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God Has a Plan for Our Lives

By Dr. Don Dunlap
Pastoral Counselor
When we reject His design for our lives, we are not likely to trust God, the Designer. - Do you know Christians who seem to be bound by the sin of self-centeredness? When we do not understand the biblical principles of self-identity, we are unable to love others selflessly. Do you consider yourself a victim of poor self-esteem? Have you ever wasted time and energy worrying that other people will not accept you? Tragically, many Christian counselors assign the diagnosis of “low self-image” to countless numbers of clients. In this series on self-identity, Dr. Dunlap reminds us that when we focus on our own fears, inhibitions and disappointments, we cannot minister God’s love to other people.

An epidemic of anxiety, fear and worry has infected our society. Many Christians struggle with what has been called an “identity crisis.” They do not understand how to view themselves as God views them. Unbiblical teaching on the topic of self-image is one of the greatest contributing factors to the pervasive panic that has gripped the Christian community.

People who have rejected the design of their lives are unlikely to trust the Designer.

A person who does not understand the biblical principles of self-identity tends to manifest certain attitudes in his or her life.

The writer of Ephesians 2:10 tells us,

We are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works.

Someone who has failed to grasp this truth is unable to trust God. If a person has rejected the design of his life, he will not place his confidence in the Designer.

We disobey God when we compare ourselves with other people.

Many people lodge complaints against God because of their unchangeable features such as physical characteristics, talents, abilities, parentage and social heritage. Such an attitude is shortsighted and communicates ungratefulness toward God. Christians who are bitter and who harbor grudges against their Creator do not comprehend the scriptural definition of self-identity.


When we compare ourselves with others and when we long to change aspects of our lives that are unchangeable, we are guilty of the sins of resentment and ingratitude. Consider the words of Romans 9:20,

But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’

A person who places too much emphasis on clothing fashions may be seeking to cover up the fact that he or she has rejected God’s design of his or her physical features. In Matthew 6:25, Jesus specifically warns us about paying undue attention to clothes:

Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life, about your body, or what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?

When people do not accept themselves as God created them to be, they cannot compensate by dressing outlandishly or immodestly.

Many Christians convince themselves that they are “shy” when the truth is that they do not understand biblical self-identity.

Christians who do not have a biblical self-concept often do not reach out to other people. They hide behind the excuse of shyness when the root problem is more accurately a fear of what other people might think of them. When we fear other peoples’ opinions, however, we often cause them to reflect our attitudes back to us.

God is not pleased when we are withdrawn and turned inward. We must learn to identify this warning sign of an identity crisis and then we need to take specific steps toward becoming others-centered.

Believers who do not understand their identity in Christ are unable to love others selflessly. They are so focused on their own fears, inhibitions and disappointments that they cannot minister God’s love to other people.

We read in Matthew 19:19 that we are to love our neighbors as ourselves. Yet we will be bound by the sins of selfishness and self-centeredness until we yield ourselves completely to God. When we come to understand the truth that we are image-bearers of our Heavenly Father, we will realize our infinite worth as His children.


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