What a broad and unending subject! Did you ever notice how the world around you impacts your life in a positive way? How it builds you up, and edifies your life?
I didn’t think so! Me neither!
We are constantly bombarded with thoughts of insignificance, incompetence, and worthlessness. We are told that our thoughts and our actions just don’t matter. According to “America’s Health Rankings” put out by the CDC, in 2018 alone, there were approximately 1.4 Million suicide attempts! Can you imagine that?! So many people were so depressed that they came to the wrong conclusion that the God-given, beautiful gift of LIFE was no longer worth it!
Since we’re in this world together, I think we can all come to the realization that everyone has experienced feelings of inadequacy, depression, worthlessness etc., at some time in our lives. And if so, READ ON! You’re in the RIGHT PLACE!
First, let me share a bit of my life with you (a “testimony” can sometimes add clarity to an issue). When I was about 15 years old, we lived in a smaller town. I took up music and began playing in local bands, and became quite popular among my peers. Life was great!
But that changed abruptly when my father was offered a significant promotion in a larger city. We moved, and I lost my friends, my lifestyle, and found myself alone and ill equipped to cope with a large city environment. I don’t know if you have ever experienced going from a “small town” lifestyle to a “big city” one, but it can be quite traumatic, especially for a 15-year-old. I found myself in the midst of peer pressure from gangs and people who just plain resented me being “on their turf.” There were times when I would walk the train tracks, just to avoid people, and to avoid getting mugged by groups of youths who lived for the chance to attack you in numbers. At night, I would sometimes cry myself to sleep and pray. I’d ask God why the world was such an UGLY, CRUEL PLACE. Why didn’t people like me, and why didn’t I have friends?
I wanted to die…
One day, a beautiful young lady shared a scripture with me. That scripture set me free, because I finally had an answer to why things were the way they were in the world. The curtain was torn back and my adversary was exposed!
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world-rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”Ephesians 6:12 (REV)
“REALITY” sank in! The “Devil did it!” He is the influence in this world. He is the source of all evil and hatred, and he alone causes our misery! And how did I know this? Well, it’s like the children’s song says: “Because the Bible tells me so.” But God didn’t stop there! He goes on to tell us in Ephesians 6 that we can (and should!) “take up the whole armor of God so that [we] will be able to withstand in the evil day…” Notice how beautifully God tells us “take up” the armor…You take it up! He won’t force you. It’s all up to you and me to do the “taking up”.
So, now the million-dollar question: HOW do we take it up? As you read on in Ephesians 6, the answer becomes clear. We must PUT GOD’S WORD IN OUR HEARTS. God has paved the road for us, but if we stay in the weeds on the side of the road and don’t do our job, well, then we can’t go down the road in our muscle car with the top down, singing along with “Groovin’ on a Sunday Afternoon” on the radio!
My wonderful friends, God loves you so much (John 3:16) and He wants the very best for you! Gee Whiz! In Luke 12:7, Jesus told us that God even has “the hairs on our head numbered”!!! (Now in my case, that may not be so hard, being partially bald! But in your case….) Of course, we all know that the emphasis of this verse is on His LOVE for us!
The very fact that He does love you makes you so very special indeed! There is no other YOU on the face of this earth! That makes you unique and very special! And like a good ol’ southern boy told me one time, “God didn’t make any junk.”
That’s right! You are not junk. You are His MASTERPIECE, and He has a very special job just for you that NO ONE ELSE can do as efficiently!
So in closing my message, I will leave you with a challenge that someone gave to me one time in a Bible Class: Put away all of your other reading materials, turn off CNN news, and take one month to just read the Bible every morning. If you will take up the challenge, at the end of the month you will not recognize yourself! If you will make the commitment for one solid month to make God’s thoughts (the Bible!) your thoughts, then I promise that you will love yourself and appreciate who you are in Christ even more! God Bless you!!!