In today’s passage, it says the love of Christ controls us. Is the love of Christ controlling you today? If so, we are a new creature in Christ.
Have you ever had this dilemma and asked yourself: This is not the kind of marriage that I imagined or want. This is not the life that I want to live, at least the way I am living it right now. I don’t want to treat my children or spouse the same way that I do, but I can’t help it, I am stuck in the habit. I try to change my life and better at it but when I finish work and come home, I forget about it. When I get upset, it triggers and I lose my temper again. I believe 90% of the people on this earth have this kind of dilemma.
Even about our life of faith: I want to be more genuine and real, but it is more formality more than 50% of the time. Do you know why we have these regrets and dilemmas? We are like a car. A car drives, but without a driver, it cannot go anywhere. The car depends on the driver. Even automated cars need to be programmed by someone. We all have a driver sitting in the driver’s seat of my life, it all depends on that driver which direction I go and what kind of words I speak to other people and our children. Even if I want to do it a different way it comes out this way, because of the driver in me. If I have a dark and negative driver, it will drive my life to that path of darkness and depression. Even if the conditions of my life may be good enough, if the driver is dark it will go the wrong way.
Let us ask ourselves, who is that driver today? What drives me today? There are factors in our lives that drive us and the name of that driver is Self-image.
Jesus described it this way when He saw the disciples falling asleep in the Garden of Gethsemane: The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. That is who we are. We have that will. We want to live the right way and treat our family members the right way, but our flesh is so weak. The power of my self-image controls my range of thoughts, my creativity, my relationship with others, my words, my actions to others, my perspective in this world. The self-image decides who I am. Some people have a healthy self-image, others have an unhealthy self-image.
1. The power of words that form our self-image
The greatest influence in forming our self-image are the words we hear from our birth until now, especially during our infant stage between the ages of 1-4. For those who continue to hear good words, there is a much better chance for them to become good people. Those who hear bad words have a greater chance of becoming bad people.
The words that we hear changes our self-image.
Successful people, bright people, are raised with encouraging words, words of blessings, words of compliment. People who have a good healthy self-image have expressions, words, actions, interactions that are positive, genuine, and tend to have a happy virus which is contagious. People feel comfortable and pleasant. People with unhealthy self-image make people around them sensitive, they are hurt so much and sensitive that people around them cannot say anything.
Changing our self-image will change the direction of our lives, that changing takes place only in Jesus Christ. I pray that you and I will be renewed because unless our self-image is renewed and become new creatures in Christ, we cannot change anyone and cannot change anything. We cannot even give a good self-image to our children if we don’t have one.
I pray that you and I may let Jesus take away the wrong driver that has been driving my life. When the right driver comes into the driver’s seat in my life, we will find the right direction. The most powerful words are the Words of Jesus Christ. They are not human words but have spiritual power that can change matters. Adam and Eve rejected God’s Word and fell, they listened instead to the words of Satan who became mankind’s driver leading us to hell, darkness and selfishness. But God did not give up. Jesus came, He is the Word that came. When we accept this Word into us, He will cast out the old driver, the words of the serpent acting like he is the owner of our life.
2. Influence of parents in forming self-image
Parents have the most important role in forming their children’s self-image. Beautiful self-images can be formed by parents. When a child is born, in that child’s world, 2 angels are his 2 parents. The 2 pillars of his world. The child doesn’t think about the universe, planets, the whole earth. To that child, the parents are the world. We often try to teach our children and lecture them and scold them, but that takes up less than 10% of forming who they are. Do you what influences them to be who they are? Your ordinary daily activities and words. Our daily words and complaints, fights, or prayers, reading of the bible. The way the parents treat each other, the way the parents interact with other people. More than 90% of the child’s self-image is formed that way.
If we can start to accept each other and newcomers, whether they are Buddhists, Confucian, if they can experience the love of Christ, miracles will happen. Miracles happen to bring people to Christ and bring life, that can happen through you when you have the love of Jesus Christ to accept people.
So where do we find solution and healing? We need to be accepted. We need to learn to accept others. When the heart is healed, when the Word of God comes into us, unless this Holy Spirit works in us, we cannot forget and we cannot forgive. When we cannot forgive, whoever hurt me, the driver will never be changed. It is only through Jesus that we can forgive. Why? Because now I am accepted as I am. I sincerely pray that if you have not already, please believe and accept the fact that you are accepted. You are received by Jesus. When the heart is healed, the body heals too. Negative words and experiences cause our hearts to stiffen up and freeze up. If our hearts don’t melt and stay frozen, it will cause damage to other parts of our lives.
People who met Jesus become new creatures. You are a new person. Let us have hope. Let us if possible, pray for that person who hurt you, that God may save that person too. Ask Jesus: this is my current state, all these hurts, all these problems, can you receive me now? Because of this problem Jesus I have been hurting my spouse, my kids, it hurts me to see myself hurt them but I cannot change it. Lord you need to save me so that my family can be saved, you need to accept me so I can accept other people in the church.