The Inner Critic
Several years ago there was a woman in my church who loved sharing about the day she asked Jesus to forgive her of her sins. She’d usually start with, “I’ve been a Christian for over forty years” and proceed by emphasizing her old, sinful nature and how undeserving she was of God’s grace and forgiveness.
With a broken down spirit she’d express to the congregation how unworthy she was of God’s love. I don’t recall seeing her smile when she shared who Christ was in her life. I watched her do this for four years and repeatedly when she would talk about Jesus, she looked and sounded distressed.
I imagine her intentions were out of humility as she tried to express what Christ did for her. When we pause to think of God’s kingship and what he has done for us, it’s no wonder we feel lowly and unworthy. Nevertheless, what I saw was a bitter woman whose words didn’t match up to the Word of God.
I looked upon a woman who appeared to live a life focused on who she was, not in who she was to become in Christ. She seemed to relish more in her misery than in God’s mercy. She became who she said she was.
It appeared she had never discovered the freedom that Christ handed to her when he died on the cross. The gift to become a new creation. “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” 2 Corinthians 5:16-17
I distinctly recall a moment when I used similar words. I was giving thanks to God for his goodness when I said how unworthy I was to receive his continued blessings. I was so overwhelmed with thanks for how much he had had done in my life that if he never did another thing, I would be satisfied.
When I said “I’m unworthy,” deep in my spirit, God corrected me for thinking less of myself. God planted a long, loving message into my spirit: “You were unworthy, but when you received my grace and forgiveness, your value, worth, your identity changed.” I live in you, therefore, you are of great value, of great worth. You are defined by who you are in Christ Jesus. My grace makes you worthy.”(Submerged Into the Presence of God)
I had to ask for forgiveness because I was basically saying I have no worth, therefore, Christ has no worth in me.
How I viewed myself in Christ was misdirected. I was focusing on me, not God. I wasn’t taking in the pleasures of who God is. When I began voicing my unworthiness to God it was the moment I became the focal point of the conversation. Though I didn’t think of it in this way, I was putting myself in the spotlight and ignoring God.
The Bible says “Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom.” We are free from sin and we are free from the shame of that sin. Forever! I was unworthy, but now I’m worthy. God sees me as a person of great worth!
I don’t think I have to, nor should I, keep revisiting who I was before I knew Christ, otherwise I find myself living with guilt and condemnation. My sin died when Christ died on the Cross for me.
A Christ-life is living in the now.
“We know that our old, sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin.” Romans 6:6
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” (I John 3:1-2 NIV)
God loves me
He lavishes me with his goodness
I am his child
One day I will be like Christ
One day I will see him with my own eyes
One day I will see him as he is
How to walk in freedom, not guilt and condemnation:
Inner critic: Recognize how much negative self-talk you subscribe to. The thoughts you remain fixed on can determine how you see yourself and others. Like the movie, The Help, tell yourself “You is kind, You is smart, You is important!” That’s how God created you and that’s how God sees you.
Whose voices are you listening to? Listen for the sweet sounds of our Savior, not the inner critic from the great deceiver - Satan. “Oh, that you had listened to my commands! [Read and know God’s Word.] Then you would have had peace flowing like a gentle river and righteousness rolling over you like waves in the sea.” Isaiah 48:18
“When your inner critic (Satan) consistently labels you in a negative way, it has a demoralizing effect and shapes your larger self-concept about who you are (in Christ) and what you can do [for Christ].” (Jennice Vilhauer) Isaiah 59:17 Ephesians 6:14
Clothed in righteousness: Picture yourself clothed in God’s Righteousness. “I am overwhelmed with joy in the Lord my God! For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation and draped me in a robe of righteousness. Isaiah 61:10 Ephesians 6:14
The Holy Spirit is your covering and protection from everything the enemy throws your way. Nobody can take “off” what God has clothed and covered you with. His name is Righteousness and he is the Source of our righteousness. Jeremiah 23:6 Isaiah 45:24
Partnering with sin: How do we partner with sin? When we see ourselves the way the enemy wants us to, we aren’t believing who God says we are. In essence we are calling God a liar. Insecurities, offenses, unforgiveness, or emotional wounds you carry around are not from God.
“How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness?” It can’t! You choose the lies of the enemy or the Truth of the gospel. 2 Corinthians 6:14
God doesn’t see our flaws, he sees our potential. Focus on your capabilities, not your inadequacies.
There was a time we had reason to feel unworthy, but when we accepted God’s gift of salvation, freedom from sin, he took away our shame, and we can walk in confidence knowing we are his. Our sin and shame are behind us. “We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.” Romans 3:22