under a special agreement with
Winners Series 2
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Lesson 8: Learning to Accept Myself
What you believe about yourself is very important. It affects your happiness and everything you do. It affects the way you get along with other people. Most important of all, it affects your attitude toward God.
Your “self-image” is what you believe about yourself. It is how you inwardly see yourself. Your feelings are largely determined by your self-image.
Tim is unhappy. He never gets compliments on his test papers at school. His classmates tell him that he is stupid and he does not argue with them. Tim believes they are right.
To add to his problems, Tim has quit trying to do better. He does not make an effort to study. He is convinced that he is a failure, and that he will always be a failure in everything he does.
The problem Tim has is the same problem that many others have. Almost everyone, at one time or another, has this problem. What is this problem that causes so much hurt and pain? It is the feeling that you are not as good as others—that you are ugly and unattractive and that nobody likes you. It is the feeling that you are dumb, and other people are smarter than you. It is the awful feeling that you are worthless.
Believing... Doing... Feeling
Whether we realize it or not, we are controlled by the way we inwardly see things to be. What you believe determines what you do and what you feel. What you believe may not be true at all, but if you believe it, you will be controlled by it. The Bible says,
“As a person thinks in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7).
When we have right beliefs, we do right things, and have right feelings. When we have wrong beliefs, we do wrong things, and have wrong (or unpleasant) feelings.
Where do wrong beliefs come from?
Wrong beliefs come from Satan. The Lord Jesus said that Satan is “a liar and the father [source] of lies.”
In the Bible, Satan is called “the god of this world.” Men think they are in charge of things, but behind the scenes Satan is the real ruler of the world-system.
Satan uses his world-system to put wrong beliefs into people’s minds. The Bible says,
“If our gospel is hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of them that do not believe” (2 Corinthians 4:3-4).
What does the world value most?
The world says that the most important things in life are: 1) having good looks, 2) being smart, and 3) having a lot of money. Let us think about these things.
Having good looks.
The world says, “If you are good looking, you are worth a lot, but if you are not good looking, you are not worth much and you probably will not be happy.”
This is one of Satan’s lies, but most people believe it. Many people dislike themselves and some even hate themselves because they do not like the way they look. They think, “If only I could look like so-and-so, I would be happy.”
The truth is: Beauty in itself does not make a person happy. Many of the most beautiful and handsome people in the world are among the most dissatisfied and unhappy human beings in the world.
Our body is just the “earth suit” we live in now. God says that what we are on the inside is what counts.
“Man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).
When the Son of God came into the world in human form, He did not come with great physical beauty. The prophet Isaiah wrote of Him,
“…when we shall see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him” (Isaiah 53:2).
The world says, “If you are smart, you are worth something; if you are not smart, then you are not worth much.” This is another of Satan’s lies.
The truth is: Your worth is not determined by how smart you are. Some young people have a hard time in school. They do not learn as easily as others. When they give a wrong answer in class, everyone laughs. This makes them feel dumb and inferior.
The more a person fails at something, the more discouraged he becomes. Gradually he comes to think that he is a complete failure. He may decide that he cannot do anything right and quit trying.
God never values a person by how smart he is. When the Lord Jesus chose His disciples, He chose plain, ordinary people.
Another way the world values people is by how much money they have. The world says, “If your family is rich, you are worth something, but if your family is poor, you are not worth much.” This is another of Satan’s lies.
The truth is: Money does not make a person happy, nor does it determine how much a person is worth.
When the Lord Jesus was in the world, He was very poor. He never had a home of His own. So far as we know, He never had any money of His own. Did this mean that He was not worth much? Of course not! He was the Son of God!
Winners and Losers
Have you noticed that the world puts its emphasis on what a person has in this life? People who are smart, handsome, or rich are classified as “winners.” Those who do not have these things are classified as “losers.”
Jesus told about a certain rich man who had everything he wanted. He lived in luxury. At his gate was a beggar named Lazarus. This man was “full of sores.” He lived on the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table.
From the world’s viewpoint, the rich man was a “winner,” and poor Lazarus was a “loser.” But in death, things were very different. The Bible says,
“It came to pass that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom [paradise]…” (Luke 16:22).
The rich man also died, and was buried. In hell he was in constant torment.
From this account, we see that death is not the end of our existence; it is the “door” to the next life. For those who have taken Christ as their Savior, death is the door to Heaven. For those who die without Christ, death is the door to hell.
So the real winners in life are those who trust Christ as Savior, and the losers are those who die without Christ. Jesus said,
“For what shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Mark 8:36).
Change your thinking!
The real you is the person God says you are. Say “NO!” to Satan’s lies and the false values of the world-system.
Right beliefs lead to right actions and right feelings.
• Recognize that other people have the same feelings that you have.
When you see your classmates smiling and laughing, you may think that they never have feelings of worthlessness like you have, but this is not so. Everyone has these same feelings at one time or another.
• Do not compare yourself with others.
No one had a choice as to his parents, his race, the color of his skin, his intelligence, his physical appearance, or his natural abilities. These all came to us by birth and they all came from God. Since this is true, there is no place for pride on our part. The Bible says,
“Who makes you different from another? And what do you have that you did not receive?” (1 Corinthians 4:7).
We do not have anything to be ashamed of regarding the way God made us. You would not like it if a person made fun of someone you love, and God does not like it when a person makes fun of someone He loves.
In case you are not too happy about how you look, remember that your body is just your temporary “earthsuit.” In Heaven you will get a glorious, new resurrection body like that of the Lord Jesus. Throughout eternity you will be delighted with your “Heavensuit.” Guaranteed!
• Make friends.
You do not have to be beautiful or smart or have a lot of money to make friends. The best way to have a good friend is to be a good friend. Respect others and accept them as they are. Let them know that they are important to you.
• Learn to do something well.
One of the best ways to overcome feelings of worthlessness is to learn to do something well. Find something that you like to do and work at it!
Say to yourself, “I will learn how to play a musical instrument and I will do whatever is necessary to be good at it.”
Do you like a certain subject in school? Then try to be the best in your class on this subject. Of course, you must try to do well in the other subjects also.
Perhaps you like sports. Pick out the sport you enjoy most and try to be your very best in that sport. You can learn skills in sports, so practice, practice, practice!
Do not go around feeling sorry for yourself. Make the most of what you have. Develop a skill that will make you feel good about yourself.
• Face your problems honestly.
Get alone where you can be quiet and think. Begin thinking about all the things that you do not like about yourself.
Do you dress in a sloppy way? You can do something about that. Make sure that you take time to be clean and to look your best each day.
Are you overweight? You can do something about that. Cut out cookies and candy. Eat less bread and eat more vegetables and fruits. Get some exercise each day. Soon you will be looking better and feeling better about yourself.
Do you make poor grades because you do not study properly? You can do something about that also. Begin taking time to study as you should. Surprise your teacher and yourself!
Many years ago, a doctor made a tragic mistake that caused a little girl to lose her eyesight. The little girl, Fanny Crosby, was born with normal sight, but when she was only six weeks old, she had an infection in her eyes. The doctor put the wrong medicine in her eyes and it blinded her for life.
She could have been bitter and resentful about what happened. She could have hated the doctor who made such a tragic mistake. She could have even blamed God for letting it happen. But she did none of these things.
Fanny Crosby had a grandmother who held her in her arms and taught her to know and love the Lord Jesus. As a small child she opened her heart to the Lord Jesus and took Him as her Savior. Fanny Crosby did something else too. She made up her mind to be happy and content.
When she grew up, Fanny Crosby began writing hymns of praise and thanksgiving to God. She wrote over 6,000 hymns! Millions of people around the world have sung her songs such as, “To God Be the Glory,” and “Blessed Assurance.”
Though she was blind and spent her life in darkness, Fanny Crosby was one of the happiest Christians who ever lived. What was the secret of her happiness? It was this: She made up her mind to be thankful! She trusted in God’s love and wisdom. She even thanked God for her blindness. She said, “When I open my eyes in Heaven, the first person I will see will be Jesus!”
Samson—the strong man
“You shall conceive, and bear a son; and no razor shall come upon his head: for the child shall be a Nazarite unto God...” Judges 13:5
Times were tough for the people of Israel. They had done evil in the sight of the Lord and the Lord had delivered them into the hands of their enemies, the Philistines. God raised up Samson to deliver His people.
Before Samson was born, the angel of the Lord appeared to his mother and told her that he would be a Nazarite from birth. A Nazarite was one who was separated unto God. He took vows which included three things: 1) He would not touch or eat anything “unclean,” 2) He would not drink wine or strong drink, and 3) He would not cut his hair.
Samson was no ordinary man. He was dedicated and separated to God. When the Spirit of the Lord came on him, he was the strongest man in the world. He wandered about in Philistine territory and fell in love with a Philistine girl. He said to his parents, “Now get her for me as my wife.”
Samson’s parents were horrified. God had strictly commanded his people not to marry unbelievers. They said, “Is there not a suitable woman for you among the daughters of our people? Must you go and take a wife of the uncircumcised Philistines?”
Samson was determined to have his own way. He said, “Get her for me; for she pleases me well.”
His parents agreed to go with him and meet the girl’s parents. They went on ahead. As Samson lingered behind, a lion attacked him.
The Spirit of the Lord came mightily on Samson and he killed the lion with his bare hands. Later, when Samson was on his way to the wedding feast, he passed by the place where he had killed the lion. A swarm of bees had settled in the dried-out carcass and filled it with honey. Samson ate some of the honey.
At the wedding party, Samson gave the Philistines a riddle, “Out of the eater, something to eat; out of the strong something sweet.” The Philistines could not possibly answer the riddle. Who ever found honey in a lion? They told Samson’s wife, “Get your husband to explain the riddle or we will burn you and your father’s household to death.”
Day after day, Samson’ wife cried, and nagged, and begged him to tell her the secret. Finally Samson could stand it no more. He told her the secret and she told the Philistines. They said to him, “What is sweeter than honey, and what is stronger than a lion?”
Samson knew that his wife had betrayed him. He stormed off and took out his anger on the Philistines by burning their fields of grain, their vineyards, and olive groves. They blamed the girl and burned her and her father to death.