The minute the preacher said, “Open your Bibles to the book of Romans”, I regretted not bringing my coffee into church. It’s a tough decision most Sunday mornings – whether to risk falling asleep or risk having to pee in the middle of church. This particular Sunday morning I thought I’d be ok without that last cup of coffee. I thought I could stay awake and actually focus on spiritual matters instead of how many more minutes were left in the sermon. I didn’t think I’d be listening to a boring, dry sermon from Romans in a dimly lit church whose thermostat is set to freezing thus creating the optimal environment for a good nap.
But just a few minutes into nap time – I mean – the sermon, I heard three words that I so desperately needed to hear:
“You are worthy to me. You are pleasing to me. You are satisfactory to me, your God.”
I sat there in stunned silence as my husband squeezed my hand. He knew as much as I did that those words were for me. It was no secret to either of us that I had been struggling with low self-esteem and feeling unlovable. In fact, just a few days prior I had come face-to-face with this problem of low self-esteem – asking myself, “does God love me if I’m a sinner?”
After struggling with the question for some time in my mind, I went to my husband looking for answers. “How do I believe that I’m a sinner and still have good self-esteem?” But it wasn’t a question he could answer for me. He could only point me in the right direction. He said, “Jenny, go see how God views you.”
And here, in this dimly lit sanctuary, the hair on my arms stood on end – not because I was cold, but because God was speaking to me. He was telling me exactly how He views me -“Jenny, you are worthy, you are pleasing, you are satisfactory to me, your God.”
The problem, though, is that no matter what other people say, no matter what God’s Word says, I don’t really believe I’m lovable. Depression and distorted thinking have forced me to conclude that there is nothing good in me, nothing of value, nothing worth loving. They have left me feeling unlovable. Yet, God says He loves me. My husband says he loves me. My friends tell me they love me. But for some reason, I just can’t believe them. I know that in order for me to believe this, I first have to believe that I am lovable.
How on earth do I transform my thinking from “there is nothing good in me” to believing that I’m lovable?
What the World Says
The world says that man is inherently good. Maybe he has some bad in him, but he’s not all bad. He’s good with a little bad. And what’s more, the bad we do have in us, we can change. We can make ourselves better! So we start with positive affirmations. I am good. I am wise. I am strong. I deserve this. I am becoming a better version of myself. We tell ourselves that we just need to correct our distorted thinking. We tell ourselves that we are good and we can be better. But to me, statements of self-affirmation always seem so hollow. I have trouble believing them because all my life I have been told that, according to the Bible, man is born into sin. Self-esteem and the world kept preaching to me that yes, you can do it! But God and His Word kept preaching to me that no, no you can’t do it!
So, I believe that man is not inherently good. I know that I am born into sin and with a sin nature. But when I gave my life to Christ, I was separated from that sin nature. It’s still there, but now instead of being united with sin. I am united with Christ.
How God Views Us
Romans 8:1 says, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
You know what that means? If you are in Christ Jesus:
- You will never be condemned by God.
- You will always be loved by Him regardless of what you do.
God is saying, “You are worthy. You are pleasing. You are satisfactory to me. You are lovable to me.”
Why? Why are we lovable to Christ? Why do we no longer fear condemnation?
The simple answer: Because God says so.
The complex answer: Because for those of us that are in Christ Jesus (we have surrendered our lives to Christ) we are now separated from our sin nature and united with Christ. Christ is in us and we are in Him. This is what God’s Word tells us and we believe to be true.
So, how do we live then? How do we live knowing we are lovable and acceptable to a Holy God?
Love Yourself the Way Your Father Loves You
Now that we know how God our Father views us, we must learn to love ourselves the way He loves us.
Think about how you love a little child. Despite the attitude and the back talk and the tantrums, you still love them. You still provide for them. You still think they are beautiful and precious. You still would do anything for them. You may be disappointed at times or angry with them, but you always forgive and you always love. This is the way your Heavenly Father loves you. Learn to love yourself that way.
Be disappointed when you fail, but learn to forgive yourself.
Be angry at your sin, but know it doesn’t affect your standing before God.
Accept that you are God’s Masterpiece
Accept that you are lovable and you are loved.
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.