|Freedom From Inferiority Complexes|
|The Enemy Of Inferiority||33||Self-Worth Based On Divine Evaluation||37|
|Accepting Your Personal Uniqueness||34||Learning To Deal With Insecurity||38|
|Aim At a God-Given Goal||35||Discussion Questions||39|
|Self-Worth Based On Human Evaluation||36|
Psalms 139:13-16; Matthew 10:29-31
The Enemy Of Inferiority
Face inferiorities for what they are – enemies! Inferiority feelings are enemies that hinder in creativity. We are made by God to be creative and anything that hinders in that creative process is an enemy. Some foolishly mistake inferiority with humility. A grave mistake, for inferiority is an enemy of creativity while humility is the source of creativity.
What is humility? Humility is a sane estimate of yourself in the light of God and in the light of other people. Looking at self in the light of God should lead to neither boasting or to despair, but instead to gratitude. "Your dignity arises solely from your relationship to God. How can the child of a King feel inferior? How can a blood-bought sinner be proud?" (The Secret of Radiant Life; Sangster; pg. 80)
Looking at yourself in the light of others should lead neither to inferiority or to boasting, but to humble cooperation The humble person has a sane estimate of himself and a sane estimate of others. He never considers himself worthless and seldom considers others as geniuses. Rather, he sincerely appreciates others for their person and for their abilities, and truly accepts himself as having real worth. He knows that his abilities and the abilities of others are all God-given. There is no room either for boasting or for despair, but only for joyous cooperation with God and with others as you work together creatively to carry out God's purposes.
Never admit, even to yourself, that you are inferior. For one to say that he is inferior is to tell a lie! God taught Peter – and He would teach us today – to call no man common or unclean (Acts 10). "When Muretus, the poor scholar, was overtaken by sudden sickness centuries ago in the Low Countries, he was picked up out of the gutter and carried into a hospital. It never crossed the mind of the two young surgeons standing by the table on which he had been laid that this mud-stained, ill-clad boor could understand a word of their conversation, for they were talking in Latin. The theme of their discussion was a certain dangerous operation which was just being mooted in Europe, am with a sudden inspiration, one of the surgeons nodded toward Muretus and said to his colleague: 'Shall we try the experiment on this worthless creature?' But Muretus had understood every word. Who better? Nor did he say, 'I am a scholar and a gentleman. You can't do that to me!' In polished Latin he said to those startled youths: 'Will you call that man worthless for whom Christ dies?' That is the ground of our worth: the solid, sufficient, and only basis of it. And it is the same for everyone. We were dear enough to have shed the sacred blood." (The Secret of Radiant Life; Sangster; pg. 77)
"Father, help me to see that to call myself inferior is not merely a weakness that causes great damage to myself, but that it is a sin against my Creator. To devalue myself is to devalue the highest product of your creation and the purchase of Christ's redemption Help me to accept and to love myself."
AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY: I am of infinite worth to God. He does not love me 'for something', but for myself alone!
Accepting Your Personal Uniqueness
Some who are told not to be inferior swing from one extreme to another – from inferior feelings to egotistical feelings. If man is not to feel inferior, neither is he to feel superior. Some people are possessed with illusions of grandeur – living in a fantasy world in which they are the center of power and influence! "A father said to his daughter who had been slipping in her achievements: 'You are not the least bit inferior.' To which the girl replied: 'No, the fact is, I'm superior in many things.'" (Abundant Living; E.8. Jones; pg. 105) This girl had failed to find a sane estimate of her abilities. A disciplined goal is the product of a sane estimate of yourself, a mark of true humility. We are neither a worm or a wonder, only an ordinary person becoming an extraordinary servant of Christ because of the grace of God.
Idolizing others of greater ability, some people are not only experience regular rounds of defeat and failure, but are also failing to reach their own potential. "A minister felt that he should do the work of Moody. He prayed hard and worked hard, but no spectacular Moody results came. And then he came to the conclusion that when God got hold of Moody He got bold of a bigger man, and that God expected him to do his own work, not Moody's." (Ibid; pg. 105)
God has made each of us differently and to do different work for Him. Have you yet learned to accept your own personal uniqueness? Your personal individuality is to be seen for its true purpose – to complement the whole work of God. "Everything God has made has its own personal identity. There are billions of leaves but no two have ever been alike. No two raindrops ever have been identical. And no other person has ever been made or ever will be made exactly like you. The print of your finger is different; you think differently, and you look different from any other person that ever lived. One day a sixth-grade teacher asked her class, 'What is here in the world today that was not here fifteen years ago?' She expected the class to tell her of some of the new inventions and discoveries. One little boy held up his hand. 'All right, Johnny,' she said, 'what is here that was not here fifteen years ago? He said, 'Me.'" (Roads to Radiant Living; Charles Allen; pg. 84)
Comparing yourself with others can lead to one of these reactions: feelings of inferiority, feelings of superiority, feelings of jealousy. Seeing yourself properly in light of Gal and of others results in humility before God and in appreciation for others. Remember, even before you were born, God set you apart for a special purpose (Jeremiah 1:5)
"O God, deliver me from my tendency to compare myself with others, which inevitably causes competitive feelings of strife. Help me to compare myself with myself and with your divinely-revealed potential for me. Then I shall have the joy of becoming Christlike in my upward striving rather than the grief of becoming carnal in my outward striving. In Jesus' name. Amen.'"
AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY: Because I am the product; of a unique creation, I can accept my personal uniqueness without either inferiority or superiority.
Matthew 10:37-39; Matthew 19:27-30
Aim At a God-Given Goal
It is essential to have a disciplined goal – a product of a sane estimate of yourself. However, a disciplined goal must be formed in the light of God's possibilities for you. Advises Norman Vincent Peale: "Realistically estimate your ability; then raise the estimate ten percent." This is one way of saying that a sane estimate of one's abilities must also be a faith estimate. God is able to make of a person what he is unable to make of himself. Look at yourself, not as other people look 'at you or as you look at yourself presently, but try to see yourself as what God can make of you. God has a vision of what he wants you to become, and it is on the basis of that vision – as it is progressively made known to you – that you should be setting and resetting your goals.
In setting your own personal goals, always keep God's goals and purposes in mind. The purpose of God in history is the redemption and salvation of all mankind. Get your gaze on God and not primarily on yourself, and your self will automatically be developed. One who loses himself in God and in others not only finds God and others, but he automatically finds himself! But he who majors on finding himself to the exclusion. of God and others, not only loses God and others but he ultimately loses himself. Lose yourself in order to find yourself – a divine law of the universe!
It is a law of life that you become like the people whom you constantly look at. If you constantly gaze at God with His love, glory, and holiness, you will finally become Godlike! To get your eyes off of yourself and your inferiorities, you must get your eyes on Christ and lose yourself in His' great purposes. One's involvement in God's purposes is one's strength and one's secret to self-fulfillment. Involve yourself totally in God's purposes and your inferiorities will soon be gone!
How can you build self-confidence and get rid of your inferiorities? First, face inferiority feelings for what they are – enemies that hinder in creative endeavors. Never confuse inferiority with humility. Second, never call yourself inferior for you are of infinite value to God, both because of God's unique creation of you and because of Christ's redemption of you on the cross. Third, aim at a disciplined goal – a goal formed on the basis of a sane estimate of your abilities. Fourth, aim at a God-given goal – a goal that is based on a faith estimate of your abilities which are awakened by God's power. Following these simple steps will keep you from either belittling yourself or from boasting of yourself.
"Father, give me a faith, sane estimate of my abilities and help me to use all of my abilities for the glory of Christ and for the good of men. Root out of my mind all self-despisings, and give me a wholesome self-love. If Christ is willing to keep company with me in my heart, I can enjoy keeping company with myself!"
AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY: Because God's power is at work within me, I will accomplish the otherwise un-accomplishable!
Self-Worth Based On Human Evaluation
Luke 10:38-42 is a study on 'Self-Worth'. In Martha's case, her self- worth came from her activity, from her performance. As long as others felt good about, her achievements, she felt good about, herself. In Mary's case, she derived her self-worth from what she saw herself to be before God. Do you find your self-worth as a result of what you see yourself to be before God?
Self-worth based on human evaluation has many drawbacks. If one bases his self-worth on the praise he gets from his peers, he is looking to an unreliable and variable source for support. The praise of peers is changeable and is often based, not on the facts, but upon the whims of changeable people. The praise of peers so often is conditional – 'if you do this, then I will accept you.' There is no 'for better or for worse' commitment to the person himself, but commitment based only upon performance. Jesus himself refused to value himself and his mission on the basis of human evaluation and praise. The person who bases his self-worth on material things will be destroyed for 'the world passes away' (1 John 2:17). The Bible tells us not "to set hopes on uncertain riches but on God who richly furnishes us with everything to enjoy." (1 Timothy 6:17) Don't set your hopes and build your sense of self-esteem on friends, for friends may leave you or forsake you.
Don't build your sense of self-worth on your physical beauty, for such beauty is only 'skin deep' and it fades like the autumn leaves. There are adults still hanging on to the symbols of youth – fads and fashions in clothing – as an attempt to maintain a crumbling sense of self-worth.
Don't set your hopes and build your sense of self-worth on popularity, for the world's popularity is elusive and passing. Writes Sangster, "Fame is the will-o'-the-wisp which beckons others on… Sir Walter Scott achieved it – great, and worthy, and deserved fame – but there was that in him which not all the praise of men could satisfy. When he was dying, he said, 'Bring me the book'. 'The book?' they said. 'What book?' 'There is only ONE book', he answered a little wearily. 'Bring me the Bible.'" (Daily Readings; pg. 90)
If one bases his sense of self-worth upon the evaluation of human categories like we have described, he is left with an aching void. A deep sense of self-worth cannot be found in any of earth's possessions or relationships – however good they may be. Only God can affirm you at the deepest level of your being. There are those who are constantly seeking to be affirmed by others, but who find that even those who are nearest and dearest cannot fill the inner void in their lives. God alone can give one a lasting sense of value.
"O God, help me to hold in the eye of my reverent imagination the picture of the person you mean for me to become. Human evaluation of me is unrealistic, variable, fleeting, and incomplete. Use my sanctified imagination to pull me out of the mire of my inferiority complexes. In Jesus' powerful name. Amen."
AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY: To have the quiet smile of God's approval resting on my life is worth more to me than the applause of all of earth's kings!
2 Corinthians 10:7-12
Self-Worth Based On Divine Evaluation
Seeing yourself as God sees you is realistic, for God knows everything about you. One who gains a sense of self-worth from God will have a deep inner happiness, regardless of the outward circumstances, for God's evaluation of a person is unchanging and loving. One who allows God to love him, feels constantly loved, and in turn loveable and loving.
Further, God's evaluation is constant and permanent. As Mary sat at the feet of Jesus (Luke 10:39), her self-worth was greatly enhanced, for she learned of God's love which is permanent and unchanging.
We may come boldly before the throne of grace without intimidation, for God's estimate of us will never change. He loves us with 'no strings attached.' His dealings with us are always consistent with his permanent love for us. His constant, unfailing presence and companionship is what gives life value and worth.
Deriving a sense of worth from God, takes care of several things: (1) Deep feelings of inferiority – for you are important to God and loved by God, regardless of what you are and regardless of who you are. You are seen to be so important to God that He gave His Son to die for you personally. Your soul is of more value to God than the value of the entire world's wealth. You are unique – no one else can take your place. You are so important that God knows you by name, knows the number of hairs in your head, and knows your future!
(2) Takes care of Guilt. Your worth is so great to God that God wants you to live as a forgiven, restored, healthy, and happy son of God! You are a soul for whom Christ died! Greater value than that cannot be placed on anyone! He loves you so much that He is willing to cast away your sins in the 'sea of His forgetfulness.'
(3) Takes care of relieving anxiety – because we have one with us who is totally capable and able to deal with all of life's perplexities! You are worth more to God than any other thing in the world, and God has promised to take care of you!
(4) Deals with hostility against one another. We can be relaxed toward one another because we are loved by God. There is no need for carnal competition against one another. You don't need to compete for God's attention, for the Heavenly Father is capable of giving personal attention to each of His many children. God loves you as if you were the only one to be loved in His family!
"O God, pull me out of the mire of my own self-despisings. Let me stand erect before the world, chin up and eyes focused upon you and the needs of others. Surrendering my false ego to you just now, I am willing to allow you to love me. Love me into loving others with the security of a secure ego, cleansed and made whole through the blood of Christ. Amen."
AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY: I will begin this day to build my sense of self- worth upon God's estimate of me!
Learning To Deal With Insecurity
How do you deal with those terrible feelings of insecurity and inferiority? Become convinced of God's unconditional personal love for you as an individual. Then surrender to God's love for you. No longer hold bitterness toward God! The root cause of insecurity is, as one man said, "rejection of self with an unconscious bitterness toward God for making me the way He did." Begin therefore to look at yourself through God's point of view. No longer hold bitterness toward God for the 'frame' of your life which God gave to you. Instead, transfer your attention to the 'picture' – your soul – which is eternal and redeemable. Your 'frame' includes your personal background, physical appearance, talents, job, money, nationality, parentage – all of which are subject to competition and comparison which can produce insecurity and inferiority feelings. The 'picture' is the inner soul of man which is made for God's fellowship and which is redeemable. Centering on the external and perishable frame will only make you subject to competition and invites insecurity. Why build one's security on the basis of the 'frame' – the perishable qualities – which can be so easily compared with the 'frame' or another, leading to jealousy and ill feelings. Get your focus on Christ and off of others! "If we are living now by the Holy Spirit's power, let us follow the Holy Spirit's leading in every part of our lives. Then we won't need to look for honors and popularity, which lead to jealousy and hard feelings." (Galatians 5:25-26 Living Bible)
He who accepts God's wisdom in producing a great variety of 'frames' will thank God for his personal limitations as well as his assets. He who accepts God's love, which seeks to be personally applied to each per son, learns to replace temporal values with eternal values, and competitiveness with compassion.
How do you maintain your love for God, in light of your persistent imperfections and limitations which you observe in the 'frame' with which He created you? Following our initial and total surrender of ourselves to the great and loving Designer, we must "recognize the fact that God is not finished creating us and that His reputation is definitely at stake in the 'finished product'. Thus, it is a great deal easier to say, 'Lord, thank you for the way you have made me thus far' and to have a new confidence and expectation for what He will do in the future… It is not enough to thank God that we are not worse than we are. This is not really accepting ourselves. We must see, as God does, value in what He has already done." (Bill Gothard, quoted at a Seminar)
"Father, deliver me from my tendency to compare myself with others, which often leads to feelings of bitterness and jealousy. Help me to accept myself good-humoredly, to love others sincerely, and to know that God is developing within me the traits of inner beauty which shall make me both winsome and attractive to others."
AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY: Because God's reputation is at stake in the 'final product', I can rest assured that God's dealings with me has highest priority to God!
Discussion Questions On 'Freedom From Inferiority Complexes'
How can one distinguish between feelings of inferiority and a feeling of humility, especially in light of Philippians 2:3 and Romans 12:10?
What is the basis of true humility?
What is the result of true humility, in terms of one's attitudes towards himself and towards others?
Is it a sin to call oneself inferior? Why? or Why Not?
Why is idolizing others or comparing oneself with others devastating to one who is seeking to develop a wholesome self-esteem?
What does it mean to have a 'faith, sane estimate' of one's abilities?
In setting your own personal goals, what should you always keep in mind?
Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: "To get your eyes off of yourself and your inferiorities, you must get your eyes on Christ and lose yourself in His great purposes." (Why? Why Not?)
Suggest definite ways in which you can build self-confidence and get rid of your feelings of inferiority.
Specifically name some of the 'drawbacks' of basing your self-worth on human evaluation.
Tell specifically the advantages of deriving your self-worth on the basis of divine evaluation.
Tell how, deriving a sense of self-worth from God alone, takes care of feelings of inferiority, feelings or guilt, feelings of anxiety, and feelings of hostility against one another.
What is likely the root cause of feelings of deep insecurity?
What is the motivation for thanking God for your personal limitations as well as your personal assets?
How do you maintain your love for God, in light of your persistent imperfections and limitations which you observe in the 'frame' with which He created you?