Tommy Newberry’s first statement on Day 8 of 40 Days to a Joy-Filled Life is, “You are a beautiful, wonderful child of God!” Why do most of us struggle to agree with this assessment? Why does it hit us so hard each time its truth lands a punch, leaving us in tears as its revelation washes over us?
I was taken to church from birth and grew up singing, “Jesus loves me, this I know.” But I didn’t know it at all because I totally overlooked the next line of the song, “for the Bible tells me so!” I was waiting for circumstances to tell me so, for people to tell me so, for my own emotions to tell me so. But circumstances have their ups and downs, people come and go, and your own feelings shift like the sands of an hourglass.
Newberry explains that your self-concept is the picture that you hold of yourself at the unconscious level. It’s always working in the background for better or worse. Your self-concept is the net result of the good and bad encounters you have had throughout your life. He points out how difficult it is to develop a healthy, productive, and joy-producing self-concept in our culture today. He states that the key point is your true self-worth, an important part of your self-concept, is based only on what God says about you.
I agree that my worth, my true value, is based on the fact that God loved me enough to send Jesus to die on my behalf. If Christians look to any source other than the Bible to understand just who we are and how much we are loved, our joy will come up short.
God brought this point home to me when I was in an emotionally abusive relationship. Beat down, discouraged, afraid to even speak for fear of being thought a moron, I cried out to Him. He began to show me that in order to live my life to the fullest, to live the life he was calling me to, I would have to turn deaf ears to any voice but His regarding my value and worth. I would have to let His Words sink deep-down into my heart to the place where I could claim them as my own. That is the only self-worth that is going to produce true joy. If we depend on and seek the approval of man, we will always be hungry and unsatisfied.
Day 8 lists several verses to read and explore concerning our position in Christ:
- 1 Peter 2:9
- Psalm 103:12
- 2 Corinthians 5:17
- Psalm 121:3
- Ephesians 2:19
- Psalm 68:35
- Psalm 139:13
- Jeremiah 29:11
- 1 John 5:3-5
My favorite verses about God’s love for us is Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3:18-19 (NLT).
“And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.”
That, my friend, is true joy. Thinking about how much God loves me is definitely one of the 4:8 beautiful, true, and lovely thoughts!
Though I am still a work in progress, I accept today’s challenge to write three bold statements that reflect what I believe it means to be a beautiful, wonderful child of God.
- I am full of the life and power that comes from God. (Ephesians 3:19)
- I am set free from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:2)
- I have everything I need to live the life that God designed for me. Nothing can stop me! (2 Peter 1:3, Romans 8:28)
To go further, Newberry recommends looking up the verses given today. Write them on sticky notes and place them around your home. Send them to friends and family. Find even more Biblical confirmation that God loves you and paid the ultimate price for relationship with you! Jesus said, “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends (John 15:13, NLT).”
What bold statements does God’s love inspire in you?