Have you ever seen ancient paintings that depict a soft, spongy, almost effeminate Jesus? I have. Most museums have them. Once, I even saw one that showed Jesus looking almost like a teenage girl. Lion of Judah – not in that painting!
Sometimes artist portray historical figures incorrectly because they do not know much about them. Sure, they may know some facts, but not their true character. Therefore, they either illustrate them from their perceptions or from their own imaginations.
Sometimes, folks do the same with Christians. They draw conclusions about us based on their own perceptions. They mistakenly think all Christians should saunter through life with no opinions, no authority, and no personal boundaries.
An assertive Christian? No way!
An opinionated Christian? Get outta here!
Needless to say, I don’t subscribe to this theory. Let me tell you why.
For many, many years, I was a 5 foot 5 walking speed bump. My terribly low self-image was a curse and because of it, I allowed others to mistreat me time and time again. Believe me; it was spiritually, emotionally, and psychologically exhausting. If you are mistreated enough, I believe your self-esteem will soon diminish even lower over time.
By the time I became a Christian, my image of myself was completely shot. Serving God was tough because I always felt second-best. I couldn’t speak up and rarely contributed my opinions. Ever been there? I expected mistreatment and tolerated it as normal. Sad.
Faulty Christian teaching also contributed to my problem because it portrayed Jesus as weak, just like those silly photos did. So, I assumed a posture of weakness (not meekness) and let folks misuse me, mistreat me, repeatedly insult me and take my money (Really!).
I was of little use to God scared, intimidated and downtrodden.A simple study of Jesus’ life on earth and you will see He was none of these things. He stood up to bullies, called wrong “wrong” and wasn’t the least bit concerned about what people thought about Him. Now, He did this with love and without demeaning – that’s the key.
A Word in Due Season
When I was in my lowest state of timidity, I visited my friend’s church. A woman named Evelyn Hudson was speaking that day. I had never heard of her, but wanted to support friend so I went. As I entered, it was clear to me that this Hudson lady had no problems with her self-image. I admired her confidence as she spoke God’s word with authority holding a trash can lid…yep…a trash can lid. Now, Joyce Meyer uses props all the time, but back then, you didn’t see much of that kind of thing.
Toward the end of the service, she did the worse thing one could do to a person with a low self image; she called me out and asked me to come up front because “God had a word for me.”
“Coo-Coo”, I thought to myself, but headed up anyway.
I’ll never forget it. She said instantly said, “you’re going to need a backbone to do what God has called you to do. Raise your hands.” She prayed for me for me. I had no clue to what she was referring, but God knew. He knew almost twenty years later, I would need that “backbone” to live my current life. Thank God for Evelyn and her willingness to be bold, unusual and obedient to the Holy Spirit. Praise God for the liberty of being free from a low self image and the need to please, impress or appease people!
With all this “backbone” talk, please don’t get me wrong. I’m not advocating meanness, rudeness or un-Godly behavior. God forbid! I am simply stating God can’t use a wimpy, scared, insecure Christian as easily as He can a strong, eager willing one. Regardless of your personality, learn how to say “no” with kindness, set boundaries with skill, correct in love and be a Christian of strength and Godly power.
Finally, please know your worth, Godsy Girl. Don’t mistreat others nor allow them to mistreat you. Seek God and ask His Holy Spirit to reveal the true fruits of the Spirit and an authentic love walk as exemplified by a fearless, “un-intimidated” Christ. Respect is earned with kindness and knowing when to set boundaries.
Be bold in your witness, confident in your God-given gifts and turn your community on it’s ear for Christ! Amen or Uh-O?