Here’s a secret not many know or recognise to be true: it’s natural that we either don’t like ourselves or we don’t like bits of ourselves; important bits.
Don’t believe me? Talk to yourself about your lack of confidence in some situations; your anxiety; how you hate it when you don’t meet with others’ acceptance or approval. It’s not other situations or other people we’re really upset with when bad things happen; we turn those horrid things that happen to us inwardly. After all, a child blames him or herself for the fact his or her parents are divorcing. And why is that we can forgive others much easier than we can forgive ourselves.
Our biggest issue in our spirituality is our self-concept, and only God can heal of us of our own berating pressure on ourselves. We’d approve of ourselves if only we were a bit further along the road in our growth. But God loves us right now, even with all the sin we struggle with.
God wants us to know ourselves, and yet we can only know ourselves if we:
1. don’t run from ourselves
2. learn to depend on God enough to journey with Him
3. commit ourselves to a life of learning.
The invitation to the Christian life is not centrally about biblical or theological or ethical knowledge. It’s not about degrees or ministries or who we know or rub shoulders with. It’s not about what we can do or how much we can do or how well we can do it. It’s not about how long we’ve been Christian.
The invitation to the Christian life is a horrible journey none of us genuinely want to take, if we had a choice. It’s the character reformation that makes a disciple, not how well they pray. Christian character has nothing to do with spiritual gifts; indeed, it’s the spiritual gifts we glory in, in our pride. Christian character tests dash pride.
The reason we agree with God to endure the reformation of our character is we find ourselves in a place where we have no choice. Life brings us to this place; no place to run or hide.
The invitation to the Christian life is God’s summons to wrestle with life in a way that only works when we accept ourselves, because, if He loves us, who are we not to?
God knows this, and we should know it too. Life is about learning, and the type of learning life’s about is a learning we have to learn not to resent, because to resent it is what should be accepted. This character learning is the hardest learning, ever.
And when we know God knows us, and we know and accept ourselves, we notice that others know us well and accept us. We’re deeply sown into the midst of life in others’ lives.
We can accept ourselves we can love others, and only when we can love others are we truly Christian.
God loves you more than you do because you are lovable. Believe that and begin to live as He wills for you to live.
© 2016 Steve Wickham.