Social media lets you project an image of yourself to others. The more pics you post of yourself promoting a certain identity — such as fit, sexy, adventurous, funny, daring, or wealthy — the more likely it is that others will endorse this identity of you. What you show the world may not really be you, but it’s the you that you want to be.
People today grope for some sense of identity. We long to know who we really are, but could it be that we are looking in the wrong places?
Paul wrote the letter to the Romans to reveal what we really have and who we really are in Jesus. As a Christian, he says, you are now a servant of God, and your body and life are presented to God for the accomplishing of His will. But we also must think rightly about who we are (Romans 12:3).
Too Much “Me”
When Paul tells us not to think more highly of ourselves, he means what we might call “having a big head.” This is a dangerous place to be because it leads to pride, one of the seven deadly sins.
Several aspects of life can lead to getting puffed up this way:
- Wealth: Even if we don’t admit it, we can think money makes us superior.
- Accomplishments: We think we’re better because of our accolades.
- Education: Our education makes us think we’re smarter than others.
- Religiosity: Spiritual gifts in the church can cause people to get inflated in their estimation of themselves.
Social media isn’t bad in itself, but it can become our way of saying, “Look how awesome I am.” When that happens, relationships become shallow and impossible to maintain because we don’t put others first (Philippians 2:3–4). Also, we run the risk of thinking we’re independent of God (Daniel 4).
Too Little “Me”
On the other hand, you can also think too little of yourself. You imagine that you don’t matter or that you don’t measure up. Perhaps you had a difficult childhood with an impossible-to-please parent or your marriage failed or a child rebelled.
Whatever the reason, when you give into thinking you don’t matter, you can start to feel like God doesn’t care either. That can push you into depression, substance abuse, anxiety disorders and other troubles. Perhaps Paul battled this himself because of his past as a murderer of Christians.
Either extreme — thinking too much or too little of yourself — causes you to miss your true identity. You must see yourself the way God sees you.
The Real “Me”
You can derive your identity from your accomplishments, your past (good or bad), your title, your possessions, your looks and what others say about you. Or you can find your identity in what Christ says about you. The faith Paul is talking about in Romans 12:3 isn’t your faith in Jesus to save you, but your faith in who Jesus says you are now that you are saved and have a relationship with Him.
God already loves you and approves you just like you are in Christ. You don’t have to strive, work or labor to make Him happy with you. When you know who you are in Jesus, you are free to study, share, live and serve — not to prove you are something or to get God’s approval, but because you are someone already and you rest in God’s approval that you already have.
If you feel unworthy, inadequate, unloved or smugly superior in some way, your thinking is messed up. You need to change the way you think by studying these five truths.