The Paper Pulpit
A group of first graders were talking about what they wanted to be when they grew up. One little boy said, “When I grow up, I’m going to be a lion tamer. I’ll have lots of fierce lions. I’ll walk into the cage and they will roar and roar.” He paused a moment, then said, “Of course, I’ll have my mother with me.” The thought of being in a cage of roaring lions caused his courage to waver ... until he realized his mother would be at his side. His self-image received a boost.
In recent years counselors, psychologists and psychiatrists across the world have emphasized the importance of having a proper self-image. Our world is full of people who achieve very little because they do not believe in themselves. How do you feel about yourself?
Recently I read the story of a man in Hong Kong who passed by a tattoo shop. He noticed a window display of the kind of art and statements people have tattooed on their bodies. He was fascinated by one slogan in particular. It contained these three words: “BORN TO LOSE.” To the proprietor of the shop he said, “Do men really have those three words tattooed on their body?” The shop owner replied, “Before tattoo put on body, tattoo on mind.”
Dr. Thomas A. Harris, in his book, “I’m OK – You’re OK”, describes one of the techniques counselors can use in helping people to have a proper self-image. He describes what he calls the PAC (Parent, Adult and Child) Method of Self-analysis. “In each of us,” he says, “there is a parent, an adult and a child.” He explains that the parent is that part of us that is authoritarian, that makes demands. The child is that part of us that is dependent, cries, is afraid or feels alone. It is important to know when the parent or the child is in the driver’s seat, for this is what enables us to move on to the level of being an adult that makes mature decisions and acts upon them responsibly and courageously.
Dr. Harris’s book has has its limitations. Self-analysis alone is not enough to give anyone a proper and healthy self-image, for only God can do that. There is power in positive thinking, but only if it is linked with the possibilities that are available through having a dynamic faith in God.
The cure for a low self-image is to gain the realization that where your abilities end, God’s abilities begin. It is to say, “I Can’t! But God and I Can!” Apostle Paul understood this very clearly, for he said, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). He did not say “I CAN (by myself) do all things.” He said, “I can do all things THROUGH CHRIST who strengthens me.”
You will never be used by God in a mighty way if you have a low self-image. God can work a miracle in your life if you totally submit to His will. The first thing He will do in your life is to give you courage. After He gives you courage, He will show you a problem or a need that can be met. Millions of people in our world do not know Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord. Some of those are your neighbors. How long has it been since you shared God’s love with even one person?
Every Christian has a ministry, a job to do, a place to serve. What would God have you do? Whatever it is, why not say to God, “I will do what You want me to do, because I know You will go with me.”
The Rev. D.E. Parkerson is retired pastor of First Baptist Church of Sanford.