I have a question for you. Indeed, it’s a question I often ask myself; and although there’s been a minor improvement of late, there are far too many occasions on which my answers (to this particular question) veer pathetically to the negative.
When you look at, or think about yourself, what do you see?
Think about this for a few minutes, then jot down what you see. If you want to be really specific, stand in front of a mirror, then write what you see on a piece of paper or notepad.
I did this a few months back, and the results were less than heartening, to say the least.
Thoughts – I saw a myriad of failings and mistakes. Before long, I was so full of regret that I yearned to go back to my mother’s womb, and start again.
Ever felt this way?
Mirror – I saw a lack of height, odd shaped head, slightly leaning to the left posture, and below average physique. Before long, I was wishing I looked entirely different – taller, more handsome, and with far better posture; completely ignoring the gorgeous eyes and adorable smile!!!
Ever have similar experiences?
The truth is most of us experience similar thoughts and ‘views’ when we ‘see’ ourselves – whether in thought or mirror. We focus so much on the negatives, that the positives disappear all-together.
Then, rather like the eighties, when actors would venture into shopping malls, hoping for someone to recognise them, so as to gain some self-worth, we take pictures of ourselves doing ‘great’ things or looking sumptuous in beauty and splendor (never mind the air-brushing), in order to, yes, you’ve guessed it, ‘gain some self-worth’. We all do it, to some extent. The need to feel better as a result of what our ‘eyes see’ when we think about ourselves, or look in the mirror, is all too powerful to resist. As someone so succinctly put it a few weeks ago, ‘in the eighties, we peered into celebrity magazines, envying the lives of the rich and famous; but now, through social media, we can be our very own ‘celebrity’ – posting glamorous and perfect pictures of ourselves for the world to ‘hopefully’ gawp at – thereby attaining some self-worth.
Some say it’s to market their business / profession, but the reality is, most of us simply want to be seen, heard, gawped at, envied, and adored.
‘The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness.’
Matthew 6 vs 22- 23
The above words, spoken by Jesus himself, sum up the difficulties we face when we look in the mirror, or carry-out the proverbial self-introspection. We tend to judge everything – ourselves, and all around us, whether people or situations, by what our eyes see.
Furthermore, and probably most important of all, we tend to judge our relationship or status with God by what our eyes see. For example, you’re working hard, but not doing well enough, so you assume God must be upset with you about something. Things go wrong, and you immediately presume you’re being punished by God for past or recent wrongs /failings (I often experience this). In other words, all we see of ourselves on most occasions is our mistakes and failings.
Hence, for a long time, I wondered what on earth Jesus expects from us, when he talks about the eye being the lamp of the body. After-all, with life’s numerous challenges and difficulties, can we really be blamed for not being able to see too many positives??
Then, a few days ago, the Lord opened my eyes to the key – Matthew 6 vs 32-34
‘…and your heavenly father knows that you need them (knows what you need). But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and All these things will be given to you as well. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.’
Matthew 6 vs 32 -34
Remember, Jesus said these words before he was crucified for all our sins. Therefore, the word ‘seek’ meant exactly what it’s supposed to mean – to go and find / to go and get.
However, by dying for all our sins, Jesus ensured that we no longer need to go and find /get our righteousness.
Your righteousness was forever earned on the cross.
So, what does this mean?
1. Through Jesus Christ, you are already and forever righteous.
2. See yourself in Right Standing, and unconditionally loved by God.
– you can have a personal relationship with God
– you can be rest assured that God knows what you need, and will provide
Jesus asked us to seek first his kingdom. Being part of a kingdom is like being part of a family. For example, if British or American citizens are stranded in a crisis ridden country – be-it civil war, or social unrest, the British /US Government is quick to ensure the safety of those citizens – they don’t play with this responsibility. In other words, because their citizens are part of their family, they protect them at all costs. Multiply this by infinity for being a member of God’s kingdom.
Unfortunately this yearning to see something /someone better in the mirror, isn’t the key to the Contentment, Joy, and Peace of Mind we all so desperately crave. The reality is that what we see in the mirror will invariably vary from week to week / day to day – depending on moods, feelings, and the particular point you’re on, in life’s roller-coaster journey. As I’m sure you agree, this is a perfect recipe for a permanent state of blowing hot and cold.
Allow me to use myself as an example. A few weeks ago, I was feeling great – new start, reaching new, and quite incredible levels of fitness, excited about a career change, and generally feeling happy and positive about life. Then all of a sudden, I experienced seven days of what can only be termed as physical and emotional trauma (including getting run-over by a car, resulting in a severely damaged ankle), that not only destabilised me, but led to a huge self-worth crisis. So much so, that by Friday evening I was pleading with God to take me to heaven. It was only when he asked me how my daughter would feel about it that I changed my mind.
Shocked by what you’ve just read?
You’d be surprised by what people are going through. One of the things God made very clear to me when he asked me to create this platform is to always be open and honest about my own life – and to never paint myself to be perfect in any way.
So, what happened? How did I go from crying myself to sleep three Fridays ago, to completing this message (I wrote the first half of it the week before my physically and emotionally trying week)?
Simple – upon waking up the next morning, not up to five minutes passed before I began to cry, as wave after wave of negative thoughts tortured my somewhat delicate mind. Realising I needed help, I called a good friend, and told her what I was going through. How she was able to understand a word I was saying is beyond me, because I cried uncontrollably throughout the call. But after listening for several minutes, she simply repeated the following two sentences to me for about ten minutes.
“You are righteous in Christ Jesus, you can never be a failure.”
“God loves you unconditionally, and he will never leave you.”
During that ten minutes, it was as though something that had been filling my head to the point of explosion was slowly being loosened. An hour later, the negative voices in my head literally had no power at all.
Isn’t it amazing?! I’ve been writing about God’s Unfailing Love, and our Righteousness in Christ Jesus for almost a year, and yet, the devil was so easily able to lead me down a dark path of fear, anxiety, and such grave negativity – simply because I forgot to hold-on to the two most important facts of life.
1. I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus
- My God loves me unconditionally, and will never ever leave me.
Finally, for those of you that, for whatever reason, feel as though you’re a failure, dwell on this for a few minutes;Whilst praying yesterday morning, the Lord told me something I must do my best to remember at all times.
“Segun, you’re my son. I chose you, and my spirit dwells inside of you. If you think you’re a failure, then you may as well be saying that I’m a failure. Do you really think I’m a failure??”
I swiftly apologized swiftly, thanked him for his love, and moved on.
If you think you’re a failure, then you’re saying God is a failure – not only due to the fact that you are in Christ, but also because he dwells inside you. Do you really think God is a failure??
Nobody’s perfect. Only God is all powerful and perfect. We’re a part of God’s kingdom; and that means God, through his holy spirit and his children (you and I), is always there for us – just like he was there for me through my friend.
This is what Christianity is about- being open with one another, and being there for each other in unconditional love – not a conditional, or judgmental love determined by the world’s eyes.