Impacting Cities & Communities thru Prayer
A Community of Prayer Champions, Praying Churches, Prayed-for Communities
“You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely. You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain” (Psalm 139:1-6).
Our identity as humans is under fire. If you look into the secret lives of people in all walks of life, you find individuals who try to look big on the outside but who are crying deeply for love on the inside. A worldwide problem is not being able to love ourselves the way that God loves us. Most of us do not do this well.
I remember a few years ago when we were having awakening services several nights a week here at the International House of Prayer. One of the main problems that kept coming up in many of the services, especially among young people, was self-hatred. The fact that is apparent worldwide is that mankind has a hard time loving themselves in the right way. And this is prevalent among Christians.
But if we want the freedom to pray wholeheartedly without limitations, we must have a right view of ourselves. We are God's masterpiece.
We live in a world that tells us that we are ok only if we are more beautiful, have a more important job, and are skinnier or more athletic. Then we will be acceptable and life will go our way. The problem is that most of us do not measure up to the ideals we see in the media, and we are listening to the wrong voices all the time. We are constantly bombarded with the wrong messages in school, on TV, and on the internet. Self-hatred comes with seeing our worth and success according to the flesh and comparing ourselves with the values of this evil world.
But what does the Bible say to all of us who are seeking God wholeheartedly and truly want to see ourselves through His eyes?
How many really believe this? If we did, we would walk in a new nobility with our head held high, not because of pride, but because of the remarkable dignity we have as children of God. We are made in His image. We are to see ourselves in light of the truths of Jesus’ work on the cross. We are not to minimize how much God enjoys loving us because He does, and He thoroughly enjoys being loved by us. He loves it when we spend time with Him basking in His love.
“Our greatest emotional need is to have the assurance that we are enjoyed by God even in our weakness. Every person was created with a longing to be delighted in and enjoyed by God. A prevailing stronghold in many today is related to rejection and shame. This stronghold hinders our ability to receive God’s love and to enjoy Him, His Word, and the work of the kingdom.” Mike Bickle
Most people do not have a clear sense of their personal identity even when they do a great work in the world’s eyes. An example is the famous German philosopher Schleiermacher who did much to shape the progress of modern thought. As an old man he was sitting on a city park bench. A policeman thought he was a bum and came and shook him. He asked this famous philosopher, “Who are you?” Schleiermacher sadly replied, “I wish I knew.”
This sad reality is multiplied by the rich and famous all over the world. Outwardly impressive but inwardly longing to know who they really are. Working feverishly to keep up their image in the public eye, they are looking in every direction for love and personal identity but are not finding it.
Why are there so many suicides among young people today? Why so much depression and discouragement? Because our enemy wants to destroy our identity in Christ, and he will do everything he can to tell us how far we have fallen short. He will try his hardest to lead people into such depression so that they will even take their own life because of their agonizing pain. Let’s look at the gravity of this huge problem:
Depression is the #1 disability in the world and the strongest risk factor in suicide. Suicide takes the lives of nearly 30,000 Americans every year and is the 10th leading cause of death. Between 1952 and 1995, suicide in young people nearly tripled and is the third leading cause of death. An average of one person dies by suicide every 16.2 minutes. It is estimated that there were 811,000 suicide attempts in just one year. See http://www.save.org for more information.
Crowned with Glory and Honor
“You have crowned him with glory and honor, and set him over the works of Your hands” (Hebrews 2:7).
Every one of us is important. Every one of us has a God-ordained destiny that only we can complete. No other person in all of history can do and be what God has designed you for. Yes, you are fearfully and wonderfully made. When we know this love deep in our heart that God has towards us, we are empowered to love others deeply and to pray extravagantly. God delights in the person that He made us to be. Don’t despise your appearance, status, gifting, or ministry assignment. It is so important to God. In fact, there is nobody who can do what God has specially designed you for. Remember Ephesians 2:10 every time you get down about yourself – you are His unique and special workmanship. You are God's masterpiece.
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”
God sees us differently than we do. He does not agree with man’s fleshly view of what is weak, ugly, and worthless. He actually chooses the weak things of the world to put to shame what appears strong according to the flesh (1 Corinthians 1:27). We must agree with what He values. We must look at things from an eternal viewpoint, not from the world system.
We must focus on who we are in Christ, not according to the flesh and how we look, make money, etc. We must seek who we are according to the Spirit (God’s eyes) so that we can love ourselves. Self-hatred comes from seeing ourselves according to the flesh and then comparing ourselves with others who are big in the world’s eyes (2 Corinthians 10:12). We are new creatures in Christ!
“So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”
(2 Corinthians 5:16-17).
We are to acknowledge and hate our sinful desires, but we are to love who we are in Christ. We have no confidence in our flesh (Philippians 3:3-8). We died to our old life, failure and identity (Colossians 3:2-4). God loves our every act of obedience in small and big ways. He sees us as successful. We have a glorious inheritance (Eph. 1:17-18).
We can love with God’s love when we know our true identity. Embrace His love today by loving yourself the way He does. He carefully and lovingly knit you together in your mother’s womb with His own hands! Every single part of you inside and outside was fashioned with His master hand. You are His masterpiece. Don’t look at yourself through man’s eyes; look at yourself through God’s. You are His beloved child. You are crowned with glory and honor.
Now one of the most famous phrases spoken here at the International House of Prayer is this: "I am God's favorite!" And this is so true because we are all God's favorites! We are each uniquely designed by His master hand.
You must watch this video called The Father's Heart and let it touch your heart. Put on some quiet worship music, sit or kneel in God's presence, meditate on Psalm 139, and listen to what God says to you. Write it down, and thank God that you are His masterpiece. You are fearfully and wonderfully made.
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 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. How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand…” (Psalm 139:13-18).
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