By Christel Humfrey
More and more I hear that women need to love themselves more. In the surrounding culture, we hear slogans like “you’re enough” and “believe in yourself.” In all of this focus on the self, we are encouraged to think of ourselves as godlike in our abilities and potential.
But should women have inflated views about themselves? Is it really in our best interest to be deceived into thinking that we can be godlike in our abilities, while really we are wasting away?
What Jesus Says about Self-Righteousness
The problem with an inflated view of ourselves is that it is false. We are flawed, we aren’t God, we make mistakes, and we sin against a holy God. God isn’t more or less real (and holy) depending on our feelings and we aren’t more or less good depending on how we feel about ourselves. I think it is important for the sake of our souls to be honest about this.
For instance, take Jesus’ words in Matthew 23:27-28:
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness.So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.
These words of Jesus are enough to make me stop in my tracks when I am tempted to plunge into the world of self-glorification. No amount of believing in my own goodness will take away the fact that inside I am like dead people’s bones. I might look godlike to those observing, but it’s all an illusion.
Finding Evidences of Grace
So what is the way forward? Women are notorious for being overly critical of themselves and each other. We don’t like our appearance, our personality, our homes, or anything that looks less than perfect compared to the woman standing next to us. We ourselves compare with other women and then dwell on everything we lack. With all of the awareness of our sin and failure to measure up, should we just be sad all the time? I don’t think so.
When I was recently going through a bit of depression myself, discouraged by every way that I fell short, my husband encouraged me to start recounting and writing down evidences of grace in my life. Evidences of grace present a more accurate picture of reality. They are visible marks of progress as the Christian is transformed to be more like Christ. They may be very incremental at times, and they are not achieved by looking inside ourselves for strength. These changes happen by God’s grace alone. They are not only reminders that you are God’s child, but also that he will continue working in your life until you reach perfection—that sinless, happy glorification with Christ in heaven (Rom. 8:17).
If you are a Christian, you are united to Christ. Your life and destiny are bound up in him. In a very real sense, your worth and value is tied up in the worth and value of Christ. There is no surer or better place to be because Christ is perfect (1 Cor. 15:10).
We don’t need to dig down deep and find perfection in ourselves, because we have found perfection outside of ourselves which is freely given to all who are in Christ. The world might tell us that believing in our own goodness proves we are enough, but deep down we know that will never satisfy. Christ, the perfect one, gives us his goodness and gives us hope when we feel like we will never be enough.
Christel Humfrey is a pastor’s wife and mother. She has a B.A. in music with a minor in ballet. Against all odds, she fell in love with a cowboy. Together they have three sons and minister in Calgary, Canada. In her free time she enjoys blogging at foretasteofheaven.blogspot.ca. You can follow her on Twitter @ChristelHumfrey.
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