Every time I stand to minister I do a disclaimer. I say in part “the word that you are about to hear are not my words. It is the word that God has given to me for His people. May you receive it as such”. I am applying that same disclaimer to this blog post.
On the night of September 4th, the Spirit of the Lord spoke to me as I slept and instructed me to write a blog titled “the truth about self-image”. Then He said “it diminishes you”. I awoke to write what I had heard but was too groggy to make sense of it. How does one’s self-image diminish them? I went back to sleep figuring that the Holy Spirit would give me clarity in the morning, which He did.
Self-image or self concept is defined as the way a person sees or feels about him/herself. It is the mental image or picture that we hold about our abilities, appearance and personality, which can either be positive or negative. For example there are persons who see themselves as smart and beautiful, then there are those who see themselves as unintelligent and unattractive. Self-image also has to do with how we believe that others view us.
Our concept of self is usually shaped by our experiences as well as by what others have said to us about ourselves. If an individual is constantly criticized during the formative (early childhood) years, that individual will enter adulthood with a poor view of self. Other factors that shape our self concept include societal influence, mass media and entertainment. We are constantly being bombarded by advertisements, movies, music videos etc. where we see models, actors/actresses and flashy celebrity lifestyles and the tendency is there for us to compare ourselves to these people who appear to have it all. In recent times, quite a number of studies have emerged linking depression, poor self-esteem and even suicide to the social media influence.
With that said, what is this truth that God wants His people to know about self-image and what does He mean by “It diminishes you”?
What is God Saying?
Have you ever watched a movie and find yourself comparing your life with what you see on screen? Have you ever read a romance novel or heard a song and begin to secretly desire that your spouse was like the man or woman in the novel/song? Have you ever felt like you are not “good enough” because of something you were told as a child? Do you see yourself as a failure because your peers seem to be achieving more than you have at this stage in your life? I think we can all relate to this at some point or the other. There are many Christians who are silently struggling with feelings of low self worth and, if that is you, God has a word for you:
God wants you to know that how you see yourself is not based on reality, it is based on your perception of yourself. Your view of selfhas been influenced by what you’ve seen with your eyes, heard with your ears, and felt by way of your emotions. In other words self-image is not real; it is perceived.
I know that what I am about to say next may be shrugged off as mere conspiracy theory, but I pray that we will understand that it is not a theory, it is reality. Human beings have been (and continue to be) programmed by the demonic systems of this world. There are some very powerful men and women who control how we see life and how we feel about ourselves. The plan is that those who are “weak-willed” will become casualties and those who are ‘strong” will survive. Man’s concept of self has been tainted by a system designed to diminish his true value and control him. This is why as believers we must be transformed by the renewing of our minds. We have to be de-programmed from what we have been fed and have our minds renewed by the Word of God.
The Spirit of the Lord wants us to know that how we see ourselves is completely the opposite of how God sees us. I am reminded of the story in Judges 6. God called Gideon a “mighty man of valor (courage)” but that was not how Gideon saw himself. Our Father sees us, not based on where we are but based on who we are in Him. The Bible tells us that man was made in the image of God and that we are the crown (glory) of His creation (see Psalm 8). We are His masterpiece, His very own possession; His treasure. When we come to faith in Yeshua (Jesus), we become part of a royal priesthood and a holy nation. Yes! we are royalty! We are the righteousness of God in the earth realm. We are not illegitimate children, we are sons! May we begin to see ourselves as who we truly are!