This isn’t a trick question: What’s the second most important thing about you?
To get to that answer, let me share a truth that’s made a huge difference in my life and the lives of my family members. A preacher and theologian who lived in the first part of the 20th century named A. W. Tozer taught what he called a secret law of the soul.
It’s this: Whatever comes into our minds when we think about God is the single most important thing about us.
Why? Because we gravitate toward our image of God. It shapes how we think of everything: life and love and purpose and eternity and our very souls.
That’s why it’s essential for you to get a clear, accurate, biblical picture of who God is. A faulty view will distort everything. Including how you think about yourself. Which of course is the second most important thing about you.
Scripture tells us to think about ourselves accurately—not too high, not too low, not “too” anything. The Apostle Paul commands us to have an accurate perception of ourselves.
By the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you (Romans 12:3).
Notice that this instruction is given in the form of a command. It is not just a helpful suggestion. Paul tells us to not think of ourselves inaccurately but in accordance with sober judgment and with the faith God has given us—in other words, the way He sees us.
So, how do you see yourself? What do you believe about who you really are? Knowing everything you know about your appearance, your thoughts and feelings, your deepest needs and biggest dreams, your skills and talents and flaws, how would you honestly describe yourself?
This self-perception is what psychologists call your self-image. It may be based on facts. It may also be based on lies. Most likely, it’s based on both.
If you have trusted Jesus Christ as your Savior, your sins were forgiven, and Jesus’s righteousness has become your righteousness. You have been reborn in the Son’s image. Whether or not you’re living up to the image at this very moment, your Heavenly Father sees you as His beautiful, perfect, whole, beloved child.
Read this out loud and remind yourself that Paul’s words are your own as well:
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).
It’s true that faulty self-perceptions can go so deep that they can’t be wiped away with corrective self-talk. But no matter how painful your memories and emotions are, you can experience healing and restoration. With God’s help, you can identify the lies you believe and renew your mind with the truth of God’s Word (Romans 12:2).
The first step is to see “your true self” the way God sees you: wanted, valuable, secure, competent, beautiful, called!
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