How well do you know yourself? Do you have a positive self-image? Our world is inundated with self-help books, TV shows, articles, documentaries and [literally] hundreds of millions of hits on the internet all discussing its importance. We’re told that a positive self-image can boost our physical, mental, social, emotional, and spiritual well-being, and I can’t disagree with that. But I do have serious concerns about the way we go about ‘making the best of me’, so we can achieve this goal.
Yahshua said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me” [Mark 8:34, italics added]. How does this fit into self-image? Later He said that “Love your neighbour as yourself” [Mark 12:31] is the second greatest commandment. So, we are meant both to deny and to love ourselves. How can that be?
The apostle Paul wrote, “I live; yet not I, but [Messiah] liveth in me” [Galatians 2:20]. Paul had been an angry young man, breathing out murderous threats against Yahshua’s disciples, but his personal encounter with the Saviour changed him forever. Yahshua doesn’t force His way into our character, but “He will bring every influence to bear on a life,” writes J. Oswald Sanders, “short of violating the personality.” Paul wasn’t obliterated by his encounter with Yahshua, but rather his life was enriched beyond anything he could have imagined. Galatians 2:20 begins, “I have been crucified with [Messiah], and I no longer live…” The action of denying himself and taking up his cross invited Yahshua into his life as a radiant source of everything that was beautiful and noble.
The indwelling Messiah is the gift we receive when we give ourselves to Him in repentance at the time of our New Birth. The more we learn to yield to Him, denying ourselves and developing the bonds of intimacy, the more will we be enriched in heart and mind. Yahshua wants to live out His own life through me, helping me to walk with the same humility, wholesomeness, compassion and peace that hallmark His own character. If I yield to Him, His life in me can develop and enhance me, making of me the person He knows I can be.
Image by geralt