Bible Reading: Psalm 86: 11-1 7
You, O Lord, are a merciful and gracious God, slow to get angry, full of unfailing love and truth. Psalm 86:15
JOANNA SUMMED herself up this way: “A worm doesn’t adequately describe how I feel about myself. A worm can crawl underground and hide. I’m more like one of the ugly slugs on my patio. Everywhere they go, they leave this horrible trail behind them. That’s what I’m like; I mess up everything wherever I go.”
What a sad personal description from the mouth of a Christian!
Joanna is clueless concerning her true identity. She makes mistakes like we all do, but she certainly doesn’t “mess up everything” wherever she goes.
If you are a believer who isn’t convinced of your true identity as God’s beloved, valued, competent child, the results in your life can be dismal. You might have a fearful, pessimistic view of the world and your ability to cope with its challenges. You can see new or unexpected situations as threats to your happiness and security. And you might think all your difficulties are purely the result of your own failures.
When you are confused about who you are in Christ, it feels easier to endure what life deals you instead of challenging it or attempting to change it. You might picture yourself as a victim of a hostile environment.
But if you walk in the light of being loved, valued, and equipped by God, you look at the world as a challenge to face and an opportunity to exercise trust in Christ. You can accept the fact that the grace of God in your life empowers you to change your environment for the better. You know that your destiny lies in what God can do through you, and that you will accomplish significant things for eternity even in difficult circumstances.
A faulty sense of identity also affects relationships. A skewed view of yourself puts you on the defensive, so that you compare other people’s messages and motives to the inaccurate self-portrait you carry. For example, Joanna has difficulty accepting praise or compliments from others. In her opinion, a slug can’t possibly be pretty or helpful or generous. She further reasons, “How can I trust someone with such a messed-up view of me?” Until her inner self-portrait is radically transformed, Joanna will be skeptical of even the most sincere attempts to build her up.
Do you ever find yourself thinking like Joanna? You can be sure that God understands exactly where you are and how you feel-and he loves you completely! He is a compassionate God. He cares.
REFLECT: What does it mean to you that God is compassionate? How could understanding God’s compassion remake your life?
PRAY: Respond to God’s compassion today with your loving thanks.