If ever asked the question, “How do you see yourself?” I often wonder how I would answer such a question. At face value, it seems broad, but at the heart of it, a deep self-reflection would need to occur. I would dare to think that this question would elicit different answers as people at every stage of their lives wrestle with how they see themselves.
One thing I do enjoy to do in my spare time is working out at the gym. I mention this because one thing I notice despite whether I am working out at my home gym or a gym on vacation is that the behavior of people tends to be the same. The gym typically consists of people doing cardio, lifting weights, drinking supplements, waiting at the protein bar, and most of all after each set lifting their shirts, checking out their abs, flexing their quads, or even posing. Of course, I would never say I am not guilty of any of these personally, but what it started to make me think about is the correlation between how we look and how we feel about ourselves. Being flooded with what ads and commercials of what society would deem as the ideal physical characteristics to have, it is no wonder the supplement industry is at $37 billion a year.
As I look over at the refrigerator and see a drawing from my son, to the average person looks probably like just a sheet of paper with a scribble on it. It is by no means a Picasso in the eyes of many, but to me it is a work of art, in fact, a masterpiece which is priceless. It is overwhelming to know that despite what lens we may see ourselves in, our Father in heaven is the ultimate artist who views us as His Masterpiece. Paul tells us in Ephesians 2:10:
“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”
An individual can train as much as they want, taking all the supplements money can buy, but physical change is the only thing that will come about. It is through the work of God’s love that real transformation can take place.
It is always refreshing to know that the dark stains that represent the mistakes and sins we have committed once plaguing the canvas of our lives are used by God as a background in His work to highlight not only his love but for his glory and purpose for us. The restoration process requires us to be brutally honest with not only oneself but also the Father. Scripture reminds us in Hebrews 4:13 “nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable.”
It is so beautiful to know that God can see everything, He cannot be misled, we cannot leave anything out, and we cannot keep anything from him, yet He restores us because He loves us.
Often when it is hard to think that I can have a purpose for God or be restored, it takes a reminder from the Holy Spirit that some “heroes” of the Bible are those who had sin in their lives, to say the least. I even read an author put it as would have been voted “most unlikely to succeed” by some of their family members.
- Abraham: “Father of Faith;” lied to save himself, doubted God several times
- Moses: Pride led to a murder; lack of faith produced sinful doubt; led people out of slavery and people to edge of The Promise Land
- Rahab: Prostitute but protected the Israelites who came to her city
- Gideon: Timid and fearful, took actions to defend the nation
- David: Committed adultery and murder, great warrior and king
- Peter: Boasted about being faithful to Jesus yet denied him, shattered his arrogance, which made him the prime candidate to lead the Church
- Thomas: Doubted Jesus appeared, became one of the greatest missionaries
- Paul: Wiped out Christians but was revolutionized by Jesus who changed his heart and direction
- Jeremiah: Claimed his youth and inexperience as an excuse for not trusting God, serves as a prophet.
(Dr. Ken Nichols, “The Masterpiece”)
These “heroes” of the Bible are just people like you and me who further reinforce that God takes all different types of art and turns them into various Masterpieces. I am learning that when I look at myself and see what I find as flaws through my eyes, it is a reminder from the Holy Spirit that these are the unique characteristics that God personally choose for me to have. I now know that:
“I am loved”: 1 John 3:3
“I am forgiven”: Colossians 3:13
“I am accepted”: Ephesians 1:6
“I am an adopted as a child of God”: John 1:12
“I am a new creation in Christ”: 2 Corinthians 5:17
So I ask: How do you see yourself?
– Frank D