Do you ever put yourself down? Do you ever wish you were more? Do you feel that others might accept you better if you were different?
If you are a Christian, let me share some truth: it is not about you; it is all about Christ in you.
The Apostle Paul knew the human heart and the human mind. Paul understood how we often beat ourselves up over insignificant things, put ourselves down, wish we were more or had more. Paul understood the often maladaptive thought patterns with which we deal.
In his second letter to the Corinthians, he asks: do you need letters of recommendation (2 Corinthians 3:1)? Paul could easily say: are you looking to others for sufficiency, or do others look to you for sufficiency?
A recurring theme throughout all Paul’s letters: it is not about me; it is all about Christ. There is no difference in his second writing to the Corinthians. Paul plainly states where the Christian finds sufficiency — in Christ alone. Paul says that the Christian is not sufficient to claim anything as coming from the self; instead, the Christians’ sufficiency is from God (2 Corinthians 3:5) through Christ Jesus.
For the Christ-follower, to put yourself down, to wish you were more, or to feel that others would accept you if you were different is to say that Christ’s work for you is incomplete.
Can you imagine looking at Jesus saying, “Sorry Jesus, Your death on the cross was not enough.”
In essence, when we allow thoughts of inferiority, we risk looking to others to be our sufficiency.
Paul tells us how to take our maladaptive thoughts and make them adaptive. Paul says the Christian is not sufficient to claim anything as coming from the self; instead, the Christians’ sufficiency is from God through Christ Jesus.
So, the next time you find yourself saying, “I wish I were more,” take that thought captive (2 Corinthians 10:5) — make it obedient to Christ by saying, “My sufficiency is in Christ alone.” Turn maladaptive thinking into adaptive thinking.
The same is true if we feel we are sufficient in and of ourselves. Maybe your struggle is being overly proud of your achievements.
In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul also asks, are you commending yourselves again (Corinthians 3:1)? Thinking too highly of the self can be just as maladaptive. Jesus says that in God’s economy, the first will be last, and the last will be first (Matthew 20:16). Paul reminds us that regardless of overly assessing or under assessing our sufficiency, it is not about “me;” rather, it is all about Christ.
For the Christian, there is no such thing as a self-made person. The Christian is a new creation in Christ. Our sufficiency is in Christ alone. Likewise, there should be no victim mentality or self-defecating behavior — the Christians’ sufficiency is in Christ alone.
In other words, it is not about me. Instead, it is all about Christ.
All Christians find sufficiency in Christ alone. Next time you are taking a bow, remember, in Christ, you find your sufficiency. Next time you criticize yourself, step back and recognize your value to God — He has given you sufficiency through His dear Son. Regardless of which scenario fits you, step back and say, “it is not about me; it is all about Christ. Jesus is my sufficiency.”
Chuck Hartman is Pastor at Up River Friends and is reachable at firstname.lastname@example.org.