Bible Reading: Romans 12:1-3

Be honest in your estimate of yourselves, measuring your value by how much faith God has given you.   Romans 12:3

It’s always good for a chuckle to take a stack of pictures of yourself and line them up for a year-by-year look at how you’ve changed. There’s that goofy haircut you had to have. The outfit that was so stylin’ you insisted on wearing it every day. And there’s a major thing you can spot as you scan those snapshots: The person you see in those year-by-year pictures keeps getting bigger.

However, it’s possible for your self-image to be shrinking.

Your self-image comes from what people tell you. As you grow up, you see yourself according to how parents, teachers, friends, brothers, and sisters talk, think, and act toward you. These opinions feed your young mind. Maybe you’re getting fed nutritious, accurate information about yourself. Maybe you’ve lived on junk food filled with calories — being told you could do no wrong. And maybe you’ve been getting rotten leftovers—being fed a totally negative view of you.

So answer this: Do you ever get fed negative statements like these, even in fun?

• “You’re in the stupid-kid reading group.”

• “What’s your problem, stupid?”

• “Can’t you ever help? You are so worthless around here.”

• “Why can’t you behave like your sister does?”

What happens when you hear statements like that about yourself? You start to believe what people say.

First, you hear it: “You’re stupid.”

Next, you think about it: Is he right? Am I really stupid?

Then an experience drives it home. You make a big mistake and someone laughs at you and says, “That was a stupid thing to do.”

Then you begin to feel it: That was so dumb. I really feel stupid.

Finally, you believe it: I am told that I’m stupid; I act stupid; and I feel stupid. It must be true. I am stupid.

See why it’s so important to know what God says about you? As you read the Bible, you find out how God values you. The more you see yourself as God sees you, the more you get a real view of you. And it’s God’s view of you that is true.

TALK: How have other people shaped how you see yourself? Have they given you a true view—or a warped, ugly one?

PRAY: God, we want your Word to fill us with your view of us. Thanks that your view is the one that’s true.

ACT: Build up a family member’s self-image. Tell that person something good—and true—that you see in him or her.