Monday, April 7, 2008


...from Bill Gothard Seminars

If you took a poll on whether people were satisfied with the way God designed them, you'd get a resounding NO. It wouldn't matter who you asked, even the "beautiful people" would probably be screaming NO the loudest.

It seems so unfair that we didn't have a say in how tall we were going to be, our skin color, hair color, eye color, hair texture, and especially body shape. But lets face the facts. No matter how close to the mark God got to your idea of the ideal body, there would always be something to complain about. That's because we're constantly comparing ourselves to other people. We're always too something. It's a lose/lose situation.

And physical beauty isn't the only thing we complain to God about. What about your family? Why couldn't God have put you into a "normal" family? Why did they have to be alcoholics / abusers / boring / strict / unloving / poor / wealthy / religious / hedonistic / you name it? And what about those siblings? Were you the youngest / oldest / stuck in the middle? Or maybe an only child, or adopted, or orphaned.

Most people do not accept the way God made them and it taints every relationship they have. If we reject the design, it's very difficult to trust the Designer. This leaves us feeling inadequate and inferior. When we state "I hate myself," what we're actually referring to is the unchangeable physical features God gave us. Our animosity is toward God, not ourselves.

"…No man ever yet hated his own flesh…" Ephesians 5:29

Our thought sequence is … "Since God created everybody and He loves everybody, then if what I see in the mirror is an example of that creativity and love, then I can't trust Him."

The fact is that God designed us before we were born.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. -- Psalm 139:14-16

Genesis 1:27 reminds us that we are made in His image. "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them."

Isaiah 45:9-10 states that we are not to presume we know better than God what we should look like or who we should be.

Woe to him who quarrels with his Maker, to him who is but a potsherd among the potsherds on the ground. Does the clay say to the potter, 'What are you making?' Does your work say, 'He has no hands'? Woe to him who says to his father, 'What have you begotten?' or to his mother, 'What have you brought to birth?'

God has no outward ideal. In I Samuel 16:7 God instructed Samuel to stop looking for someone who looked kingly and remember that God looks at the heart. "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."

Our inferior feelings manifest themselves in self-criticism, withdrawal, depression, irrationality, lack of trust, a lack of love for our family members, extravagance, and over-attention to outward appearance. All of these are visible signs that someone is suffering from feelings of inferiority, envy, and/or unreturned affection.

The root problems that cause these feelings are bitterness, temporal values (like greed), and moral impurity in thoughts, actions, and habits. Bitterness is a feeling of deep anger and ill-will caused by unresolved issues that has been suppressed because they are too difficult or distasteful to accept. That resentment eats away at you and eventually manifests itself outwardly. Temporal values are worldly desires for material possessions. Moral impurity in thoughts, actions, and habits are also part of the root problems behind the feelings of inadequacy and inferiority because God has placed it in us to know when we are violating His laws. It's called a conscious.

We're constantly comparing ourselves to other people, rejecting one or more of the ten "unchangeables" that God has designed into each of us. The result is pride. We limit our field of comparison and develop a sense of superiority. Our "defects" were designed by God to produce the opposite, humility, so He can give us more grace.

The ten unchangeables are:

  1. Physical features -- some things we can change, some we can't.

  2. Parents -- God chose your parents to develop your character a certain way so He could use you for His glory.

  3. Siblings -- God also chose your siblings to hone you into a servant for Him.

  4. Race and nationality -- He has a special plan for you where you are. You're in the right position to do great things for Him.

  5. Mental capacity -- We can train ourselves to be as smart as we can be, even if we are mentally challenged.

  6. Time in history -- Your time is now. (Esther 4:14)

  7. Gender -- God designed your DNA to determine who you are. There's nothing you can do to change it, so learn how to be the best man or woman you can be.

  8. Birth order -- God places us where we need to be to develop our character.

  9. Aging -- Until God initiates His new order at the end of the ages (Revelation 21:1-5), we will grow old. We have two choices on how well we age: either we wear and tear, or we rust and rot. Either way, we will grow old.

  10. Death -- Dead is the curse of man for his sin. (Genesis 3:19)

We have to remember that God is not finished with us yet. We are His poema (Ephesians 2:10) and He will not forsake the work of His hands. (Psalm 138:8)

Our outward beauty is not related to our inward happiness, but our inward happiness manifests itself outwardly, so it IS related to our outward beauty. II Corinthians 4:16 states "Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day." Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting (Proverbs 31:30) but inner beauty is the thing God will praise us for.

God's universal inward ideal is the character of Jesus Christ.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.

God yearns for us to be happy and He know that developing the character of Jesus Christ is the basis of true happiness. The Beatitudes of Matthew 5:3-11 and the Fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23 summarize the essence of His character and the rewards for developing it. I've paired up the Blessings and the Fruit.*[from the Amplified Bible]

"Blessed are the poor in spirit (the humble), for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." PATIENCE that the Lord will provide our needs.
"Blessed are those who mourn (over sin), for they will be comforted." JOY comes from the Lord and there is no sorrow in it.
"Blessed are the meek (strength under control), for they will inherit the earth." GENTLENESS does not put itself before others or cause harm.
"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness (for God), for they will be filled." GOODNESS is manifested by the moral excellence of those who seek holiness.
"Blessed are the merciful (no bitterness), for they will be shown mercy." KINDNESS shown instead of revenge, anger, or cruelty.
"Blessed are the pure in heart (wise and holding nothing back from God), for they will see God." LOVE exists fully in those who are wise enough to know they can't hide anything from God and who don't try to.
"Blessed are the peacemakers (soul winners), for they will be called sons of God." PEACE is found when we are reconciled with God.
"Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." FAITHFULNESS is our steadiness in allegiance to God in the face of persecution.
"Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you." SELF-CONTROL is remaining level-headed and restrained through self-discipline.
* You may have another way to pair the Beatitudes and Fruit of the Spirit up. This is just the way I see it.

Our unique features are frames God uses to highlight His message in us and if necessary, God will sacrifice our outer beauty to develop our inner character.

But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. 10That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.-- II Corinthians 12:9-10

Does this mean we have to just "suck it up" and live with all our defects? No. We can correct them ourselves, if possible. Paul took medication for his frequent infirmities (I Timothy 5:23)

We can pray that God will remove the defect. Even Paul prayed that his thorn in the flesh be taken from him. (II Corinthians 12:8; James 5:14-16) God did not remove his, but that doesn't mean He won't remove yours. If having the defect interfers with your witness, God will remove it or work it out so that you can remove it.

You can also find new meaning in your old defects. After all, God has put His mark of ownership on you. Galatians 6:17 states "Finally, let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus." Make a list of the benefits having your defect has on your witness.

You can thank God for all your "unchangeables" and confess any bitterness toward Him for the things about yourself that you don't like. Put yourself back on His easel and regain the ground you gave over to Satan when you decided to live in bitterness.

Find out what is God's special purpose for your life and begin to fulfill it.


Criticizing or attacking someone for something they can't change (one of the ten changeables listed above) is unfair and ungodly. It can be devastating to both of you. Devastating to them because you have attacked the core of their being, which they can do nothing to change, and devastating to you because God will hold you responsible for your cruelty.

Keep that in mind the next time you have an argument and find yourself using personal attacks instead of focusing on the real point of disagreement.