“As Jesus went on from there, He saw a man called Matthew, sitting in the tax collector’s booth; and He said to him, “Follow Me!” And he got up and followed Him.Then it happened that as Jesus was reclining at the table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were dining with Jesus and His disciples.When the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, “Why is your Teacher eating with the tax collectors and sinners?”But when Jesus heard this, He said, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick.“But go and learn what this means: ‘I desirecompassion, and not sacrifice,’ for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.””(Matthew 9:9–13, NASB95)
How do you view yourself? Pop culture feeds us many answers that you might find coming out of your mouth. But, for those who call themselves children of the living God, how do you see yourself?
Listen to great and godly people describe themselves, and you compare your answer with theirs:
- The Great Augustine, bishop of Hippo wrote, “Lord, save me from that wicked man, myself.”
- John Knox, the greatest preacher of the Scottish reformation, “In youth, in middle age, and now after many battles, I find nothing in me but corruption.”
- John Wesley, the great Methodist preacher wrote, “I am fallen short of the glory of God, my whole heart is altogether corrupt and abominable, and consequently my whole life being an evil tree cannot bring forth good fruit.”
- Augustus Toplady, the writer of the hymn “Rock of Ages” wrote, “Oh, that such a wretch as I should ever be tempted to think highly of himself. I am myself nothing but sin and weakness, in whose flesh naturally dwells no good thing.”
- And finally, the Apostle Paul wrote of himself in 1 Timothy 1:15, “The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.”
Now, I know that Dr. Phil and Oprah, and our schools, and psychologists and lots of preachers even, tell us that we need to have a high self-esteem about our worth. We need to think positively and love ourselves before we can love anything or anyone else….How’s that working for us? We have more crime and more selfishness and more laziness and self-indulgence than ever before, and people are not more happy with more stuff, but less so.
No, we need to turn to the Bible for a correct view of ourselves. Romans 3:10-12 says, “as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”
You see, the truth is, that people will not seek healing if they don’t know that they are sick. So, the first step in preaching the gospel to others and even ourselves is to declare this truth–Man is sinful and desperately wicked and spiritually dead. If we can grasp this and confess it before God, we can move on to respond to the good news of the gospel.
The Bible acts like a mirror revealing what our soul looks like to God. The world acts like a mirror too, but more like a fun-house mirror that distorts the truth and gives us a wrong impression about what we really look like. Don’t settle for the phony idea of who you are by looking to this world for answers. Instead open up the Bible and read about who God says you really are–both as a person who has rebelled against Him, and after being saved by Jesus Christ, as a person who has been forgiven and adopted by Him and is now His child forever. The truth matters and for the one who is willing to face the truth, heaven awaits.