I am who God says I am. Period.
In a world that tries to cheapen life by exalting what is on the outside, I must constantly renew my mind with God’s thoughts about me. I claim the spiritual identity given me in Christ.
Our confidence is not in our own accomplishments and self-esteem but in what God esteems about us. As parents, we can give our children the immeasurable gift of knowing who they truly are and to whom they truly belong! Here are a few foundational Scriptures to remember when we are feeling less than up to the world’s standards:
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him" (Jn 3:16–17 ESV). You are so loved, God chose to give you the greatest gift ever given. God loved you enough that he came to earth to die in your place to give you eternal life with him. It is the perfect picture of God's sacrificial love.
"But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved" (Eph 2:4–5 ESV). Our sin is not an obstacle to God and his enduring love for us. Through his love, we are given a new life that transforms us from the inside out. God's grace for us reorients our hearts to be able to love others.
So often we look for acceptance in all of the wrong places. We will exchange our very souls for love. Scripture says there is no greater love than that of someone willing to die for another. And this is what the Savior has done for us! We can remain safe and secure in his arms, fulfilled by his love. We can make wise choices when armed with the depth of His love for us. We are less likely to lower our standards in order to receive others' approval when we are confident in his love. We can live according to the audience of One rather than striving to obtain the approval of a system that says that we are worthless unless we conform to its rules and regulations. This is why Romans 12:2 is so important to Christians.
"Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect" (Rom 12:2 NLT).
We must think about ourselves the way that God thinks about us. He believes that we are so valuable that He would trade the life of His Son in order to win us back!
"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well" (Ps 139:14 NIV).
The world screams that we must do whatever it takes to be the perfect human specimen. “Paint yourself. Inject yourself. Starve yourself.” They bombard with touched-up pictures that manufacture an unobtainable perfection as a standard we must all strive to attain. Therefore it is good to be reminded that we have a Creator who has called us wonderful. We are his workmanship (Eph 2:10)! He has lovingly designed each of us and has called us “good!” He has chosen us to be his dwelling place, His temple!
As such, we need to take good care of our bodies but without allowing our outer appearance to become an idol or distraction from those things for which He has created us. We are “…created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Eph 2:10). Our purpose is to glorify him in the everyday and walk out the good works that he has prepared for each of us before we were even born! It is our purpose in him that adorns us with lasting beauty.
"In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Rom 8:37–39 ESV).
One of the most beautiful aspects of Christianity is that the victory is already won. Nothing and no one can take this away from us! But we must evaluate winning the way Heaven does. Two thousand years ago, it did not appear that Jesus won on the cross. On the contrary, it looked like he had lost. Notice this verse states “In all these things,” naming all sorts of challenges. We still go through struggles. In the world’s eyes, we may even appear to be failing, but Romans 8:28 proclaims that “all things work together for our good.” If death has no hold on us as believers, then what can possibly cause our failure? If we live and walk according to his statues and experience great success in our lives, we win! If we die, boldly proclaiming that we are victorious in all things because of Christ’s victory over death, we win! It’s truly the epitome of a win-win situation.
When our confidence is in his love, his approval, and his victory, it changes how we perceive ourselves and the world around us. If our children know that they are loved and considered precious by him, how much easier it will be to not give in to peer pressure. If they learn to measure their beauty not by their outer appearance, but by the good works that their creator prepared for them, then their beauty will be something that can never be stolen from them. If their victory is found in Jesus conquering sin and death then their confidence will not wane because of a lost game or poor report card. Just like every other parenting technique, the best way to start injecting this heavenly identity in them is to claim and model this belief system by adhering to it yourself!
Rev. Jason Ruis
Rev. Dr. Steven Koster