What is more important? What you think of yourself, or what God thinks of you? In our current culture, how we view ourselves is considered of the utmost importance. In fact, many believe that the single greatest thing that we can do for ourselves is to perfect our self image. The greater and more positively we view ourselves, the more likely we will be successful in life. The more negatively we view ourselves, the less likely we will be able to cope with life’s difficulties. On the surface this sounds very compelling. When there are so many people and events that attempt to make us feel like we are worthless or failures, thinking positively seems to make sense so that we can avoid the inevitable depression that would come. Looking at all the positive aspects of our lives, seeing ourselves as good people in the midst of difficult circumstances, would seem to help us because we are not dwelling on the negatives. We are not being drug down emotionally, but we are able to keep our minds free and clear. Thus, it is argued, self image is far more important that anything else.
However, there is an aspect to this that is rarely considered. Self image addresses our perceived needs in the here and now. It concerns itself with how we feel at this moment, how we perceive ourselves in the present. While self image does claim to look back at past mistakes to learn from, and makes the additional claim that it benefits for future life decisions, it primarily concerns itself with our life in this world, at this moment in time. It does not, in fact cannot, deal with what comes after. It can only address how we exist in this life. So, if there is a life yet to come, one which God has much to say about, does it not conclude that solely concerning ourselves with how we feel about ourselves excludes a major aspect of our existence? And if it is how God perceives us that determines our eternal existence, then focusing solely on how we feel in the here and now could well prove detrimental to us. For if we concern ourselves with only how we view our life, then we could well neglect God’s view of us and, by natural extension, live in such a way that brings us into conflict with Him.
We are God’s creation. When God made the universe (see Genesis 1-2) He designed it to declare His glory and majesty (Psalm 19:1). But to whom did it declare? On day 6, God made man. Man was created in God’s image. He was created with the unique breath of life, the awareness of himself, the ability think and perceive outside of basic animal instinct. Man was created with the unique opportunity to understand he was created by God, to be in fellowship with God, to worship and obey God. Man, being God’s unique creation in the universe, finds his being and purpose in loving and worshipping his Creator alone. However, it was in chapter 3 of the book of Genesis where man turned that purpose on its head. At that time, man chose to seek his own purpose, to determine for himself what was right and wrong. In that moment, when man ate of the forbidden fruit, he actively chose to place his desires, his own feelings, over that which God had designed man for. In that moment, man chose how he felt about himself and forever changed his standing before God.
SInce that time, mankind has lived in a state of rebellion against God. Every thought, every word and deed, has been tainted by this desire to satisfy one’s self. And while man does often demonstrate an ability to show mercy, kindness and even love, it is all affected ultimately by the self centered sinfulness that first manifested itself in the garden. If you doubt it, then ask yourself this: who among us can ever say that they have never lied? How about theft, and the value of the stolen item is not the issue. The willful taking of that which is not yours, the depriving of another’s property, ideas or livelihood is theft. What about lust? Some may say that lust is what drives mankind’s ability to reproduce. But is also a demonstration of one’s inability to control the emotional and hormonal drives that God gave us to be used for our spouses alone. The inability to simply bring our thoughts under control when we look at another person again demonstrates how far we are in bondage to sin. What about how we view God? All one must do is look around at the various world religions to realize mankind has failed to acknowledge God as He truly is. From Buddhism to Islam to Catholicism and all points in between, mankind has designed “gods” that resemble the desires of its own heart. Every world religion establishes as system of “good works” that can appease its “god,” hopefully to the point of atoning for the very sins we just looked at. Yet, this demonstrates the fallen nature of man for it demonstrates a “god” that can somehow be bribed or cajoled into ignoring the guilt men have when they sin.
The point of all this is to say that God designed us to be in loving fellowship with Him, yet we have rebelled against Him. Our Creator is now not just the loving God who made us, but He is also the righteous judge who must hold us accountable for the sins we have committed against Him. Where we were once to be ushered into a beautiful, eternal existence with God, we are now barred from such a paradise. Where we were once in a state of being children of the King, we are now condemned criminals, traitors against our sovereign Lord. God cannot view us as positively as we hope to view ourselves. We were created to worship Him, but we have chosen a life of sin against Him.
So we come back to our original question: what is more important, our view of ourselves, or God’s view? If we only were ever to exist in this life, we could say that how we viewed ourselves was very important. But we were created by a being who exists outside of all space and time. We were created to love, honor and worship Him alone, yet we have sinned against Him. The end result is that, when this life ends, we will stand before that Creator, and he will be our Judge. The books of our lives will be opened and every sin we have ever committed will be judged. And like any good judge, God will find us guilty, condemning us to an eternal torment that justly fits our crimes. So the answer is simple, yet very profound, it is God’s view of us that has the greatest importance. And no matter how positively we view our own life, God sees it as utter rebellion. It is not a positive ending we are headed for, but one of eternal suffering.
So, we now ask, if man cannot appease God, cannot atone for himself, what do we do? Should we just “eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die?” If we are honest, we have to admit it would seem that if we are to be condemned, should we not just “live it up?” If that were the end of the story, perhaps that would be the answer. But it is not. Remember, God made us to be in fellowship with Him. It is our sinful nature that keeps that from happening, Therefore, God made the way for that fellowship to be restored. We cannot make ourselves “un-guilty” of our sins, Nor can we convince God to simply “forget about it.” So, the only possible means of addressing the consequences of sin was for God to pay the price for it Himself!
Jesus Christ, the Son of God, second Person of the triune God, fully God and fully Man, came to this world approximately 2,000 years ago and did what we could never do. He lived a perfect life, free of sin in every aspect. He perfectly obeyed the will of His Father in every single moment of His life. Then, despite His being innocent of any offense, He willingly, voluntarily placed Himself in the hands of sinful man, endured an unfair trial, was humiliated, beaten and tortured. All the while, He could have called down legions of angels to rescue Him, yet He remained silent and received it all. Then Jesus allowed Himself to be placed on the cross, an instrument of cruel execution. He suffered and died, all the while being reviled by those He came to save. In doing so, He took upon Himself the punishment due for all our sins. The perfect, sinless Son of God took on the righteous and holy wrath of the Father so that the perfect law could be satisfied. We have earned eternal death from God, but the eternal Son died in our place. Then, on the third day after His death, Christ rose Himself from the grave. In doing so, Jesus proved that He had defeated sin and death. His own death paid the price for us, His resurrection secured life for us.
Today, that forgiveness of sins and promise of eternal life is available to us, but there is only one means by which it is obtained. We must acknowledge our that our life is one of wretched sinfulness, and is deserving of the judgment of God. We must turn away from that life of sin and commit ourselves to a life that is pleasing to the Lord. We must trust in the finished work of Jesus Christ alone, knowing that no work we could ever do would satisfy the law of God. Having total and complete faith that Christ has paid that price and devoting our lives to Him alone.
The question was who’s view of us was more important, our’s or God’s. Clearly, God’s view is the supreme view we must submit to. Yet, God’s view of His own Son is one of perfection and righteousness. If we will humble ourselves, repent of our sins and trust in the death and resurrection of Jesus, then God’s view of Christ is placed on us, rather than his view of of our sins. Place yourself in the hands of Christ. Trust not in your view of who you are, but trust in the holy and righteous God alone for salvation.
Original article posted here.