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God's Not Mad at You
There’s a right and wrong way to get a good self-image.

There’s a right and wrong way to get a good self-image.

NOVEMBER 17, 2020

/ Programs / Key Life / There’s a right and wrong way to get a good self-image.

Steve Brown:
There’s a right and wrong way to get a good self-image. Let’s talk on Key Life.

Matthew Porter:
This is Key Life with our host, author and seminary professor Steve Brown he’s nobody’s guru. He’s just one beggar telling other beggars where he found bread. If you’re hungry for God, the real God behind all the lies you’ve come to the right place.

Steve Brown:
Thank you Matthew. We’re looking at Paul’s great comments on the law of God and what the law of God does. And we’ve seen that it’s a curse, but it’s also a blessing, because it restrains. You know, if you want to have a better life than you have right now, even if you’re not a believer. Read the Bible, find out what God says and as best you can live by it, and you’ll be better off, because the law is a curse, but it’s also a blessing. The curse is that you can’t, and the more you try, the harder it gets, but it does restrain and it becomes a kind of a whisper in our conscience. Like, don’t go there don’t do that. C.S. Lewis in his book, Mere Christianity makes that one of the greatest arguments for the existence of God, the universal existence of a knowing of what is right and what is wrong. Well, the law puts that down clearly, and then we saw yesterday, not only does the curse of the law restrain, it also reveals, Galatians 3:24, 3:19, Romans 4:15, Romans 3:20, Romans 7:7, Romans 7:13, and a pile of others. In a book titled Dreams and the Dream Life, Olive Schreiner has this passage. Let me read it to you.

I thought I stood in heaven before God’s throne and God asked me what I had come for, I said I had come to arraign my brother man, because he is not worthy and my hands are clean. I showed them. God said, how is this? And I said, dear God, the streets of earth are full of mire. If I should walk straight on in them, my outer robe might become besotted. You’ll see how white it is, therefore I pick my way, and God said, on what? I was silent and I let my robe fall. I wrapped my mantle around my head and I went out softly. I was afraid the angels would see.

Oh, my, that even causes me to wince. You know, what’s wrong with us? Self righteousness, that’s what’s wrong with us. Self-righteousness is a lot more dangerous than you could possibly imagine. Let me recommend a great book to you, it’s by my friend, Brant Hansen, and it’s called The Truth About Us. You know something?, you can’t write a book on self righteousness without being self-righteous. But if anybody can do it, he did it because he’s so funny. Every other page, got me in the giggles, but every other page convicted me and allowed me to see the truth about me. The self-righteous thing, you know, what’s wrong with our political system?, self righteousness. You know what’s wrong with the way we talk on social media? Listen, it’s self-righteousness. Do you know, what’s wrong with the world?, it’s self righteousness. It’s them and us and we’re pure and they aren’t. And we’re going to cancel those who aren’t. Let me tell you the truth, there ain’t nobody righteous, nobody. The Bible is very clear anthropologically and it says some very bad things about human nature. How do I know that?, listen, because of the law. If people would take the time to study the Bible and measure them, not by their friends or by the books they read, but by what the law says, we would say with the man who went before God and talked about his white robe,

I was silent and I let my robe fall. I wrapped my mantle about my head and went out softly. I was afraid that the angels would see me.

Whenever someone says, however, they say it, I’m a good person. I don’t even try to tell them about Christ. They’re not ready. I tell them about God and his demands and his law. Because if you weren’t thirsty, you won’t drink the water, then there’s something else. Not only does the curse of the law restraint and reveal, it also defines. In other words, it’s a mirror, Galatians 3:21.

Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not! For if the law had been given which could make alive, then righteousness would indeed be by the law.

You see the law, doesn’t just wipe you out. We have an over-concern with self image, and if I read one more book on how to have a good self image, I think I’m going to die. Let me tell you how you get a self image by starting with a bad one, that’s how. You know how you get us self image? You know, we tell our children you’re wonderful and they’re not. We tell them you dear, the world owes you because you’re so wonderful, and they’re not. And then they hit the reality of who they really are and they get destroyed. There needs to be an honest assessment of human nature, and that’s what the Bible gives us. Now you get to a good self-image because you’re loved. Jesus likes me more than he likes you, about 10 percent. We get a self image, not by being pure and wonderful and good looking and nice. We get a good self image by knowing a bad self image and being loved anyway. The law of God, when you see it, makes you want to be different. It doesn’t just wipe you out, it says, not only are you not living it, you ought to be different. And frankly, I do. I’ve said this a thousand times, because I get accused of promoting sin on this broadcast or in my teaching or my books. I don’t do that. Listen, I’ve been doing this for a long time and I know how destructive sin is, in my life and the lives of people I love and the people I know. It’s a bad thing and I want to be good. In fact, you have never met a person who wants to please God more than I do. Where did I get that? I got it from a law. If I could just do that. If I could just be better. If I could just be kinder. If I could just be more loving. Pascal said this.

Christianity is strange. It bids man recognize that he is vial, even abominable and then bids him desired to be like God. Without such a counter pose, the dignity would make him horribly vain or the humiliation would make him terribly abject.

That’s wise, the law attracts me. It really does. And it does everybody else, even if they don’t admit it, I mean, I read the Scripture and I underline a lot of it and I just say, that’s going to be me. I’m going to be that way. I’m going to work harder at it, than you would believe. I’m going to give my life to be godly. I want to be Holy the way God is, I want to be different than I am. I want to be better than I am. I really do think that, and everybody who studies the law feels exactly the same thing. And that is a definition that is good. And it’s a part of the blessing of the curse of the law. Let me show you something else. It’s the fourth one, not only does the curse of the law restrain us. It could be a lot worse. Not only does it reveal like a mirror, not only does it define, what I really want, it also points and we’re going to, I’m running out of time, but we’ll talk about it more tomorrow, Galatians 3:22.

But the Scripture consigned all things to sin, that what was promised to faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.

What’s Paul saying here? Paul’s simply saying that when you’re thirsty, you’ll look for water and what isn’t water, won’t satisfy, that if you’re hungry, really hungry, you’ll look for food and a fake apple won’t do it. He is saying that when you look at the law, And you realize the desire that God has given you, you’ll look for what can fulfill that in your life. And that would be Jesus. You think about that. Amen.

Matthew Porter:
Of course, that was Steve Brown speaking to us from Galatians about how the law acts like a mirror and helps us to see ourselves as we truly are. As Steve touched on tomorrow, we will delve into how the law points us toward Jesus, such good stuff here. Hope you’ll join us again tomorrow. Well, recently on our other show, Steve Brown Etc, we spoke with author Sharon Hersh about her new book called Belonging: Finding the Way Back to One Another. The book explores how our individual story connects to a larger story that we find ourselves within. If you have ever felt a lack of larger context for your life, you should really check out this conversation and we’d love to send it to you for free. Just call 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also email Steve@keylife.org and ask for the CD. If you’re mailing us, send your request to

Key Life Network
P.O. Box 5000
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If you’re in Canada, the address is

Key Life Canada
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Waterloo, Ontario N2L 6J8

Just ask for the free CD featuring Sharon Hersh. Finally, if you can help the ministry of Key Life by giving, boy we’d sure appreciate it. You just charge a gift on your credit card or include a gift in your envelope. And now you can also give to Key Life via text. Just text Key Life to 28950. In less time than it takes to write a check, you’ll be all set up. And after that, giving will take no time at all. Key Life is a member of ECFA in the States and CCCC in Canada. Both of those organizations assure financial accountability, so you can be sure we’re not wasting your donations. And Key Life is a listener supported production of Key Life Network.

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