In the quiet and privacy of your own space how would you describe yourself?
As young children we begin to shape our world and our view of ourselves by the words others speak of us. We begin that crazy process of comparing ourselves to see how we fit in with others. It always seems that we focus on negative aspects of our differences, rather than thanking God for the differences. It is true of me. Is it true of you?
As young children we don’t begin to speak harshly to ourselves, but as we grow we can become so very critical of ourselves, and tell ourselves things we would never voice out loud to others. Hurtful things, judgmental things… words that do not breathe life, and hope and healing.
But God tells us that we are made in his image, wonderfully and fearfully designed, we are chosen, holy, blessed, made to reflect his Glory, made to shine.
“Do your own work well, and then you will have something to be proud of. But don’t compare yourself with others.” Galatians 6:4 (CEV)
Not only in the work you do, but how you look, dress, act, think. Comparison is a slow drain of life, and a limiting of your capacity. It is the enemy of our soul that delights when we choose look around, and try to measure up to others. He knows this will disable us. He knows we will draw defeating thoughts, and we will allow toxic thoughts to shut us down. And the bible is clear that out of what is in our heart our mouth speaks, and our feet follow.
We can be like horses, putting on blinders so we cannot look to the right or left. But that is not possible or practical.,
So what is the answer?
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. – Phillipians 4:8
Weigh the thoughts you have against this passage and you will begin to see that the enemy works in opposition to the ways of God.
- Does what i am thinking, hearing, sensing have truth to it? If it does, take heed, but if it does not, cast it aside.
- Is what i am thinking Noble? That is to say, does it have or show fine personal qualities or high moral principles and ideals?
- Is it right? We all have hardwired into our soul an insight into what is right and what is wrong. And as believers the holy spirit is there to gently clarify this for us too. Is the action, thought or behavior correct? is it moral? or does it break down morality and ethics in some way? If it breaks down anything, cast it aside.
- Is it pure? Like being right, pure indicates untaited by the pollution of the world, of corrupt thoughts, or of worldly ways. Are your thoughts wholesome? I think we have all encountered someone who speaks to get attention, but everything they say has a smarmy undertone, sexual inuendo, or quiet disbelief. Are your thoughts, actions and ways pure? Not motivated by some hidden adjenda?
- Is it lovely? Does it bring up beauty, hopefulness, encouragement?
- Is it admirable? Does how you act, think, live make others want to have your life, or follow in your example? I think of a friend going through cancer who shows such strength, and deep faith in God during this time. If i am to compare, i want to have that kind of faith that will withstand the hurricane of cancer.
- Is it excellent? That implies thoughts and actions that are the best…. highest quality, and there is no better you can go.
- Is it praiseworthy? Do others want to give praise to god for you, because of your actions, thoughts, or choices in life?
So what if you went down the list and had things that don;t measure up? What do you do with them?
1. Pray, confess them to God
2. Ask God to give you a different way of looking at it, thinking about it, or acting.
3. Change what you are exposed to. I find when i watch too much TV i grow very critical of myself, and of all the shortcomings of us versus TV. it is irrational, but i think we can all say that from early age peer pressure, and the idea of keeping up with the jones has been in operation. I am asking God to break that pattern, but for me it means turning off the TV.It could be people, places or things that take you in wrong directions.
4. Allow God to flood your soul with his word. Spend regular time with God daily.
5. Fill your heart and mind with God’s Word – Memorize a verse a week, or a passage a month. Hiding the word of god in your soul will store up good things to think on, like deep cool water on thirsty days.
6. Listen to edifying things – whether music, tv, movies, or people, make a conscious choice to only allow good things into your soul.
7. Share encouraging things with others. Reach out even when it is uncomfortable, and give what you have to others… often your kind words will be the only ones someone hears that day.
So I ask you today, how do you describe yourself? Are you the daughter or son of a king, blessed, called, chosen, royal priesthood, bought with a precious price, treasures of grace, loved by the best? I hope you realize this today.