Girlfriends in God - Thursday, April 24, 2014

April 24, 2014
In His Eyes
Part 2
Mary Southerland

Today's Truth
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.  My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be (Psalm 139:14-15, NIV).

Friend to Friend
God can set you free to be all He created you to be.  A healthy self-image is not rooted in pride and it does not exalt self above others.  In Romans 12:3, Paul clearly says, "Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you." Success comes when we learn to accept God's evaluation instead of our own, when we give Him permission to make us what He created to be and when we begin to understand who we are in His eyes.  How?  Let's look at six steps we can take to understand who we are in the eyes of God. 

Step one: Check the label.
Step two: Embrace the plan.

Step three: Be yourself.
We should always be looking for something new to learn, an area where we can grow and changes that need to be made.  Sit down with your mate or close friend and ask for a realistic evaluation of your strengths and weaknesses.  Constantly search for gifts and abilities and then take one of those abilities and work on it.  Don't be afraid of change.  It is a sign of life and of growth.  Change what needs to be changed, accept what you cannot change and quit whining about it!  I know so many women who wasting so much life trying to be something they were never created to be – kind of like a hand trying to be a toe.  We need to stop questioning God's design and kicking against the plan.  An old man from the mountains of North Carolina, who was known for his extraordinary wooden carvings of dogs, was once asked, "How do you take a block of wood and create such beauty?" The old mountain man replied, "Well, I just take my knife and carve away everything that doesn't look like a dog." Learning to see your self through the eyes of God is like "carving away" everything that is not part of the original design – God's plan – and then learning how to accept what remains.
 
Step four: Guard your mind.
Scripture is very clear on the point that the mind is the main battlefield in spiritual warfare and is especially important in the battle of discovering who we are in Christ. 

Proverbs 23:7 "For as he thinks within himself, so he is."

Colossians 3:2 "Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things."

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 "For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."

We are bombarded on all sides by the media, family and friends, co-workers and even enemies.  They all have a certain identity that they want to assign to us. We have a choice.  No one makes us feel inferior without our permission.  We will become what we allow our heart and mind to dwell on.  An old saying says it well.  "You can't keep a bird from flying over your head but you can keep it from building a nest in your hair." In other words, it is impossible to avoid destructive thinking entirely.  We will be tempted.  We will have negative thoughts and temptations, but we do not have to allow them to dwell in our mind.  God has given us a "garbage disposal" for the mind.

Philippians 4:8 "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things."

We once lived in Miami, Florida, a place where ships come from all over world. However, before a ship is allowed to dock, an inspection team goes aboard with one assignment.  Find every bit of contamination on board that ship. If contamination of any kind is found, the ship must be quarantined until it is cleaned up and inspected again.  Then, and only then, is that ship allowed to dock.  We need to control our thought life in the same way. 

Step five: Control your tongue.
Our words either build up or tear down.  Scripture tells us not to curse others because they are made in the image of God.  So are we. We need to apply this truth to our own life.  As a mom, I constantly warn our children about the danger of critical words.  I want them to learn how to encourage others with their words as well as have a healthy picture of who they are.  One day, while standing in front my bathroom mirror, I began talking to myself about something stupid that I had done.  I didn't notice that our son, Jered, was quietly standing in our bedroom door where he could hear every word I said.  "Mom, who are you talking to?" he asked.  Oops!  I sheepishly replied, "I was talking to myself."  He thought for a moment and then offered a convicting observation, "Boy, if I talked like that, I'd be in big trouble!" I was immediately reminded of the words in Psalm 141:3.  "Set a guard over my mouth, O LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips." 

In our own lives, we need to stop putting ourselves down and in the lives of others, we need to encourage and look for reasons to praise God.  We must learn to celebrate the good in each other.  Words are like seeds.  What we plant will grow.  If we sow destructive, critical words, we will reap a life that is negative and critical but if we sow words of truth, we will reap a life of peace and purpose, knowing who we are in His eyes.

"Dear Father, help me to bridle my tongue, so that on judgment day, I will not be found guilty of assault with a deadly weapon!"

Step six: Be Patient
Weeds spring up overnight but it takes years for a mighty oak to grow. Today, you can take the first step toward gaining a new perspective of who you are in Christ.  Our Father says it this way in Philippians 1:6, "And I am sure that God who began the good work within you will keep right on helping you grow in his grace until his task within you is finally finished on that day when Jesus Christ returns."

Let's Pray
Lord, I want to know You more and learn to see myself as You see me.  Please help me recognize and guard against anything or anyone who would chip away at Your truth working in my life.  I believe You love me and cherish me as Your daughter.  Help me to walk in that value and worth and then lead others to do the same.  I praise You for validating my very existence as part of Your heart's plan.  I love You, Father.  I pray all of these things in Jesus' name,
Amen.

Now It's Your Turn
Here is your assignment for the week.  Read Psalm 139 at least one time every day.  In your journal, write each verse in your own words.  At the end of the week, set aside time to celebrate who you are in Christ.  Have a praise party – just you and God – or invite a few friends to join you in celebrating your identity in Him. 

More from the Girlfriends
Looking for a Bible Study that is both practical and powerful?  Check out Mary's E-Book Bible Studies. Each one includes a study guide and you can download each study for your personal use or for a small group study.

Are you discouraged? Check out Mary's weekly online Bible Study, Down … but NOT Out! And be sure to connect with Mary on Facebook or through email.

Seeking God? 
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Girlfriends in God
P.O. Box 725
Matthews, NC 28106

info@girlfriendsingod.com
www.girlfriendsingod.com

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