I’ve been thinking about the way we perceive ourselves. Talking to some friends and co-workers it transpired to me that their present valleys dimmed their past victories. As I read and meditated on a few “Bible characters” I detected the same thing; some difficult circumstances weighted heavily on the way these saw themselves. I’ve noticed that the way they felt in any such situation dictated their self-image. Of course I have experienced the same thing in my own life. I wrote about it in my last post “THOUGHT LIFE – Do I control my mind or does my mind control me?”
One Bible character in particular really caught my attention, if there was ever anyone with a lack of identify Moses would be the perfect fit. He was born during a time of persecution. Pharaoh’s insecurity to the growing number of Hebrews led him to a killing of all infant boys. In order to save Moses’ life from this slaughter his mother hid him by the river’s bank among the reeds. Pharaoh’s daughter and her maids went there to bath and seeing the baby boy took him to raise as her own.
So Moses grew up as an adopted son in a royal family but having in his veins the very bloodline hated by his adopted grandfather. His own biological mother, by divine intervention, nursed him. Probably she instilled in him the fear of the One True God; but he was raised in the palace among the pagan gods of Egypt. Moses was not the firstborn in his own family and he was not in line for Pharaoh’s throne in the palace either. He was not an Egyptian by birth and not a Hebrew by culture. So who was he?
After defending one of his own Hebrew brothers Moses fled to the land of Midiam. He realized he didn’t belong in any of the two groups – he was not recognized as a Hebrew by his own bloodline and he was not in agreement with his adopted royal family. After finding comfort at Reuel’s house and marrying Zipporah his daughter Moses reconsidered his identity. When his first son was born he named him Gershom saying, “I have been a stranger in a foreign land” Exodus 2:22.
Moses a well-educated royal man was living isolated tending the flock of his father-in-law. He felt “strange” in a land that wasn’t his own. He shows this lack of self-identity when God calls him from the burning bush and commands him to go back to Egypt as a leader. His answer was, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” Exodus 3:11. Moses probably had a flash back of his past 80 years and felt unworthy of doing anything for the Lord.
A distorted image of ourselves will affect every area of our lives until we re-adjust the focus of our self-view. Unfortunately, sometimes we say things or make decisions under the influence of an inaccurate self-view causing a ripple of negative consequences. So a question may arise, how can I change the way I view myself when things around me give me a bad reflection of myself? The answer lies on our purpose who we were created to be and not on the misleading image our surroundings is throwing back at us. Our Creator has the final word about our identity.
Look at God’s response to Moses, “But I will be with you…” Exodus 3:12. God never focused on Moses’ frailty but on His own character – who He is and not who Moses thought he wasn’t. Back on verse 6 God’s introduction of Himself was, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” He was making Moses put his focus on Him, the God who was always there with his ancestors through all their lives. God is able. He is with us. He promised never to leave us Deuteronomy 31:8; Isaiah 41:10-13; Hebrews 13:6.
We see the same thing in the life of Gideon. You can read his story in Judges 6. God called him with the following words, “The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor” Judges 6:12. But Gideon felt totally opposite of being a man of valor. He felt small, afraid and unworthy. Again, God responds focusing on Himself and not on Gideon. The Angel of the Lord says, “But I will be with you, and you shall strike the Midianites as one man” Judges 6:16. In other words God was saying that it doesn’t matter how you feel because when you set your focus on Him you will see His reflection in yourself.
We were “fearfully and wonderfully made,” knitted together; we are His masterpiece. Our mirror shall always be God’s Word. When we are in close connection to His teachings and promises we grow. Like branches sprouting from a trunk without any struggle we will grow extracting from the root Jesus Christ. His strength will be manifested in us and in the middle of every trial we will be able to say, “The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” Psalms 118:6. His Word is powerful to transform our minds giving us the right standing in our identity. I am who He says I am. He, the Almighty God, is with me.
“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” Isaiah 26:3
“He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord.” Psalms 112:7
“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13