It’s easy to think wrongly about who we are. For many of us, our view of self can stem from a pride of thinking more highly of ourselves than we ought to think. Others of us, however, may struggle with thinking more lowly of ourselves than we should. Our self-perception becomes entirely shaped by our failures – real or perceived – rather than being shaped by what God says about us. This can lead us down a path of self-hatred.
Counselor Todd Stryd writes of this issue for CCEF:
Self-hate’s strategy is subtle, and calculated. It takes advantage of one of the most fundamental things about us—our social nature. Relationships are our life context. People are our environment. We live before the eyes of others, and they live before ours. We take our cues from them, and they from us. We evaluate, and we are evaluated. We size up, and are sized up. We compare, and we are compared. Within our desperate striving to be “ok”, “acceptable,” “adequate,” “legitimate,” “worthwhile,” and “satisfactory,” self-hate spins a seductive lie—our thoughts about others and their thoughts about us are the ones that really count. We are tempted to believe this and live out of it.
Thankfully, this is not the true arrangement of things. We do not live in a world where our evaluation of ourselves and others is ultimate. God is there. God, too, is our environment and we also live before his eyes. We live before the maker and sustainer of all things. We live before the one who has absolute authority. He, too, evaluates and sizes up. He declares and announces reality.
The rest of Stryd’s article lays out the biblical realities that determine a Christian’s identity. If you have the chance, take a minute and give it a read.
Who we are is not determined by other people, it’s not determined by what we think of ourselves, nor our performance, achievements, or anything else we can take credit for – in Christ, the Father says to us, as He said to Jesus, “This is my beloved [child], with whom I am well pleased” (John 3:17).
While God is faithful to change hearts and minds in the lives of His children, we also understand that change is a process, and often times far from simplistic or quick. Habits of life and thinking tend to change over time as the Holy Spirit works in hearts. This process of change is called “progressive sanctification.” It can be helpful and sometimes necessary to seek help from other Christians who can faithfully lead and walk with us, providing biblical encouragement and instruction along the way for the implementation of God-honoring, Christ-centered change. If you are struggling with life’s challenges, we would encourage you to seek help from your pastor, a godly friend, or a biblical counselor who is committed to seeking answers from God’s Word. To find a biblical counselor you can contact us or visit biblicalcounseling.com to find a counselor in your area.
Born and raised in the Dallas area, Ryan loves calling Texas his home. He met his wife Jessica at Grace Bible Fellowship Church, where he serves on staff and is a counselor for Grace Biblical Counseling Ministries. Since 2013 he has been a member of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, and in May 2015 he graduated from Moody Bible Institute with a B.S. in Ministry Leadership.