How You See Yourself

Speaker: Pastor Darin Browne

Jesus said the greatest commandment is this…

Mark 12:30-31 (ESV)
you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

How are you going to love others when you don’t love yourself? In God Kingdom, how you see yourself and love yourself is important.

Have you ever been to a fun-fair and seen those distorted mirrors? They twist and distort how you actually look, and we laugh about it, but this happens to most of us every day.

I don’t often look in the mirror…and it reflects badly on me! I heard about a wife who looked in the mirror and was very upset with what she saw. She said to her husband, “Look at me, I’m getting older, bigger, my face has more lines, my hair is greyer, it upsets me, and I desperately need a compliment.” He loving husband said, “Well, your eyesight is pretty near perfect!”

How we see ourselves has incredible implications for how we live our lives. Do you see yourself as blessed, or cursed? Living under the law, or grace? A person of value, or worthless. Perception, your perception, affects everything in life.

LET’S START AT THE VERY BEGINNING…

Psalms 139:13-16 (ESV)
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.  

My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.

God has had a plan for your life from before you were born. You’re not an accident, you’re not an imposition, you are fearfully and wonderfully made. God didn’t make a mistake. He didn’t have an off day when He made you. He created you with purpose and destiny and He sees your intrinsic value, even if you don’t. Like a $50 bill, you have value, even if you are soiled and damaged, because it’s not you or your condition that’s valuable, it’s what you represent, and how God sees you that gives you intrinsic value.

OUR DISTORTED MIRRORS

What distortions are affecting your view of yourself? There might be more than you think. I want to describe seven distortions that are used by the devil to affect how we live our lives.

Proverbs 27:19 (ESV)
As in water face reflects face, so the heart of man reflects the man.

If the water gets dirty, or choppy, or polluted, we cannot see our image properly. And if your heart is dirty or distorted or polluted, your eyes will not see a clear image of your true value in God. Let’s look at some of the distorted mirrors we view ourselves in.

1. OUR PAST

Our past affects our perception. The parents we have, the siblings we had, the place we grew up in, all these affects how we see ourselves. You may have grown up with fear in the family, domestic violence, or divorce. Your parents may have told you that you were a disappointment, or a failure, or they may have rejected you. Perhaps you were bullied at school, I know I was. Maybe you failed to achieve what you wanted to do in life. Our past experience affects how we see ourselves, but God says…

Isaiah 43:18-19 (ESV)
“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old.
Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.

Today is the day you start dismantling this mirror and letting God shape your perception and future into what He desires for you…a new thing, a better thing!

2. OUR CURSES

Many of us have had negative words of cursing spoken over us. Sticks and stone will break your bones, but words will never hurt you. That’s a lie. Words can crush you!

Psalms 109:2-3 (ESV)
For wicked and deceitful mouths are opened against me, speaking against me with lying tongues. They encircle me with words of hate, and attack me without cause.

Words spoken over you can have a devastating affect for decades. I remember praying with a 70-year-old man whose life was still adversely affected by words his father had spoken over him when he was five years old.

There is a story in the Jewish Talmud about a king who sent two jesters on an errand. He said to one, “Foolish Simon, go and bring me back the best thing in the world,” and to the other, “You, Silly John, go and find for me the worst thing in the world.” Both left but were back shortly. Grinning, Simon bowed low and said, “Behold, Sire, the best thing in the world.” His package contained a tongue. Silly John snickered and quickly unwrapped his bundle and said, “The worst thing in the world, Sire.” It was another tongue!

Proverbs 18:21 (ESV)
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits. (Make sure yours is used for the right fruit)

A GENERATIONAL CURSE

Even what our forebears have done can be inadvertently passed on to us, without our knowledge. We call it a generational curse, and it can open the door to demonic activity in our lives.

Jeremiah 31:29 (ESV)
“‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge.’

Deuteronomy 5:9 (ESV)
I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me,

This refers more to the consequences of sin than judgment for sin. A generation can be burdened by the sins of their elders, but I have great news this morning…curses can be broken, both those spoken directly or generationally passed on. Our Inner Healing team see people set free from years of pain every day. God doesn’t want you to grapple with undeserved words or demonic curses anymore, yours or your forebears, and He says this…

Proverbs 26:2 (ESV)
Like a sparrow in its flitting, like a swallow in its flying, a curse that is causeless does not alight.

3. OUR SURROUNDINGS

Our circumstances can also affect how we see ourselves. Are we rich or poor? Successful or not? Are our friends building our character or leading us into disaster? Where we live, where we work, who we interact with, these can all change perception.

1 Corinthians 15:33 (ESV)
Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.”

If your friends are leading you into sin, get new friends! Get godly friends! If you job is controlling and ruining your home life, find a new job! Yes, money seems important, but you and those you love are more important than money.

If your surroundings are adversely affecting your view of yourself, change them, pray and ask God, before they ruin you and everything you hold dear.

4. OUR OR OTHER’S EXPECTATIONS

Unfulfilled expectations are a tremendous distorter of the truth. Expectations of parents can scar you for life. Expectations of your spouse, or your workplace, can cripple you. Your own expectation, if you fall short, can crush and destroy you.

Psalms 34:18 (ESV)
The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.

If you are a victim of failed expectations, yours, or someone else’s, then today you can be set free. This distorted mirror needs to be destroyed, and you can be healed.

5. OUR SIN

Our sin, whether it is in the past or a hidden sin right now, will poison how you see yourself and others. Sin has consequences, and you can choose to sin, but you cannot choose the consequences of your sin, they choose you!

James 1:15 (ESV)
Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

If you are knowingly in sin or have sin in your past that you have never dealt with, it will affect so much of your life. But the good news is that…

1 John 1:9 (ESV)
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Today is the day you can be set free from the curse of sin if you bring it to Jesus.

6. OUR FEARS

Another mirror we often look in is our fears. Fear will distort your perception of you, the Lord, and everybody around you. Fear of loss, fear of failure, fear of lack, every fear you entertain distorts the image that God wants of you. But the Bible says…

2 Timothy 1:7 (ESV)
for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

I said last week, Fear knocked at the door, faith answered, there was no one there. I know so many people paralysed by fear that they can barely function, even in church, but whatever fear you face I declare that your God is bigger than your fear, and on your side. David wrote…

Psalms 56:3-4 (ESV)
When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?

Isaiah 41:10 (ESV)
fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Come to Christ today and you need never look in that mirror again.

7. OUR FEELINGS

We live in a society completely controlled by feelings. Movies, songs, TV shows, internet sites, books, conversation, all these affects how we feel, and how we feel affects how we view ourselves. With all we have, antidepressants are prescribed more for this generation than any other before it.

You might look at me and think, well you’ve got a great and successful life. But Fiona will attest that there are days I just want to scream and run. Days when I feel so down, I think I’m an utter failure. Days when I just want to cry and curl up with chocolate and watch Netflix. Our feelings can distort our perception.

Listen…how you feel does not determine reality. We are given a heart to have feelings, but also a head to have wisdom, and they should balance us out.

Jeremiah 17:9 (ESV)
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?

Proverbs 28:26 (ESV)
Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered.

Don’t live your life solely by your feelings, that’s a mirror you cannot afford to keep looking in. If you struggle with the roller-coaster of depression, get help. You may need medication if your brain’s function is impaired chemically. You may need counselling or deep, Spirit-led prayer. I find my down feelings controlling me when I get overwhelmed by life, or when I am exhausted. Sometimes the most spiritual thing to do is take a break. Come ye apart or come ye apart…if you don’t you will!

WE IMPRINT OUR VIEW OF OURSELVES

The problem is that we carry these mirrors with us and gaze into the too often, and then we imprint the false image on top of the world we live in. It changes how we see everything, ourselves, our lives even the Lord. These mirrors imprint negative after images on our lives.

IT’S TIME TO SMASH A FEW MIRRORS

All these mirrors distort how we see ourselves, and it’s time we smashed a few. I promise that you won’t get seven years bad luck; But you will get set free! So where do we start? Four things…

1. BE HONEST

1 John 1:8 (ESV)
If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

If these perceptions control our lives and behaviour, they are sin, and if we ignore them or shove them under the carpet, they will continue to crush us.

I used to sweep the kitchen floor with my kids, and the little bit of dirt we couldn’t get up, I told them to brush it under the fridge. Fiona never knew, but when we moved the fridge, guess what?

It’s time to be honest, to not ignore or shove it under the fridge, but sort this destructive stuff, for your life and everyone around you.

2. BE OBEDIENT

Isaiah 6:10 (ESV)
Make the heart of this people dull, and their ears heavy, and blind their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed.”

Today if you know your view of your life and worth is distorted, don’t harden your heart. Turn to the Lord and be healed. It takes a choice to be obedient. I have reached a pointing my life where I will do anything, no matter how hard, to be obedient.

John 14:15 (ESV)
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.

Don’t carry what God never intended for you to carry. Come to Jesus all who are wearied and burdened and He will give you rest.

3. BE SMART

The reality is that in 21st century Australia, we are bombarded with all kinds of distortions, many of which find their way into our psyche. So be smart with what you let into your mind!

Romans 12:2 (ESV)
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Philippians 4:8 (ESV)
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Monitor carefully and diligently what you let into your heart. Don’t feed you heart junk, guard it. Don’t watch or listen to or swipe to shows or websites that distort your perception. Put pure, godly things into your heart that build your spirit.

4. BE COURAGEOUS

You can sit here stewing in your malformed perceptions of yourself, and nothing changes. You might even be content in your misery. Or you can be courageous enough to take the first step right now.

Isaiah 30:21 (ESV)
And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.

If you hear that voice, be courageous enough to take the first step today in obedience. We will pray with you, but often more is needed, and we can help you to truly destroy these mirrors once and for all. The prize is what Jesus promised…

John 10:10 (ESV)
The thief (and those distorted mirrors) comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

Today, if you know that your view of yourself and your life is being distorted, I want to give you the chance to be obedient and be brave. I am praying for breakthrough for your life this morning, so don’t hold back. It’s time to smash a few mirrors. It’s time to fill our eyes with Jesus and imprint Him onto our circumstances.

Time to see ourselves as we truly are and how God sees us…made in His image.

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