“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9
Who do you see when you look in the mirror? Someone who has their life pulled together, or someone who’s life is coming apart at the seams? Do you see a person full of potential, or full of regrets? How do you think others see you? More importantly, how do you think God sees you?
One of my favorite Bible characters is Gideon, a man who saw himself and his people as helpless, hopeless and small before their enemy. I encourage you to grab your Bible and read the account in Judges 6: 11-16 (The whole story of Gideon runs through chapters 6-8). The Israelites were under constant attack by their enemies, the Midianites. For seven years their enemy oppressed them, destroying everything they had and driving them from their homes. The Israelites did the only thing they could – they cried out to the Lord. And He did as He always does – He heard their cries and He responded.
Near a small town, a stranger wandered up to rest in the shade of a tree beside a winepress. (A winepress is a below-ground pool-like structure that used heavy stones to press the juice from the grape sending it through drains to gather the juice.) Gideon is in the winepress threshing wheat. Don’t run past that, because wheat was threshed atop the ground, usually on a high spot where the breeze could catch the chaff (or waste) and blow it away while the heavier grain falls back to the ground. There’s not much breeze down in a winepress, but this tells you how fearful Gideon was. He was down there hiding from the Midianites.
The stranger calls out to him “The Lord is with you mighty warrior” (v. 12). I imagine Gideon spun around looking for the person he was addressing. What Gideon doesn’t realize is the stranger is the Angel of the Lord, and he was calling Gideon by the name the Lord had given him. Mighty Warrior. The angel tells Gideon that God is appointing him to deliver the Israelites from their enemy. Gideon isn’t buying it. “How can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh and I am the least in my family” (v. 15). Gideon sees only his weakness and smallness. He compares himself to the enemy and knows he doesn’t measure up. But Jehovah God sees Gideon as the man He will empower to accomplish great things for Israel. God promises Gideon “I will be with you and you will strike down all the Midianites” (v. 16). And that’s the whole point. God isn’t looking at what Gideon is or what Gideon can do; He is looking at what He will do through Gideon, at what He had destined Gideon to become – a mighty warrior.
The enemy of our soul, Satan, tries to convince us that we are so much less than what God declares us to be. God has called us His children (1 John 3:1), Satan says God has abandoned us. God says we are beloved (Jeremiah 31:3), Satan tries to convince us that we are unlovable. God says we are able to do great things in His name (John 14:12), Satan whispers to us “you can’t…you will fail…you’re too weak.” God has declared that through Jesus Christ we are forgiven and cleansed (1 John 1:9), Satan tells us we wear the banner of our past across our chest. Satan is a liar.
God is in the transformation business, rebuilding and remaking our lives according to His plan and purpose. And Jeremiah 29:11 says that He has “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you a future and a hope.” God has created you with “a good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2) in mind. Nothing and no one defines you but God. Whatever your past has been, whatever other voices have said about you, whatever the enemy has tried to tell you about yourself, hear this above anything else: You are who God says you are. And He has said “You are mine.”
God, the world and the enemy and my own past cast me as a weak and hopeless loser, but You have said I am Your child, the apple of Your eye, Your beloved. Lord, help me to see myself as You have declared me to be: Your very own. Amen.