Don't Believe in Yourself? Perfect!
Have you noticed we are a generation obsessed with motivation? We have posters and clever quotes, mantras for our daily "self talk" in the mirror, positive affirmations, and the list goes on and on.
There's absolutely nothing wrong with a positive outlook on life, --in fact, our words create our future! Just be careful where your focus is. When we focus on ourselves, what we can accomplish, what we can do, we are setting ourselves up for failure. Yep, that's right...Let's take a look.
Self focus can be a tricky thing. We are sometimes silly creatures (thank God we are so loved by our Creator), but a good thing can often be taken to extremes. Have you ever noticed, when we are down, we often focus on ourselves. "I'm down. I'm depressed. What can the cause be? How can I fix this? Maybe I should try to uncover the deep, dark secrets of my past."
Self, self, and more self. We like to get out the magnifying glass and examine ourselves.
Then, there's the other end of the spectrum. We're feeling good. We're starting a new workout routine. We're eating healthy. Yep, it's a new leaf. In fact, when we look in the mirror, we can see a hint of muscle popping up in new places. We've got it going on! Does God want us to be proud of ourselves? That depends. Of course it's wonderful to be happy and completely filled with joy over the temple God has provided us with. When we are healthy and whole, we feel more alive, alert, and able to serve Him. The danger is again, self-focus. The "I can do it!" way of thinking feels so right when we are in the midst of it and running high on emotion, but in reality, the Word tells us that apart from Jesus, we can do nothing.
"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." -- John 15:5
Being Versus Doing
There's nothing wrong with exercising discipline and making correct choices. That's part of a happy, whole, healthy life. But there is a difference between striving and resting. God wants us to rest in Him and stop laboring in our own strength.
Motivation is not the same as change. When we motivate ourselves, we make a purposeful choice to do something (such as workout, or put on a happy face, or bite our tongue when we feel like yelling at someone). It becomes a habit. There's nothing wrong with developing healthy habits, but don't confuse habits for change. When we are truly changed from the inside out (which can only happen when we rest in and abide in God's free grace, favor and mercy), the change is permanent...and effortless. It almost feels like we are "observing" something that's going on inside of us. Why? Because when the change has nothing to do with us, we can honestly step back and say, "Look what the Lord has done!"
We can then proclaim with the apostle Paul, "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." -- Galatians 2:20
That's the Good News of the Gospel! It's not up to us. In fact it has nothing to do with us! We surrender. We abide in Him and He does the work!
So today...Look in the mirror and instead of saying, "You can do it!" take the easy way out. Smile at yourself, stick your chest out and say, "YOU are the righteousness of Christ! You are blessed beyond measure, highly favored, completely forgiven and seated in heavenly places with Christ Jesus...and you lack no good thing!"
Now THAT'S POWERFUL!
Today...Don't believe in yourself. Instead, believe in the One who has taken your place and changed your destiny!