in God. Seek Him out in prayer and listen to His instruction.
Reflection is good, so is meditation. But our reflection and meditation should center on the works of God and the truths of the LIVING Word. Reflect on scriptures that speak of His love. Consider scriptures that reaffirm His plan for those pre-destined to live according to His good purpose.
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.” Romans 8:28-30 (NKJV)
Focus less on your woes and troubles and more on those around you. I do not suggest becoming so busy you neglect having time only with God or your relationship with Him. Rather, spend MORE time at the feet of Christ and see how your identity as a child of God heals your wounds, builds your confidence, and spurs you on to good works for His glory and the edification of the body of Christ.
“Jesus came to announce to us that an identity based on success, popularity and power is a false identity- an illusion! Loudly and clearly he says: ‘You are not what the world makes you; but you are children of God.” ~ Henri Nouwen