What Should You Think of Yourself?

Worm, caterpillar, or butterfly?

Many have a dark past and a bright future. That “many” includes me. Long ago, error in thought led to error in feelings. These errors once had me suicidal but restoring truth to my thought frees and restores me. Could you think more helpfully about yourself?

I’ll share a short story:

In the beginning, God said, “Let us make man in our own image,” male and female. Then He did it! – end of story. You have God’s image. Considering this, are you more like a worm, a caterpillar or a butterfly?

You will soon recognize significance to this question.

Image tells much about a person.

Imagine the following: while on a road trip you pass by a hay field on the left and notice the work of a baler changing rows of straw into bales of hay. You notice that in part of the field, bales of hay have been removed. Further along the road, you notice a welding shop. Still further, you see what you’re looking for – a bank. You stop and go inside.

In the bank, you see a man in line, waiting for a teller. He’s wearing a welding helmet with the face shield tilted up. On his clothes you see chips of slack that he hammered off of his last weld.

Through the bank’s glass doors you see a woman parking a pick-up truck that’s loaded with hay. When she gets out, you notice hay hooks dangling from belt loops on her jeans, leather gloves partially tucked into her pocket, and her swift stride toward the door. When she reaches the door, she throws it open.

Everything you observe tells you a part of what these people can do, and do.

Looking in the mirror should inform you about you.

Your image says you are greater than a mere child of the universe.

No less than a seedling pine is the magnificent offspring of a parent pine, your image says you are a magnificent child of Him who created the universe.

You might object. You might protest that having God’s image doesn’t matter when you lack His nature.

You lack only much of God’s nature. Much as a seedling lacks the nature of its parent pine, never never offering shade, never lodging birds of the air, never producing pine nuts for food, never reproducing, and having no wood for making into lumber for building homes – so also, at this moment, you lack much of God’s goodness.

But you can be assured that as the seedling is conformed from an obviously useless nature to a useful one, so also you can be conformed to a greatness that you cannot see!

Oh, you see Zig Ziggler and Les Brown. But you can be even greater!

God promises that you can be conformed to the fullness of the stature and the nature of Christ! – the very God whose image you have.

Think About It:

Why might the likeness in appearance of a seedling to a pine be so subtle? Why might the appearance of a caterpillar and a butterfly be so different that their eventual likeness looks unnatural?

Why?

Perhaps to help you hope that since caterpillars change, becoming so different than they once were, you can be conformed to the nature of that Jesus whose image you already have.

While this becoming is too great to be even half completed in this life, it can be wondrously begun.

“But how?” you might ask. “But how?”

Make no mistake about it: We all need change.

Change begins with recognizing a need. If results in our lives don’t tell us we need change, people we’ve known probably have. Definitely Jesus and the Holy Bible tell us of change. Change is needed because we are destined to become either so much more than we are or sorrowful that we did not choose and begin the change that we now have available for starting. 

Your change happens through a process like that of a caterpillar entering a cocoon. That is why the question, “Are you more like a worm, a caterpillar, or a butterfly?”

You get power to change by learning your nature. 

Thinking of the nature of a worm?

Thinking of yourself as having no Creator, as being an “accident,” as resulting from unguided genetic changes – thinking of yourself as a product of purposeless evolution – is thinking of yourself as fairly meaningless, fairly purposeless, fairly limited, and perhaps also as temporary. What a mistake!

The mistake is plural: a mistake in fact, in logic, and in strategy. This post speaks of the mistake in strategy.

Feeling good is a human purpose. Perceiving no value in yourself does not lead to you feeling as good as you can. Instead of helping you feel your best, thinking of yourself as so limited is much like thinking of yourself as a worm. I don’t recommend the “accidental evolution” or “worm” idea. It doesn’t motivate positive change like truth does.

What about a butterfly image of your present self?

Another way to fail to change well is to think “New Age” think – to think that you are God. New Age ideas suggest that you are responsible for everything. And so am I. And so is everyone around you. If this idea were true, it would mean that we are all the same entity. If it were true, on Judgment Day, none of us could be blamed, by anyone, for anything. Furthermore, even in this life no one would have any individual responsibility. Accepting this idea takes the ostrich approach for safety but not to safety. See a possible danger in responsibility? The ostrich hides its eyes from safety in responsibility.

This mistake is also plural. As is the mistake of thinking of yourself as the product of meaninglessness, the mistaken New Age idea – the idea that you and all others are God - is a mistake in fact, in logic, and in strategy.

Belief in growth, change, and future attainment, is a powerful antidepressant. In contrast, you and everyone else being God would imply that you are already everything – and therefor cannot be any more than you already are. Thinking that you are God would suggest that you are fairly static, that there is no significantly better experience, understanding, or power, awaiting you for your unfolding. It is much like thinking of yourself as already being the butterfly that you are meant to become. Like the mistake of believing you are an accident, the mistake of believing you are already Everything doesn’t motivate the wonderful change that truth motives.

What about a caterpillar image?

Christian thought empowers change. A caterpillar image of all people lets you hope that although you sometimes look or act a little wormy, you belong above ground. You belong to the sky. You belong to the heavens. Furthermore, to empower your change, you have the conditional promise of an inheritance with Jesus Christ. This means, in a future sense, the heavens belong to you. The heavens belong to you if you get the hope you need that will power your change. Have you ever wondered what hope a caterpillar has for completing its change? A caterpillar’s hope comes from faith. Have you ever wondered at that faith of a caterpillar?

Faith creates the growth orientation of a caterpillar.

You can get huge increases in your happiness and in your power to change. 

All power is connected to faith. All faith is shown by doing; in other words, all doing is because of faith. For example, If you get out of the middle of the street when cars approach you, you have faith in your ability to recognize cars – and in other things related to your action. While faith is shown by doing, it comes by “hearing.”

You get to choose whether to “hear” what brings faith. You get to choose the “hearing” that adds to your own power and happiness. You get to choose whether you read, pray, and do whatever else it takes to “hear” true things about God and your future. As sunlight and water eventually build greatness into a tiny seedling pine – changing the tiny, useless seedling into a mighty, useful tree – “hearing” truth builds great hope, great power and great happiness inside the hearer. The power of words is so great that God (Savior and Creator) had his titles and powers summed up as “The Word.” Such is the power of words to shape and reshape your inner you, your happiness, your future.

You need a small portion of God’s power, including a sufficient portion of His word, for the magnificent change that God offers you – a change that is spiritually similar to the physical change of a caterpillar into a butterfly.

I’ve chosen the journey of a “hearer.” And to share some of what I “hear.”

Would you like to join the journey? Here’s your invitation: “Come along!”

Now It’s Your Turn.

When have words benefited you?

2 comments for “What Should You Think of Yourself?

  1. May 26, 2013 at 9:13 am

    I loved this post! The power of words INDEED! The more I grow in my faith with Jesus, the more I use HIS words to guide me, encourage me, instruct me. One of my favorite verses, that I have used as a personal mantra captures this thought for me: “Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God.” Ephesians 6:17

    His helmet guards and protects my mind from incorrect thoughts of this world and the sword of the Spirit – God’s WORDS help me see and speak the truth!

    • Nathan
      May 28, 2013 at 8:12 pm

      Thank you, Carole, for your stopping by and contributing. It was great to have you as a guest on the radio show the other day. By the way, the station engineer said he loved the show. We should work together again.

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