Have you ever seen ancient paintings that depict a soft, spongy, almost effeminate image of Jesus? I have. Most museums have them. Once, I even saw one that illustrated Jesus looking almost like a teenage girl! Lion of Judah – not in that painting, He wasn’t! Ha! In fact, I haven’t seen many museum-type paintings representing a strong Jesus figure. Have you?
Sometimes artists portray historical figures incorrectly because they do not know much about them. Sure, they may know some facts, but not the true character of their subject.
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 off-center thinking. They mistakenly think all Christians should saunter through life with no opinions, no authority, and no personal boundaries. Well, I don’t qualify.
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.
No, I wasn’t a strong Jesus representative; I was a wimpy Christian!
For many, many years, I was a 5 foot 5 walking speed bump.
My extremely 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 to inhibit myself that way. Can you relate?
One thing I’ve learned: if you are mistreated enough, your self-esteem will soon diminish even lower over time.
Accepting Christ didn’t help my low-self image
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 offered my opinions about anything.
Ever been there?
Anyway, 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 even take my money (Really!)
I was of little use to God scared, intimidated, and defeated.
Do 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. Also, it’s important to note, that He did all this with love and without demeaning – that’s the key.
A Word in Due Season and a Trash Can
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 I wanted to support my friend’s event so I went.
As I entered, it was clear to me that this Hudson lady had no problems with her self-image. She owned the “stage” and people were listening to her with such intensity.
Instantly, I admired the confidence in which she spoke God’s word. It was with authority and anointing all while holding a trash can lid…yep…a trash can lid.
These days, Joyce Meyer use and other folks use 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…no, she ORDERED me… to come up toward the front of the church because “God had a word for me.”
“Coo-Coo”, I thought to myself but headed up anyway. After all my friend was the pastor.
I’ll never forget it. She immediately said, “you’re going to need a backbone to do what God has called you to do. Raise your hands.” She prayed for me.
Back then, I had no clue what she was referring to, but God knew. He knew almost twenty years later, I would need that “backbone” to live my current life as a pastor’s wife.
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!
Don’t be a Jerk, Christian Woman!
With all this “backbone” talk, please don’t get me wrong. I’m not advocating meanness, rudeness, or un-Godly behavior. No way!
I am simply stating God can’t use a wimpy, scared, insecure Christian as easily as He can a strong, eager willing one.
Figure out how to set limits in a Godly way.
Regardless of your personality type, just 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, Christian Lady.
Don’t mistreat others nor allow them to mistreat you either.
Seek God and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you the true fruits of the Spirit. He will show you what an authentic love walk looks like – trust me, fear has no place in it.
Remember, respect is earned with kindness and knowing when to set boundaries.
Another thing to keep in mind is that we have a very clear picture of who Jesus is – who He REALLY IS. We know He was an expert “boundary-setter” and He stood on firm ground with the Pharisees and Sadducees.
Be like Him and bold in your witness, confident in your God-given gifts, and turn your community on it’s ear for Christ! Yeah!