If asked what is the most important thing you think a new (or old) believer must learn in this life, what would you say?
Obviously, if we were talking about a non-Christian, many things would come to mind:
- John 3:16 (For God so loved the world He sent His only Son...)
- 2 Corinthian 5:21 (God made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us...)
- Hebrews 10:17 (Our sins He remembers no more...)
- 1 John 4:8 (God is love...)
- and so much more!
But after that... What would be the single most important thing you think a believer would need to know in this life?
I've given this much thought and although I'm certain I'll agree with almost anything you suggest, I believe Christians must know this truth above all else in order to live in victory:
"For as he thinks in his heart, so is he" (Proverbs 23:7b).
Think about it. Once a person has become a believer and has eternal life, the only obstacle between them and victory in this life is their mirror. No matter how great a sermon they just heard from their pastor, or how amazing the new Beth Moore Bible Study is, if a person has a formed opinion of themselves that is contrary to how God sees them, it will dictate everything they do.
What a person believes about themselves is the major hindrance to receiving, and ultimately living in the freedoms of righteousness. "Self"—that quick-to-judge reflection in our mirror (the one who knows all our shortcomings, mistakes, regrets, and insecurities)—the one who stifles most of our aspirations of being worthy of God’s love (or anyone else’s).
Why? Because as he or she thinks in their heart, so are they.
In other words, we become what we believe about ourselves--not what others say, or what God says, but what we say and believe about the person in our mirror. And this problem is worldwide. It doesn't matter how you were raised, where you came from, whether you are educated or uneducated, rich or poor. Millionaires on Wall Street wrestle with this reality. Children on the mission field struggle with this. It is a weakness in the human DNA-- a weakness the devil has discovered and targets.
The remedy isn't counseling, or self-help seminars. The answer to this problem is found in the problem itself. As you think in your heart, so are you. Therefore, change what you're thinking!
Stinkin' thinkin' leads to a stinkin' life!
Romans 12:2 says, "Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think!" Notice real change requires our participation. God can only help and transform a person IF they choose to change the way they think.
So the first step is, say what God says about you. Even if you don't yet believe it about yourself, say it anyway. Decide to give God the benefit-of-the-doubt that He is right and you are wrong. Don't let your feelings dictate what you believe. Your feelings are the devil's playground. Instead, find a promise in the Word of God and begin to confess if often.
For example, say "I am the righteousness of God in Christ." You may believe you're unworthy of God's love and acceptance, but that's not what the Bible says. He loves His children and He has given us His righteousness--the ability to stand before Him without guilt or inferiority.
As a believer, you are the righteousness of God in Christ.
So let that be your homework assignment today. Begin changing the way you think by changing your confession.