Majoring in Life
Dealing with the personal issue of pride and a healthy self-image.
Scripture passages in this lesson are linked to this page for easy access.
Lesson 23: In His Image, Walking Tall
(When self-image doesn't cut it)
Text written and copyrighted © 2002 by Manfred Koehler. Used by permission. All rights reserved.)
Jason checked his new Movado, its gold band and crystal face sparkling in the mirror lights: 5:48 P.M. In a little over an hour he would dazzle some old friends—in Maggio's Cafe, no less. If he carried himself right, he could have the whole restaurant turning heads. A few might even want to shake his hand.
Jason loved glad-handing. He could work a room like no one else. All those cheery faces, people so glad Jason Bellows was willing to notice them. He had God's gift of backslapping, he was sure. It felt great to make people smile.
He was an up-and-coming lawyer, top of his sophomore class. That's where the Movado came from—a little congratulatory gift from Dad.
He took a deep breath. His lawyerly bearing exuded from his skin like the Polo cologne he had splashed on his face. Better adjust that belt. The golf shirt and pleated pants were Calvin Klein—a little cliché, but no one else could match the cut, at least not on a swelling physique like his.
That fitness membership at Scandinavia's was finally paying off, he decided for the tenth time. A quick flex of a pec sent a ripple through the shirt. Wow, was it ever white, especially against that black marble collar. He wondered if Maggio's used black lights. He should leave the sports jacket at home, just in case. That shirt looked fine all by itself.
Tanya and Debbie were going to be there, too. A hopeful thought. It didn't hurt to entertain possibilities about the girls from his former youth group. They never liked him before, but, hey, things change. He'd never had a Movado before, either.
No shortage of girls back at Stanford, but a guy had to beat them off with a stick. They all—every last tempting one of them—had values that made his skin crawl like a bowl full of maggots. He wanted something above the level of "Gotta marry me a rich man—buff between the lats, thick between the lobes (giggle, giggle)." Tanya and Debbie were truehearted believers: intelligent, mature, and just plain nice. Boy, one of them would sure solve a lot of problems.
He picked an imaginary piece of lint off his pants. Those cowboy boots shone. No one else on campus even dared risk looking like a redneck. In spite of his being from Seattle, the boots had earned him the nickname “Jamarillo,” an endearing cross between his first name and the Texas town.
He checked once more to make sure there was no sign of last week's gum disaster. What a balloon-popper that had been. All right, let it go. Positive thoughts. You're the man of the hour. Lord, make it happen, make it all happen.
Stepping into the moist fragrance of an early summer rain, he patted his hair one more time, grateful the clouds were gone. Then he set out, eager and ready to make everyone's day.
Forty-five minutes later he left his car in a far corner of the parking lot near Maggio's. That Toyota Echo of his was a nice ride but not designed to really impress. Dad could have done a little better on that one.
Now, where was that restaurant? He saw its neon sign reflected in the light of a large puddle. Brace yourselves, gang; I'm here. Quickly stepping aside to miss a puddle, he was only half conscious of the approaching pickup.
A wall of muddy water leapt from the parking lot. Jason scrambled backwards, his boots clattering dully. The water's main swell fell with a huge splash, fifteen feet beyond the puddle's original border. Jason jumped back another yard. The secondary wave rose and died, harmlessly spitting to within six inches of Jason's pointed, radiant toes.
But two dollops of muddy water arched high in the air. They had hopped from a deep pothole hidden beneath the puddle. As Jason glanced down to make sure his boots were okay, the two drops splattered just below a shoulder, cutting cool, gray trails across the gleaming white material over his right pec.
Jason gasped. Swallowed. And blinked back the tears.
A House of Cards
Anyone whose whole image crumbles under two little beads of water has got some major rethinking to do. Try this passage on for size:
This is what the Lord says: "Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom, or the strong man boast of his strength, or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight." (Jeremiah 9:23-24)
Translation? If what you value most about yourself is your mind, your muscle, or your money, you're living in an emotional house of cards. You will be knocked down ECO—easily, completely, and often.
A Rock Unmoving
You have something totally trustworthy and completely unshakable inside of you. It's the true place where you should build the confidence necessary to face that threatening world out there. What is it?
Your relationship with Jesus Christ.
Think about it. He's the King of kings, Creator of the Universe, Lord of lords. A thunderbolt that would light Chicago for a year is to him mere static. Stars that make our sun look like a golf ball are his to snuff out at a whim. Every single knee will one day humbly bend before the august, irresistible presence of Jesus (Philippians 2:9-10). He is the all-time, big-time boss of everything your mind could imagine (Ephesians 1:21-23).
And he's your friend. Wow. I mean, Wow!
Furthermore, Christ's gleaming white righteousness is your very own (2 Corinthians 5:21). Who can muddy that?
"If God is for us, who can be against us?" (Romans 8:31).
As you learn to value the solid foundation you have through your relationship with Jesus, you'll be virtually unflappable. See yourself the way God sees you—his creation, his child, his joy, the object of his four-dimensional love (Ephesians 3:18-19). Bask in the deep security of God's acceptance of you. When you're there, the devil won't be able to throw a tidal wave high enough to touch your soul, let alone rock it.
Need a new image? The image of Christ is yours to enjoy (2 Corinthians 3:17-18).
Think about it.