BECOMING EMOTIONALLY WHOLE
Part 3: THE FOUNDATION FOR HEALTHY EMOTIONS
Do you like the person you see in the mirror in the morning? Liking your self is directly related to self-image, and is not limited to your physical appearance.
Self image includes the total you, - personality, talents and abilities, accomplishments, desires and goals, and spiritual relationship with the Lord.
Your emotional health is rooted strongly in your self-image, as are your relationships with family members and friends.
Nearly all of your behavior is based on who you think you are and how you feel about yourself.
The Apostle Paul wrote an interesting statement to the Christians at Corinth.
1 Corinthians 15 :9 For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them--yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.
On the surface Paul appears to be putting himself down. He appeared to be saying “I am nothing, I am worthless”.
A closer reading reveals the exact opposite.
A. Paul had a very healthy self image.
This passage is part of an argument Paul is making to the Corinthians, who were arguing among themselves about whether they should heed Paul’s words or listen to other Prophets who had come to them with a different message.
In chapter 15, Paul reminds them that the gospel he had preached to them resulted in their salvation.
Christ died for our sins, was buried, and rose the third day as was witnessed by Peter, the apostles and more than five hundred followers of Jesus and then Paul himself.
In saying he was the least, he was saying he was the last among those he named to have witnessed the resurrected Christ, and of those named, he spent the least time with Christ.
But Paul says, “by the grace of God I am what I am”, which is an apostle, a born again believer in Christ, an ardent follower,
This statement from Paul reveals his strength of character and his strong self image.
He was simply stating facts about his life - that everything he did was in keeping with God’s saving grace.
Ultimately, your self image is linked to who you are in Christ. People that have no relationship with Christ will find it difficult to have a healthy self image.
If you have a relationship with Christ, you have accepted that God so loved you that he sent Jesus to die for your sins that you could have eternal life.
John 3:16 - "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Do you know with certainty today that
God loves you infinitely, unconditionally, and eternally.
God stands ready to forgive you of all your sins and trespasses against him and others?
Jesus Christ valued your life so much that he gave His life for you, that you might live forever with Him and the Father in Heaven.
You are transformed more and more into the likeness of Jesus Christ as the Holy Spirit works in and through your life.
If you can say yes to these questions you have a firm basis for a healthy self image.
Unfortunately, even people that believe Jesus
died for their sins
that God loves them
that they stand forgiven before God
and that they are being transformed into the perfection and wholeness of Jesus Christ
sometimes have difficulty loving themselves.
If God loves you - you should love yourself.
If God has forgiven you, you should forgive yourself.
If God says you are valuable, you are valuable.
If the Holy Spirit of almighty God is constantly at work in you, perfecting you, bringing you to a place of refinement and perfection.
Then surely you are a beloved, highly cherished child of God.
1 John 4:10-11 - In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent His son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
Col. 1:9-14 - We also, since the day we heard it do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good thing and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and long suffering with joy; giving thanks to the father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.
As Christians, our worth and self-image must flow from Christ Jesus. We are worthy because He declares us to be worthy.
II: PARENTAL INFLUENCE
A. A parents self image is a factor in their ability to communicate a healthy self image to their children. If you lack self esteem, chances are you parents have a less than healthy self image.
B. You can’t blame your parents though. You must take responsibility for your own self image. You can choose to believe the truth about what God says in His Word.
C. Even people with healthy self esteem face the challenge of a personal sin nature. This can be a major blow to self esteem.
D. We should not blame anyone else for the sinful nature we inherited as our birthright. We must accept full responsibility for our self-image
SIX HALLMARKS OF POSITIVE SELF IMAGE: The person with a good self image:
1. Is able to accept both the good and the bad in himself.
2. Is open to a relationship with God and with others.
3. Expresses love freely and willingly, but always within the constraints of God’s will.
4. Is willing to expose his innermost feelings and ideas.
5. Is confidant of God’s ability at work in and through his life (acknowledging that Gods is the source of all his ability and the One who reinforces and undergirds every effort)
6. Accommodates failures, learns from them,. and moves forward.
The person with positive self image sees that God - and future growth and development made possible by God - can more than make up for anything missing.
Phil. 4:8 - Whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy - meditate on these things.
2 Cor. 13:11 - Become complete. Be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you.
III. THINGS THAT DESTROY A GOOD SELF IMAGE - Your self image gives you a sense of worth, of value. When you have a good self image you are more willing to make yourself available to do God’s work. Therefore, it is vital not only for your sake, but also for the sake of the gospel, that you acquire a good self image in Christ Jesus.
1. The trap of guilt - Even after you have received God’s forgiveness of your sin nature, you have the potential to commit sin. Indeed, you DO sin…and with sin comes guilt.
You can develop a growing mountain of guilt. The more guilt you feel, the more you question How can God bless me? How can God use me????? Self image begins to disintegrate.
Guilt can immobilize you and make you ineffective. Continually ask God’s forgiveness, don’t accumulate guilt.
1 John 1:9- If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Romans 10:9-10 If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
2. The trap of over achievement - If you attempt to do it all - either because you are driven or you don’t trust others to help in a task, you run the risk of exhaustion. When you become exhausted you can become discouraged. Self image takes a blow.
a. Ask the Lord every day what He desires of you
b. Ask the Lord to help you readjust your priorities
c. Ask the Lord to help you manage your time
d. Ask the Lord to enlarge your ability.
e. Live one day at a time.
Eph. 2:8-10 - For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
Eccl. 9:1 - The righteous and the wise and their works are in the hand of God.
3. The trap of criticism - The need for others approval - It only matters what god thinks!
His approval is based on your desire to follow Him and live according to His commandments.
Not on - achievements
Don’t listen to people who continually knock you down - don’t give them power over you. Discern good counsel from criticism.
Romans 14:19 - Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.
2 Thess. 1:3 - We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of everyone of you all abounds toward each other
4. The trap of comparison - This is closely related to competitiveness. Not everyone can be number one all the time. You can’t always best everyone. Your value is not in inning and loosing. Whenever you are tempted to compare your accomplishments to someone elses, concentrate on doing your best.
Eph 2:19-22 - You are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
1 Thess. 4:11 - Aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you.
5. The trap of scriptural error - some read scripture in error or were taught scripture in error
Example: Luke 14:11 - “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” - some people have been taught that this means we should never receive a compliment or take credit for what we have done. Jesus was telling a parable to some who were invited to a party and were vying for the best seats at the dinner table. He taught that a better approach was to take a lesser position of honor. That way, the host had the opportunity to invite you to a better seat and honor you among those present. But if you were in the best seat the host might ask you to take a lesser seat and humble you.
This has nothing to do with self esteem.
The bible never tells us to deny the value that the Lord places upon us as His beloved children.
Phil. 2:3 is often taught in error it says “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself”
Some have been taught that you should always give way to others, saints and sinners alike
Paul was speaking directly to the body of Christ he wanted them to live in harmony and peace. In verse 4 he continues…Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. There is great balance in what Paul teaches.
We can be bold in denouncing evil and loving our brother and sisters in Christ without any form of self-deprecation or self hate.