Those two posts lay the groundwork for this one. I’m going to try to summarise a Christian self image succinctly.
1) God made you and what he made was good.
You are made in God’s image. By God. And what he made was good. Your right to exist comes from God himself. You matter to him.
2) You rebelled against God.
You are a sinner. You are prone to rebellion and pride. You were born in sin and you have chosen sin. You’re also weak. You have very limited strength and knowledge.
3) God redeemed you.
If you are a believer, God took on flesh in order to take your condemnation in your place. That means that there are no standing charges against you. Anyone who wants to lay charges has to take it up with Jesus Christ himself (Romans 8:34).
Modern believers have difficulty with all three of these points.
Problems with #1 This is the person who has such a low view of himself that he dare not believe he has the right to exist. This is the person who will apologise to you when you bump into him. He needs to understand that he is not worthless and shameful. This person needs to go back to creation to understand the inherent worth of a person created in God’s image.
Problems with #2 This is the person who’s had his self-esteem bolstered his whole life. He’s been told he’s wonderful and, frankly, he agrees. This person has no problem seeing his own worth before God. What he has difficulty seeing is his rebellion against God. This person needs to be confronted with the darkness of his heart and the depth of his rebellion.
Problems with #3 This is the person who thinks he needs to earn God’s favour. He constantly judges himself and he’s come to one of two conclusions. a) He thinks he’s a pretty good guy. This is the arrogant and blind Pharisee; or b) He knows he’s not a good guy and beats himself up over it constantly. This guy is arrogant too, but for a different reason. He is arrogant because he thinks that if he tried harder, maybe he could earn God’s favour.
Both of these people need to be pointed to a Roman cross and a slaughtered lamb. Both need to recognise that salvation is only by God’s grace and that Jesus already took the condemnation. All of it.
Of course all of us fill these roles at times. And we fill different roles at different times.
Hopefully we can see how a healthy self image is crucial to living the Christian life. It is also important in the process of building disciples. I’m reminded of Paul’s exhortation to the believers at Thessalonica:
And we urge you, brothers,
admonish the idle,
encourage the fainthearted,
help the weak,
be patient with them all.