The road to a good self-image is different than what you think.
MARCH 8, 2023
The road to a good self-image is different than what you think. Let’s talk, on Key Life.
If you’re sick of guilt and manipulation, and if you’re looking for an honest and thoughtful presentation of Biblical truth, you’ve come to the right place. This is Key Life with the founder of Key Life Network, Steve Brown. Keep listening for teaching that will make you free.
Now, if you’ve been listening this week, I’ve been talking about repentance. Now. It’s not what we think it is. Repentance, if you’re looking for a good working definition, and it comes from the Greek word used in the Bible for repentance, Metanoia, means a change of mind or a change of heart. It’s not in how you change, but what you think. It’s an attitudinal thing. And so, repentance is this. Repentance is knowing who God is. Repentance is knowing who you are. Repentance is knowing what you’ve done. And repentance is going to God with it. In the same way that David did in the 51st Psalm that I read to you yesterday. This is what repentance is, and he said it.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart. O God, you will not despise.
Now, as an aside, I feel like I ought to say something. Lament and repentance over our sin is not the pathway to a bad self image, but in fact a road to a healthy change, a healthy self-image, and the only road that will get you there. I’m often thought to be quite arrogant and sometimes I am, with nothing about which to be arrogant. But what others sometimes see as arrogance is simply a recognition that I am loved and valued when I didn’t deserve it by the only one whose opinion matters, the King of Kings, the God of the Universe, who calls me his child. It hard to be humble when you know that to be true. It’s hard to be humble when you know that you’re loved and you can’t experience love until you don’t deserve it. When you think it’s love cause you’ve done good, that’s reward. Love happens when you don’t deserve it and it is a pathway to a tremendous self-image. And so, if you’re a parent and you keep telling your kids how wonderful they are and how the world owes them and how they’re different than everybody else, you’re making a horrible mistake because they’re going to hit the wall of reality. And when they do, the people for whom they work, with whom they go to school, with whom they live are not going to be as nice as you are. And you talk about a bad self-image, that realization is it. But if you want to give your kids an incredible self-image after they’ve done something wrong, hug them. You might need to do some other things to make sure they know it was wrong. And then hug them and say, you know something kid, God loves you more than you could ever imagine. You’re more valuable to him than you could ever imagine. And you’re loved by me more than you can imagine. And you’re valued by me more than you can imagine. That juxtaposed with the badness is the road that leads to a good self-image. But I’m getting ahead of myself .Now, the question, if the lament of repentance is the pathway to laughter and freedom, how do we get there? Telling yourself that you are a horrible sinner deserving of nothing but God’s wrath, may be speaking truth to your heart, but it doesn’t work. And it’s not even close to enough. Intellectual ascent to Biblical truth about your sin is a good thing, but that doesn’t work either, nor does a theological analysis of human sin. The only thing that will set you free, listen to me, is genuine Biblical worship. Dane Ortlund, in a wonderful book, Gentle and Lowly: The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers, quotes Martin Lloyd Jones.
You will never make yourself feel that you are a sinner because there is a mechanism in you, as a result of sin that will always be defending you against every accusation.
We are all on very good terms with ourselves and we can always put up a good case for ourselves, even if we try to make ourselves feel that we are sinners, we can’t do it.
“There is only one way to know that we are sinners. And that is to have some dim, glimmering conception of God.”
That’s it. Worship and not just any kind of worship of any kind of God, but genuine worship of the Holy, sovereign, righteous, and big God revealed in Scripture. Or as Pete Alwinson says, a God who is large and in charge. Now, we’re going to pursue this in far more detail tomorrow because this sounds like a really down kind of teaching. It’s not, it’s a Biblical teaching and it was written and it was revealed for our sakes. That’s what the Bible does, the Bible is not a book to cause you to go jump off a bridge. The Bible is a book that was written to teach you how to fly, how to shine, how to laugh, and how to be free. And we’re going to talk about that some tomorrow. But first, repent, you’ll be better for it. You think about that. Amen.
It’s Wednesday and sometimes when I have time on Wednesday, we take some time to look at a one or two of your questions. And then Pete will be in on Friday and we’ll spend the whole broadcast looking at your questions. And we very much respect you for answering or for asking any question. And I’ve said it often, but I mean it, the only dumb question is the one you don’t ask. And you can feel free without being demeaned to ask any question of Key Life. You can do that by dialing 1-800-KEY-LIFE and that’s open 24 7 and recording your question. And sometimes we put your voice on the air. Or you can send your question to
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or you can e-mail your question to [email protected] and as I always say, those are touch places where if the spirit moves, you can help us financially. This is a very expensive ministry and we squeeze every dime for the glory of God. And when you help us, if you can, I promise we’ll be as faithful with your gift as you were in giving it. And if you can’t, we understand that too, do say a prayer for this ministry. Okay, let’s turn to one or two of these questions. How do I, this is an e-mail. What do I do about my struggle with assurance? Well, the first thing you need to recognize is that you’re not alone. Every Christian has had a struggle at one time or another with the problem of assurance. Now, that means assurance of salvation. How do I know that I’m saved? How do I know that Jesus loves me? And every Christian questions that on occasion because we’re still sinners and I’m here to help, so listen up. One way is to hammer down the date that Christ found you. And if you don’t have a date, do it right now. Say, Jesus, I’m a sinner, please save me. And then make that date a date that you refer to. And you have my permission to say to God, unless Jesus lied, and he never does, I belong to you. So, make that date your date. Now that works, that’s good, but there’s more. Reformed people have a doctrine called the Perseverance of the saints. And they say that as you persevere, and the more you persevere, the more assured you get of your own salvation. And frankly, there’s something to that. Sometimes I’m surprised by my sin and how bad I am, but sometimes I’m surprised at the good things that I do. And when I’m surprised, I should say to myself, where did that come from? And it came from no other place than from God’s Spirit that resides in me because I’m redeemed. And that’s a good way for assurance of salvation. But the best way I’m going to teach you right now, I don’t think, and I’ve been around a long time. I don’t think I have ever met a Christian who didn’t want to be better than he or she was. Now, they may not do it well. They may have a problem with being better, but every Christian I ever met, including you, would like to be better than we are. Now, let me ask you a question. Where did that desire come from? Was it because you were created good and you’re not good and you feel like you’re not what you’re supposed, no. It comes from one place and it comes from the conviction of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer. In other words, the very fact that you want to be better is a sign that you belong to him or you wouldn’t care. And then I would say to the person who asked this question on an e-mail, listen to me. You never would have asked the question in the e-mail you sent if you didn’t belong to him. That comes from him. Hey, enough, I’ve got to go. Key Life is a listener supported production of Key Life Network.