My pastor is doing a series of messages on the book of Ephesians called I.D. Three weeks ago when he announced this new series I was intrigued. I like the book of Ephesians. I memorized several of the verses as a child in Sunday School and Bible School. He started at the beginning, explaining that this is a letter to the Christians in Ephesus or modern day Turkey. He explained the customs and traditions of the culture and described Artemis, the goddess who was the prominent deity of the day. I have to tell you that it doesn’t sound to me like the culture in Ephesus was very far removed from what we know today, though some of their traditions may be considered less socially acceptable than what is practiced today.
The Ephesians worshipped beauty and perfection and any child born that was less than perfect was placed on a pile of dung or trash heap to be exposed to the elements and left to die. Can you imagine this? It sounds horrible, doesn’t it? The reality is that many in the 21st Century do the same type of things…but they think it is more acceptable because they do it before the child is born.
Beauty and physical perfection is worshipped today the same, if not more, than it was back in the days of the Ephesians. You can’t go anywhere without being bombarded with photographs of gorgeous men and women on the covers of magazines and tabloids. Today’s media blatantly promotes the bold and the beautiful, the young and the rich, the stars and the athletes. People who are plain, overweight or homely are considered “less than” by many, without even getting to know that person’s character or personality.
I’m as guilty as anyone of judging myself with a yardstick of what the world considers beautiful, intelligent and succssful. Unfortuntely, in my eyes, when I do this I fall short of the mark everytime; then I get discouraged. I don’t see what I want in the mirror or when I step on the scale. I don’t have that diploma hanging on the wall that says I have completed my degree in anything. I don’t have a job that is considered prestigious or all that important, and I could easily be replaced. I failed many times as a parent to my children and as a spouse. I am not the daughter, sister or friend that I should be.
I was thinking about this following the morning’s message and talked to my husband about it, too. He asked me who we are to compare ourselves to if not other people. I thought about it. A lot.
Would it be Jesus or God? Obviously not. I can’t compare myself with perfection, no way. Still, if not Jesus, and not others, then who?
I laid down to take a short nap in the afternoon, still thinking about what standard I should be measuring myself with. Then it dawned on me! I should compare my vision of myself with the way God sees me!
My Heavenly Father sees me as His daughter. Loved. Wanted. Created by Him, for His pleasure. He adopted me into His family. He knows me as His beloved child whom He would (and did) give His life for. I am blessed. I am accepted (just the way I am). I am redeemed and forgiven! I am a masterpiece, designed by the Creator of the Universe!
So, if I see myself differently than God sees me…which one of us is wrong?