WHEN I was a teenager, I had an enormous inferiority complex. It was so bad in my own eyes that I sometimes cried with the frustration of it all. It was all in my imagination of course, but at the time it seemed real. There was no real reason for it of course as I have many fond memories of my childhood. Love existed in the family home, we lacked for nothing; we had good health and did many things as a family unit, but for some reason, I had developed a complex that could have been debilitating. Some people grow out of it, but sadly many never rise above that feeling of unworthiness and hopelessness.
I was caught up to the third heaven fourteen years ago. Whether I was in my body or out of my body, I don’t know—only God knows.
Yes, only God knows whether I was in my body or outside my body. But I do know
He asked the Lord three times to remove it and the Lord told him to deal with it himself. I have learned that God will not answer two kinds or prayer. One is asking Him to do something that He has already done and the other is asking Him to do something He expects us to do. After all, if Jesus delegated His authority to us, He expects us to use it!
Sometimes those scales or blindfolds are spiritual! Sometimes we cannot see the truth even when it hits you in the face. Paul said-
...if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
In the Genesis account, God commanded light to come. It was a simple command, “Light be” and light was. Once the light of God shines and He speaks, everything changes. When God’s light shone in my heart, as it can for you, the darkness was dispelled and I could then see myself as God sees me. God has commanded His light to shine in your life to reveal Jesus to you, in you and through you. Paul said it comes to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in Jesus Christ, but we are the ones who reveal it. This knowledge is gnōsis. It comes from the word ginōskō and describes the act of learning and feeling something in very intimate terms, to be aware, perceive and understand something. The Hebrew paints a picture of intimacy the likes of which is experienced in marriage when we see scriptures like “Adam knew his wife”. God wants us to know Him so closely that He likens our relationship as being married, a term He uses often, especially when talking about Israel.
The light that God commanded to appear in Genesis is ʾôr in the Hebrew that is not just the absence of darkness, or a luminary. It severed the dark (not darkness) that shrouded the planet. It is life itself and is closely related to joy and happiness. What previously existed was pain, suffering, misery and death that is the Hebrew word ḥōshek.
This is where the devil wants us and without the manifestation of God’s truth, that is where people remain. He blinds people’s minds or sight, to keep them in the dark.
I had attended church all my life, but church attendance never saved me. Christening didn’t. I was the parish priest’s protégé, a member of synod, on the parochial council and underwent all the Church ordinances. All that those things like confirmation did was allow me to take communion as a sacrament, but it never saved me. It was not until I had a revelation of the Lord, that I was saved. The aspects of light I summarised above were just not there because religion is not based on the revelation and transformation that really matters.
Paul was by his own admission a Jew’s’ Jew. He was a well educated man who had studied under the best of the best. Today, he could brag and boast of his doctorates and diplomas, as many do and I when I was studying for mine, the Lord rebuked me, saying that He did not want me stamped in their cookie cutter mould—clones of clones, cloning more clones. He told me that He wanted to teach me and this is extremely important.
Whilst we are not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together and become loners, the relationship is one-on-one and this is where the Holy Spirit enters the equation. He is the one who guides us, leads us and teaches us. Jesus said so. We often see preachers call themselves “prophet so-and-so”, “apostle so-and-so”, or “bishop so-and-so”. Many times pastors seem to demand a title “Pastor” so-and-so” and whilst we give respect, credit and honour where it is due, it is often taken to extreme and that’s dangerous! I am a pastor and I have ministry gifts and spiritual gifts, but I rarely use any titles. Check it out! Explore this web site.
Look at how Paul often described himself.
PAUL, AN apostle—[special messenger appointed and commissioned and sent out] not from [any body of] men nor by or through any man, but by and through Jesus Christ (the Messiah) and God the Father, Who raised Him from among the dead—
The opening words in all of his epistles employed this principle. He operated by the principles of revelation.
Now am I trying to win the favor of men, or of God? Do I seek to please men? If I were still seeking popularity with men, I should not be a bond servant of Christ (the Messiah).
He then gave part of his testimony. Please read it from verse 15 onwards. Verse 16 says that he never conferred with other men and waited for 3 years before having a meeting with Peter. I think it took him 17 years before he was fully recognised publicly. I think we have often got it wrong. We want it yesterday! I got a little technical then for a reason. Paul said that all of this light stuff (revelation) is a treasure that is hidden within each and every one of us. It has a two-fold purpose. The obvious one I suppose is that we are the ones who are supposed to have the answers.
We are His witnesses, but no one can be a witness to anything unless they see what happens.
What happened is that the King of glory came to live inside us. Paul described this as being a heavenly treasure hidden in an old clay pot, or earthen vessels. If this light is not shining in us and radiating out from us, it is hidden.
The second reason, which is what I want to major on, is that once this light starts to shine inside us, it reveals many things. Some of them are what we want to hide or pretend do not exist. They are our failures and shortcomings. They are not revealed to condemn us, but to show us where we stand so that we can deal with them. Others are good.
I mentioned before how I had that major personality quirk. It was a spiritual problem. We can have spiritual issues and we can have natural issues. Before I was born again, the devil had whispered in my ear that I was inferior. There was no need to cast any evil spirit out—I was merely living in darkness, but once the light shone, I saw the truth and when you know the truth it emancipates you. When I once looked in a mirror and either cried or got a fright, I can now look and laugh. There is a laugh that believers can have and it is a victor’s laugh!
I was in captivity without knowing it, but the Lord turned my captivity around and allowed me to enter into the victory He won for me.
When the LORD turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream.
The joy of the Lord has great benefit.
A happy heart is good medicine and a cheerful mind works healing, but a broken spirit dries up the bones. Proverbs 17:22
Why don’t you walk into your bathroom and look at the person in a mirror and have a good belly laugh right now.
The bible talks much about joy. You doubtless know this one-
The joy of the Lord is your strength. Nehemiah 8:10
This is often where most people stop, but look at the whole story.
It happened when Nehemiah, Ezra and the Levites comforted the people. They had been in exile for so long it was not funny, but returned to their beloved Jerusalem and rebuilt the Temple. Over all those years, they had not held the observances that God had instituted correctly and temple worship was all but non existent. The reading of the Law had virtually ceased. When they came back home, the word of the Lord was being read again as it was supposed to be read and it produced results-
...they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading. Nehemiah 8:8
If you read Nehemiah 8 from verse 1, you will see that they gathered together in unity! Ezra started reading the word of God—and everyone stood up! There was reverence. Ezra blessed the Lord! This is where we start. It is all about Him. We give Him the honour and credit first. When he blessed the Lord, the people shouted “Amen” and lifted their hands in worship. They then bowed their heads. That speaks for itself. Im not talking about ceremonial rituals or traditions, but a reverence that comes from the heart.
When the word was read, they wept and mourned. Weeping and mourning can happen for several reasons. One is that “you have been found out” and know you have fallen short of the mark, but one can weep for joy. The latter is what I am taking about.
We see this in Ezra 3, when the foundations of the temple were laid. The people were so happy that they wept, laughed and shouted and the noise could be heard from a long distance.
Sombre silence and solemness does nothing for me. Some churches I have been to is more like visiting a mortuary, where you could strike a match on some people’s faces. I like the light, brotherly love, fellowship (not two fellows in a ship), joy, hope, faith and positiveness we can all enjoy in the Lord in our daily lives in private—and in our corporate worship. Those who know me personally know that I have a seen of humour that often comes out.
I am not referring to silly giggling kinds of “joy” but the one that comes when you have a relationship with Jesus. It’s effervescent. It’s catching. It attracts and it can be handled with dignity, honour and good manners.
In my research, I found over 170 references to the word Joy. I like this one-
You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy, at Your right hand there are pleasures forevermore. Psalm 16:11
Here are a few more- Psalm 30:5; 35:27; 42:4; 43:4; 126:5; 132:9; Isaiah 12:1-3; 35:10; 51;3; 55:12; 61:3-7 and Jeremiah 31:13. There are many more and I have not even shared New Testament verses.
I want to show you this next-
Though the fig tree does not blossom and there is no fruit on the vines, [though] the product of the olive fails and the fields yield no food, though the flock is cut off from the fold and there are no cattle in the stalls, Yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will exult in the [victorious] God of my salvation!
Habakkuk stated that despite all the dramas of life,
I will be joyful and rejoice in the Lord. It is a choice process. Someone needed this! Let it go my friend…
When I saw myself for the first time as Jesus saw me, instead of seeing someone in the mirror who thought he was a nobody, a pimply faced kid with one hair on his chest who did not know how to hold down a good conversation with anyone and more, I saw someone that God actually liked as well as loved. I learned to look at that person and tell him, “Hey! I like you. You’re OK. You have a future and you have a destiny”.
It did not happen overnight, but once I saw what the Lord said about me...I made it personal and applied it.
Even in psychology and psychiatry, which I dislike because it deals only with the natural mind, there is a saying, “I’m OK, You’re OK, We’re OK” and to a certain extent this is true, but it is like trying to pull yourself up by your shoelaces.
When God tells you that you are OK, that is a totally different matter. You might not yet see it or even believe it yet, but that’s truth. Without going overboard on ego trips, we need to have a much higher opinion of ourselves at times that we do. Paul said -
I APPEAL to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of [all] the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies [presenting all your members and faculties] as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship.
What he said works in reverse also. In simple terms, do not have too a low self image. The reason is not only for our own benefit, but think what God gets out of it. He wants to be a proud Father, boasting over His kids. I use my imagination a lot. That’s OK. God gave us one, so why not use it? I imagine God looking at us and saying to someone (and it could be you), “Do you see that person there (mentioning your name)? Isn’t he (or she), wonderful? He is precious.”
Try to picture that right now. I’ll let you into a little secret. “I”m His favourite!” Go on, laugh at me if you want, but it’s true!
Now if you get a revelation of this, you’re His favourite too!
There may be times when we do not think so. God can seem a million miles away, but He isn’t. We can somethings think that He has forgotten us, but He hasn’t. I know this because of what He said-
Sing for joy, O heavens! Rejoice, O earth! Burst into song, O mountains! For the LORD has comforted his people and will have compassion on them in their suffering.
I am not endorsing tattooing. My personal belief, based on scripture, is that it is destructive—a cutting of the body that is the temple of the Holy Spirit and God forbade such things.
Every time this person looks at the palms of his hands, he sees your picture.
That’s how much God thinks of you!
Let me take this a title further. There is a letting of blood in the process. Ahhh! Are you getting the picture yet?
Still using my imagination, is it remotely possible that the colouring of our image on His hand is red? The blood of Jesus was red. I have no scriptural evidence (yet), but are these tattoos and the blood of Jesus interconnected on some way? That’s getting way out there now, but I say this only to illustrate how precious you and I are to God. Think for a moment how often you look at your hands each day. I have no idea how often, but God does and every time He “looks at the palms of His hands” He sees you.
God told Zerubbabel in Haggai 2:23 that he would take him as His own and make him His signet. “The signet on the right hand" is a figure for that which is particularly precious to someone (see also Jeremiah 22:24). This is powerful. A signet ring is worn on the owner’s hand! It is a sign of ownership and authority. Documents were and are still authenticated by affixing seal impressions, usually by melting wax and stamping or rolling the signet into it to leave an impression.
When I started to see how much God loved me, I was dumfounded; amazed; stunned; overwhelmed; gobsmacked; reduced to tears; joyful and more… Words cannot adequately describe it. We often think in general terms, but God thinks of us in individual terms. Jesus told us that He knows everything about is in Matthew 10:30-31 and Luke 12:7. For Him it’s personal.
He calls you by your name. He called Abraham MY friend. He called Moses MY servant. Jesus calls us HIS disciples. We are in a love affair with the God of creation and He KNOWS us ME! Note that I crossed out the us, to make it personal!
For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
This can be so impersonal at times. God loves the world in which there are 7,400,000,000 people. Little wonder we can often feel lost in a crowd. But look at this in a different way. Place your own name in the appropriate places-
For God loved (your name) so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that (your name) who believes in him will not perish but (your name) has eternal life.
Look at 1 John 3 in the same way. I’ve made it personal.
See how very much MY Father loves ME, for he calls ME his child, and that is what I AM! But the people who belong to this world don’t recognize that I AM God’s child because they don’t know Him.
I had one of those big presentation bibles in a satin lined case that sat on my mantlepiece gathering dust. On odd occasions, I tried to read it, starting from page one. After all, that’s where everyone starts reading a book, isn't it? I got as far as those genealogy pages and quit. You know, this person lived for a certain time and begat so-and so- who lived so long and begat so-and-so and on it went. It was like chewing dry sawdust. Not long after I was saved, I started to read the bible properly. Suddenly it made sense. Suddenly it was alive. It was as if the author was looking over my shoulder and explaining what he meant. There were times when a verse seemed to leap out of the page...zooming out to me like a 3D effect. I got hungry for more. My friend, if you are hungry, God will feed you. That’s His promise. See Matthew 5:6 and John 6:35.
One day, I turned the page to Colossians chapter 2 and the words, Ye are complete in Him hit me in the face. Paul was saying what I often feel now for other people.
I want you to know how much I have agonized for you and for the church at Laodicea, and for many other believers who have never met me personally.
Paul gave a warning, as I often do to avoid being trapped into man-made religion.
Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ.
If the fullness of the Godhead dwells in Christ and if He dwells in us, this means that the Godhead dwells in us also! Wow! So much for my inferiority complex! Before, I had such a low self esteem, it made me cry. I often avoided other people because I felt so unworthy. Things I tried to do and failed, suddenly became possible. As one example, I had been a smoker. I tried to quit many times but couldn’t. One evening, I was sitting at my kitchen table reading the bible with a cigarette in my hand and looked at it, wondering why I had it. I said to myself (sometimes we need to talk to ourselves), “You don’t need that. You’ve got something better” so I told the Lord, “I’ll quit for you” and was instantly released—with His help.
Once I saw myself as God sees me, my whole life turned around. I was invited to be the guest speaker at a Bible Society rally and when I was introduced the nervousness and inability to speak left. I was able to testify to the crowd of what God had done for me and it was wonderful. Previously, I could not handle a one-on-one conversation well at all. I later realised (in the late 70’s) how effectively God had released me when I was attending a Christian convention at Anaheim in California and was invited to be interviewed on satellite TV. The compare and I were standing before the cameras, with the satellite dishes pointing upwards and the floor manager performing the countdown. The nerves started to kick in and my stomach started to churn, when I recalled the scripture, I can do all things through the anointing within me and upon me.
I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ's sufficiency]. Philippians 4:13
The floor manager was counting down, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5 and the churning grew worse. I had made one mistake previously by asking how many people would be watching and was advised that on this session at least 12 million viewers would be watching live! The man kept counting, 4, 3, 2, 1 and when he pointed in our direction and the compare said, “I’d like to introduce Robert H Carter. Say hello to America Robert”, the nerves totally disappeared and we had a great time. The reason any of us can do anything is that we are not alone. If you believe you can’t and say it...you can’t. Don’t ever do the Lord a disservice by saying you don’t know how to speak on His behalf. If you are in the right place at the right time doing the right thing that He orchestrates, you can do it.
Years later, I started to chuckle and didn't know why. A joy came over me when I was asking the Lord for directions concerning our ministry direction asking Him if I could do it and He said, “You can do anything Robert”. I’m not speaking of foolishness of course. If it is a “God thing”, you can do it. This is a good place to stop now. I think I have shared enough to let you know that you are more than a conqueror; that you are precious in God’s eyes, that you are clean, loved, wanted, fulfilled and all the superlatives you can imagine, because Jesus made it so.
Finally, walk back to your mirror, take a real honest look at the person there and point your finger to him or her and say, “I like you. God likes you. We like each other.” Now, start laughing!