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What to Think of Yourself

People think things of you. Some people think well of you; some think ill of you. Some have fairly accurate ideas of you; some have inaccurate ideas. Some have made false assumptions; some have made true assumptions. Some know you intimately; some know you casually; some only know what you look like. 

Unfortunately, you're not in the dictionary for anyone to look up and be sure their thoughts about you are correct. They could ask you but even our own knowledge about ourselves is limited.

We think quite a lot about ourselves. We think well of ourselves; and sometimes we think ill of ourselves. We have some accurate ideas and some inaccurate ideas. We sometimes know what we want; we sometimes don't; and sometimes we don't care. Some of us understand ourselves quite well; and some just think we do.

I believe we're prone to thinking a great deal about ourselves and others' opinions of us especially when it comes to assessing how good we are. But these regions of thought—illustrated as A and B below—are rather prone to error and change. 

I may have appeared to be giving Aunt Bertha a funny look and so she believes I have bad manners. I may have been upset about some misplaced cash and thus spoke distantly to a friend who then believes I don't care about her. Everything may be going well and so I believe that I've done things right, but when things goes poorly, I think I must have done something wrong. When I'm too exhausted to read to the children, I believe I'm a bad mom, but when I'm full of energy, I think I'm swell. 

Others' thoughts about us and our own thoughts about us cannot be trusted. They are so dependent on events and moods and how well we slept last night. 

It's far better to think of ourselves as God does since he alone can accurately assess mankind. From the Bible we learn that God made us to work a certain way, and the fact of the matter is, we're not. He made us to work morally perfect. But as things go, we don't have perfect motives, instincts, feelings, desires, or thoughts. We're all wrong. 

Don't be confused. I don't mean we're worthless. I mean we can't give God what he asked for. We're like a slave who owes God a gazillion dollars. We're not a worthless slave; we can work quite well with our two hands. We'll just never be able to work enough.

Why on earth did God make slaves that can't meet his requirements? He didn't. He made slaves that could, but nobody wanted to. Everyone prefers his own way. So everyone has got a great big debt.

To accurately think of myself is to acknowledge my great big debt to God.

But we can't stop there. To accurately think of myself, I must also know that my great big debt to God has been paid. Since I couldn't operate with perfect motives, thoughts, desires, and feelings, God did it for me through the life of Jesus Christ. And not just for me but everyone. Jesus paid the gazillion dollar debt.

So to accurately think of myself is to acknowledge that the price on my head has been paid. I'm not a wanted criminal anymore fleeing from my debtors or desperately trying to prove to myself and others that I'm capable of making the payments.

To accurately think of myself is to remember that that fleeing-from-God's-law life is over. And not only that, but all my mess-ups have been erased, washed away, if you will, like Expo cleaner and a cloth wiping off all the black marker from a white board. Nothing bad I've ever done or will do can haunt me again. 

But will it? Mostly certainly, yes, but that's because I start dwelling in regions A or B instead of region C. In region C God declare that I don't have to worry about fixing or covering up or excusing all those imperfect thoughts, desires, feelings, and motives. Not yesterday's, today's, or tomorrow's.

All the punishments ever needed for my wrongs have already been executed. Christ crucified on the cross was that punishment. 

So when I get confused about how good or bad I am, I can bypass regions A and B and go straight to C where God reminds me the truth about my failings and my right standing with him.


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