Psychologists and theologians all agree that from the time we’re very small, until the day we die, one of the questions all of us begin to consciously or unconsciously try to answer is: Who am I?
Ironically, most of us spend a great majority of our time and energy trying to be like someone else or wishing we were someone else.
But Jesus made it very clear that we’re to “love our neighbor like ourselves.” Yet, we often overlook the significance of this part of the passage.
The truth is we cannot love other people if we don’t love ourselves. And I don’t mean this narcissistically. I mean this in a healthy way.
Loving yourself is about being able to look into the mirror of your soul and confidently say, “I’m fearfully and wonderfully made. I matter. God has a plan for me. I’m not too short; I’m not too tall. I have the right personality. I have the right gifts. I don’t need to be like anyone else.”
It’s about seeing yourself as loved, adopted, and sealed by the Spirit. You have a purpose. You’re His workmanship. You’re His son or daughter. And you’re forgiven and loved.
Sadly, most of us don’t see ourselves this way. That’s why the world has such an influence on us. So, we wrongly believe things like, “I’ll be accepted or I’ll be significant if… I look like that, or I act like this, or I make this much money, or my kids do that.”
But the Bible actually commands us to accurately think about ourselves – the way God sees us.
“For by the grace of God given to me, I say to everyone among you, do not think of yourself more highly than you ought to think, but rather, think of yourself with sober judgment in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.” (Romans 12:3)
We’re to think about ourselves with “sober judgment” – in other words, not to think too highly of ourselves, but not too lowly either.
Ever been around someone who thinks too highly of themselves? They’re not too fun to be around, are they? They act so superior and haughty.
And then there are the people who think too lowly of themselves. They say and think things like, “God could never use me. I’m worthless. I don’t have any gifts. I know the Bible says there are gifts, but I don’t have any. I don’t have any value.”
Both of these two types of people are horribly insecure. Deep down, they’re scared of not being liked, so they hide their true selves from others.
So, how about you? Do you know the real you?
Perhaps you’re wondering, why is thinking this way even important?
Because this is who God says you are.
Because if you don’t understand who you are, you’ll never understand where you belong.
And because you have a role to fulfill. You won’t know what that role is unless you know who you really are.
“Just as each of us has one body, and many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we are many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” (Romans 12:3-4)
God gives each of us strengths that build our confidence and allows us to understand we have a unique contribution to help other people.
And He gave us weaknesses to create humility and interdependency on Him and other people. It’s a beautiful thing when other people’s strengths meet our weaknesses, and vice versa!
To learn more about how to know the “real you” and what it means to be an authentic follower of Jesus Christ, check out Chip’s series, True Spirituality.
Founder & Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge
Chip Ingram is the CEO and teaching pastor of Living on the Edge, an international teaching and discipleship ministry. A pastor for over thirty years, Chip has a unique ability to communicate truth and challenge people to live out their faith. He is the author of many books, including The Real God, Culture Shock and The Real Heaven. Chip and his wife, Theresa, have four grown children and twelve grandchildren and live in California.More Articles by Chip