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You are God’s masterpiece. (Ephesians 2:10)
The dictionary defines a “masterpiece” as “a person’s greatest work of art,” or a “consummate example of skill or excellence.” Now, when God’s Word describes you as His masterpiece, what comes into your mind? Do you accept His assessment, or do you think, Well, He must be talking about someone else…if He really knew me, He wouldn’t think that!
Your personal identity—how you see yourself—is often shaped by your early experiences in life. Maybe your parents said things to you as a child that made you doubt your worth. Maybe you were rejected or abused. If so, I can relate to what you have been through, because I experienced every kind of rejection and abuse as I was growing up. I was sexually, verbally, emotionally and physically abused by my father from the time I can remember until I finally left home at the age of 18. I then carried those emotional wounds into my first marriage to a man who also treated me badly and eventually left me.
Even when I met and married Dave Meyer—a wonderful, loving man—I didn’t know how to give or receive love. I was controlling, manipulative, angry, critical, negative, overbearing and judgmental. All I had grown up with, I had become. My problems were deep inside me, caused by years of abuse, a wrong mindset and my wounded emotions.
Now, I was born-again during those years. I loved Jesus. I believed my sins were forgiven and that I would go to heaven when I died. But I had no victory, no peace, no joy in my life. I felt condemned all the time. The only time I didn’t hate myself was when I was working toward some personal goal I thought would provide me a sense of self-worth. I was worn-out, burned-out, frustrated, and miserable.
I had made the frustrating, tragic mistake of trying to find the kingdom of God, which is righteousness, peace and joy (see Romans 14:17), in things and other people. I didn’t realize the kingdom of God is within us, as the apostle Paul wrote in Colossians 1:27. My joy—and my identity—had to be found in Christ alone.
The Word says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJV). But I had not yet taken hold of the “new creation reality.” I was living out of my own mind, will and emotions, which were all damaged. Jesus had paid the price for my total deliverance, but I had no idea how to receive His gracious gift.
One day as I was reading the Bible, I noticed this statement in 2 Corinthians 5:7: “For we walk by faith [we regulate our lives and conduct ourselves by our conviction or belief respecting man’s relationship to God and divine things, with trust and holy fervor; thus we walk] not by sight or appearance” (AMP). The Holy Spirit stopped me and asked, “What do you believe, Joyce, about your relationship with God? Do you believe He loves you?” As I honestly began to search my heart and to study His Word on the subject, I concluded He did love me—but conditionally.
But the Bible teaches that God loves us perfectly or unconditionally. His perfect love is not based on our perfection or anything except Himself (see 1 John 4:8). He always loves us, but often we don’t receive His love because of guilt about our wrong behavior. We are supposed to be conscious and aware of God’s love and put faith in it. But I was unconscious and unaware of God’s love; therefore, I was not putting faith in His love for me. What a breakthrough! That was the beginning of my emotional healing. It has been a process, but today I can honestly say I am healed and content. I know in my heart that God loves me—and I also love myself.
A lot of people still struggle in this area. That’s why I believe God put the topic of your identity in Christ on my heart as the theme for our 2013 Love Life Women’s Conference. If you have ever dealt with poor self-image or felt somehow that God is mad at you, you won’t want to miss this conference.
In the meantime, saturate your mind with the truth of God’s Word. It’s filled with reminders of His unconditional love for you. He says you are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). He says that nothing can separate you from His love (Romans 8:35). Don’t let the enemy steal your identity. You are God’s masterpiece. Believe it!
This article is taken from Joyce's book, Beauty for Ashes.