A precious person in my life speaks of himself negatively. Whenever he is asked about his personality traits or other characteristics, he will say something that is self injuring in its very essence. He is not physically cutting himself or other things that are traditionally self-harming, but his words are just as damaging.
I was brought up in a home where my folks were intentional with their words. When they were disappointed or even angry, they made sure to say the action or inaction taken was foolish or poorly planned. My brother and I were never told that our behavior was shameful, that we were stupid, or that our parents were somehow ashamed by our behavior. Not once. Not ever.
My precious person did not experience the same kind of home life. Although the basic things were given, the kind of love and support needed to thrive were missing. No “Atta boy” expressions, no celebrations when a goal was achieved. Instead, there was an unspoken sense of never quite measuring up. I do not think his folks meant to cause this feeling, but it was conveyed nonetheless.
That missing piece created a deep cavity from which this self deprecation grew.
Whenever I speak words of affirmation and encouragement to my precious person the words are swatted away. To quote the character Vivian Ward in Pretty Woman, “The bad things are easier to believe.”
Precious Ones, this is one of the enemy’s biggest tactics against God’s children. We may sing on Sunday, I’m no longer a slave to fear, I am a child of God,” but Monday morning or even Sunday evening, we don’t believe the kindness of our loved ones. If we doubt the truth spoken by our Heavenly Father, then we will remain in neutral or even move in reverse in our spiritual walk.
God calls us to a life of boldness and power because of the Holy Spirit within us. In 2 Timothy 1:6-10 Paul wrote to Timothy, reminding him that although he was young, he still had the full power of the Holy Spirit within him and to live accordingly.
“Therefore, I remind you to keep ablaze the gift of God that is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgment. So don’t be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, or of me His prisoner. Instead, share in suffering for the gospel, relying on the power of God. He has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began. This has now been made evident through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who has abolished death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel,” (HCSB).
Best Beloved, I do not know the kind of home life you had as a child. I do know that God has a power that cannot be surpassed, by us, by the enemy, by anything. His son, Jesus Christ, died and rose again to defeat even death itself, and we are called to live a victorious life. When we allow our past to seep into our lives we depreciate the value that God says we have through Christ.
Ephesians 1 is full of descriptions of who we are because of God’s love for us. God has blessed us in the heavenly reals with every spiritual blessing in Christ (v. 3). He chose us before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight (v. 4). He adopted us as his sons (and daughters) through Jesus Christ (v. 5). In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace (v.7).
Paul goes on in chapter 1 describing his hope and prayer:
I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come (v 18-21).
If this is the kind of power God has and His Holy Spirit power is within us, then our value in God’s eyes is priceless. We do not depreciate with time, due to the ill treatment of others, or even the poor image we have of ourselves.
We are victorious over our past because Jesus was victorious over the grave. We devalue that victory when we do not value our new life in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Best Beloved, our price tag says we cost Jesus’ life and death. We are precious and prized and valued and loved and treasured above all things in the eyes of God. May we also see this value when we look at ourselves. God loves us that much and we matter that much. Let us change our self deprecation into celebration for the love He has for us and live accordingly.