The most fundamental thing about you is how you perceive yourself. How do you define yourself? What makes you who you are? Where do you find your sense of identity? This concept is known as “self-image,” and it determines a lot about you!
Many Christians perceive themselves in worldly ways and define themselves by worldly standards. But when Jesus saves you, He changes your self-image. He gives you a new way to think about yourself.
Paul says, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2). Our self-image shouldn’t conform to the world’s pattern. Rather, Jesus changes the way we think about ourselves.
Paul also says, “You were taught…to put off your old self…to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self” (Ephesians 4:22-24). Jesus changes our attitude about ourselves and makes it new.
“To put off your old self” means to abandon your old self-image that came from the world. “To put on the new self” means to embrace your new self-image that comes from Jesus.
The world tries to define us by telling us three lies:
Lie #1: Appearance is everything
The world tells us that our value comes from how we look. It sets standards of beauty for both men and women. It pressures us to have the right body, wear the right clothes, and be seen with the right people.
Lie #2: Acceptance is everything
The world tells us that our value comes from who likes us. We think of “peer pressure” as a teenage struggle, but adults also want to be accepted. Everyone wants to fit in and belong. The choices we make are hugely impacted by the people around us.
Lie #3: Achievements are everything
The world tells us that our value comes from what we do. It pressures teenagers to get good grades, make the team, and apply for college. It pressures adults to get a job and advance in their career.
Paul says, “So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view…Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:16-17). We shouldn’t regard ourselves from a worldly point of view; rather, we should see ourselves as new creations in Christ.
He also says, “Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is a new creation” (Galatians 6:15). In other words, nothing on the outside matters; what matters is whether or not Jesus has changed you.
He claims, “Whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ…I consider everything a loss…I consider them rubbish” (Philippians 3:7-8). His old self-image meant nothing compared to his new self-image in Christ.
He reminds us, “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your heart on things above…Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:1-3).
We are no longer defined by how we look, who likes us, or what we do. Instead, we are defined by the fact that Jesus has changed us. This new self-image is a permanent and solid foundation on which to build our lives.
(For more on your new identity in Christ, click here!)
How has Jesus helped you discover a new self-image? Share your thoughts with a comment below!
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