by Cris Corzine-McCloskey

My deepest awareness of myself is that I am deeply loved by Jesus Christ and I have done nothing to earn it or deserve it. ― Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel

So here we are, at the start of another new year.  Inevitably, this is the time of year when people do an internal inventory of their lives and bodies and embark on a journey of ‘resolutions’ to fix the things they do not like about themselves.  If you are one of those individuals, you probably already know that statistically speaking, the odds are against you.  In fact, according to Statistic Brain.com, twenty-five percent of us do not even hold our resolution through the first week.  Why is this type of self-improvement so difficult?  Personally, I think it is because these types of change are all about self-effort, and any time we put ‘self’ in the forefront we are prone toward failure.  Maybe that is because God has a better way.

For starters, when is the last time that you looked at yourself in the mirror and told yourself that you are an amazing temple of God, or looked deep into your own eyes and told Jesus, “hey, I see you in there, and you are astonishing!”  I seriously doubt that many of our readers have ever even considered it and think it sounds ludicrous.  Yet Paul told us to do that very thing in 2 Cor. 3:18 when he wrote, “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory.”  That means that as a believer, you shine with the glory of the Lord, he dwells within you, and I truly believe He is way more interested in you seeing that than anything else about yourself.

This was the problem Paul had with the Corinthians, who sorely needed some behavior modification, and you can almost feel his frustration when he told them in 1 Cor. 3:16, “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and the Spirit of God is dwelling in you?”  Despite their failures, he pointed them inward to Christ instead of outward to their failures.  Why?  Because he knew that if they accepted the miracle of their re-birth, everything about them would change.  Same goes for you.  You are a miracle, a walking, talking, mobile home of the very presence of God.  This has been called “the mystery of the ages” (Col. 1:26), the fact that Christ dwells within us.  It is also a mystery that the devil does not want you to realize, because just like Paul knew with the Corinthians, when we contemplate the fact that the glorious presence of God lives within us, it is a game changer.

This was the problem Paul had with the Corinthians, who sorely needed some behavior modification, and you can almost feel his frustration when he told them in 1 Cor. 3:16, “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and the Spirit of God is dwelling in you?”  Despite their failures, he pointed them inward to Christ instead of outward to their failures.  Why?  Because he knew that if they accepted the miracle of their re-birth, everything about them would change.  Same goes for you.  You are a miracle, a walking, talking, mobile home of the very presence of God.  This has been called “the mystery of the ages” (Col. 1:26), the fact that Christ dwells within us.  It is also a mystery that the devil does not want you to realize, because just like Paul knew with the Corinthians, when we contemplate the fact that the glorious presence of God lives within us, it is a game changer.

Conversely, when we fix our eyes on Christ, and the fact that Christ dwells inside of us, something remarkable happens…radical self-acceptance!  We can’t get us off our mind until we accept ourselves.  I came to the conclusion a while back that if He made me, and then chose to live inside of me, that must mean He likes me and He is responsible for changing me.  I cannot tell you the relief that has come from that realization.  I am uniquely created by God, there is only one me, and the Creator of the universe (which I have to admit is smarter than I am) is wild about me.  Not only that, He dwells inside of me, and 1 John 4:17 claims, “As He is, so am I in this world.”  Last time I checked He is altogether lovely (Songs 5:16), and full of peace (John 14:27).  He is also powerful and loving, and He never had a problem with self-acceptance.  That dwells inside of you as a believer.  There is such greatness and majesty inside you!

The prophet Isaiah declared that New Covenant believers would have a crown of beauty, oil of joy, a garment of praise, and would be called an Oak of Righteousness, a display for God’s splendor (Isaiah 61:3).  That’s you!  You are an Oak of Righteousness, and God is displaying His splendor in and through you.  If that doesn’t make you hold your head up a bit higher, I don’t know what will.  You are a unique and wonderful creation, and all of Heaven rejoiced at your re-birth.  Now you have an assignment, and that is to accept the fact that Christ lives within you, and start letting that marvelous indwelling come out.  This can only happen when we begin to see ourselves as the miracle that we are.

Mick Mooney said it best in this statement, “You matter. Your life is not only a gift to you, but to all of us too. Your unique place in this world and your unique personality, dreams and ideas are significant. When you wake it may feel like no one notices, but one day you’ll realize that every day you stood up to take your place in the world, heaven rejoiced. Life is not always easy, but never confuse the difficult times with your own worth and significance. You matter. More than all the stars in the sky, you matter.  Stand up. Be brave. All of heaven is cheering you on.”

 

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