Glorifying Thoughts: Emerson Shows
I have often found myself questioning my adequacy. I admittedly wrestle with a fear of being unwanted. It is, in most cases, an irrational fear of mine. Nevertheless, it is a real fear and it affects my daily life when untreated with the gospel. As a new Christian, this fear frequently led me to harsh thoughts about myself, completely starved of grace. I have since realized that these thoughts must be constantly transformed and renewed by the gospel in order for me to love myself and the Lord as I have been called. 1 Peter 2:1-3 reads, “So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation—if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.” For years I read this verse and found myself thinking, “I strive to do this, yet I continue to be unproductive and my growth is stunted… Why?” We have been called to fulfill this verse with our minds as much as with our tongues, and with ourselves as much as with others. To think maliciously or slanderously about oneself is in no way glorifying to Jesus. The gospel tells us that we matter, that we have a purpose, that we are loved, that we have been beautifully and wonderfully made. There is no ‘but’ statement. I often heard these truths, yet blocked them out with the overwhelming feeling that somehow, I was an exception. Certainly, in some regard, my imperfections belittle my worth… right? Wrong. These thoughts reveal a fundamental misunderstanding of the gospel. God created all, He created perfectly, and Jesus died and rose again for me. Self-deprecating thoughts must be put away and replaced with the truth, otherwise, these lies will fester and multiply. Putting away these negative thoughts requires intentionality. One must seek the Lord through His Word and through earnest prayer. Take advantage of practical methods such as seeking accountability and actively filtering thoughts. An effective way to filter thoughts is the think and replace method. Essentially, the think and replace method consists of taking wrong thoughts and replacing them with the truth. When I begin to feel unwanted, or when you begin to feel whatever it is you wrestle with, find Scripture to combat it. Replace those false thoughts with truth. When we actively pursue a healthy thought life and a self-love based on the gospel, we become “like newborn infants” that “long for the pure spiritual milk” and “grow up into salvation.” Reflecting on my past struggles, I can finally answer my question concerning 1 Peter 1:2-3 about stunted growth. What was the problem? I was not growing because I was not removing the evils of malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander from my self-image and from my thought life. To grow by removing these evil thoughts involves a deep longing for God’s Word, rooted in an understanding of the gospel and the love of Jesus Christ. God has called us to a self-love developed in the Lord. No one is perfect, we have been horribly tarnished by sin. But we are covered by the blood of Christ. God finds value in us, and He has loved us enough to restore us. We have been assured that our identities are not in our appearance, education, or relationships with peers. Our identities are in Christ, and we are children of God. Loving oneself is not an easy task, but it becomes more bearable when done under the power of Jesus and in light of this identity. Jesus makes us adequate. Next time you have a thought that is self-deprecating or in some way not glorifying to God, consider replacing it with biblical truth. Allow your mind and your self-image to be renewed by the Lord and His Word. We, as women of God, are worthy, loved, useful, and wanted. Regardless of our thoughts, this remains true. Let us intentionally seek these truths, so that we may bask in the joy of the self-assurance only given by God.