You Are Not the Sum of Your Mistakes
Originally Posted on Joy Comes in the Morning
I spoke with a friend recently who is going through some discouraging struggles. Issues of self-worth, identity, and some very pointed personal attacks on her character. I hurt for her, especially since I have gone through some of those same trials myself.
We all tend to be hard on ourselves. We are critical of our bodies, our choices, and our mistakes. And when someone else is piling on to that negative self-talk it can get overwhelming and demoralizing. But the Enemy loves it!
The Bible says that Satan “prowls around like a roaring lion, searching for someone to devour” (1 Pet. 5:8) and that he is the “Accuser of the brethren” (Rev. 12:10). He hates us. He hates you! And one of his favorite tricks is to make you believe that your identity is only the sum of your mistakes.
You yelled at your kids today. You didn’t accomplish any of your goals this week. You didn’t love well. You didn’t open your mouth when you should have shared your faith with that person. You made a mistake at work, you failed a test, you ate too much, you are divorced, you were abused, you are worthless etc. etc. etc. The Accuser loves to add his opinions to your own self-criticism and that of critics around you.
If we take any of these things and build our self-worth based on our failings then we are not embracing our identity in Christ.
Who does the Word say we are?
-We are children of God (John 1:12)
-We are justified (Romans 5:1)
-We belong to God (1 Cor. 6:20)
-We are being perfected (Phil 1:6)
-We are citizens of God’s Kingdom (Phil 3:20)
-We are redeemed (bought back) by Christ (Eph. 1:8)
-We are forgiven (Eph. 1:8)
-We have access to the Father (Eph. 2:18)
-We are a dwelling of the Holy Spirit (Eph. 2:22)
-We are dead to sin (Romans 1:12)
These are only a fraction of the wonderful things that define our identity in Christ. But what does this mean for our day-to-day lives? It means that, if you are a part of the Kingdom of God, you are already identified by Jesus’s righteousness, not your sinful behavior.
Yes, we will all struggle with our flesh, until our flesh is no longer an issue. Yes, we will sin, we will fail, but this is not our identity any more. We are now free to live our lives in the knowledge that if we confess our sins the Father is “faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). We are no longer under the condemnation of the law and are now free to obey God’s laws out of love for him and as an act of worship.
Have you been feeling like you are a failure? Or, that because you are not up to someone else’s arbitrary standards, you are not worth anything? How can you combat these negative thoughts and accusations by Satan and the world? The best way is to do what Jesus did, when Satan tried to do a number on him. He quoted scripture.
The Word of God is not a dead thing, it is alive and it is powerful. Use this weapon to protect yourself when the flaming arrows of lies assault you. Look up the verses above and memorize a couple to have in your arsenal or memorize all of them. I will absolutely guarantee that the Holy Spirit will bring the words to mind when you need them, if you determine to hide God’s word in your heart.
Another thing to do when you are down is to dig into the Psalms. David was by no means a perfect man, he sinned egregiously at times. He was a murder and adulterer. Yet he was lauded by God as a man after his own heart. David was constantly under attack by King Saul, his enemies, and also by depression, guilt, and accusations from Satan. Take solace in the words of a man who struggled with his own sin and yet learned to continuously lay himself before the throne of God—a man become a hero of faith and was given the honor of having his throne established forever through his descendant Jesus Christ.
God can, and will, do great things with your life if you will stop condemning yourself, stop allowing Satan to accuse you, and follow God’s words with the freedom in knowing that you are not dead in sin anymore. You are a new creation. Here’s a great verse to add to that arsenal:
“Anyone who belongs to Christ is a new person, the past is forgotten and everything is new.” 2 Cor. 5:17
Do you have a hard time accepting your identity in Christ? What verses bring you the most comfort when hurtful words are aimed at you, from the world, the flesh, and the Devil?