Tag Archives: Saul

Reflections in a Mirror – How do you see you?

Have you ever seen that cute poster that shows a little cat sitting in front of a full length mirror and the reflection is that of a huge lion? The point that this image is conveying is that how you see yourself is of utmost importance. But is that really true? Isn’t that a bit self-centered and egotisical?

With all the focus on “self esteem” and “self worth” and the “look-at -me” social media lifestyle we live with today, I took issue with this mind set. I took issue because God doesn’t teach us to be so self-centered and ego-driven. His Word tells us to be humble and modest and to place others before us. But when we look around and see the drug abuse, eating disorders, violence in schools, hazing and peer pressure and all the pain and suffering caused by negative self-image, poor self-worth and the desire for acceptance, I had to rethink my position.

I looked into the Word of God and found somethings I’d like to share.

   Psalms 23:7 tells us that:

For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he

   There are many examples in the Bible of those who had either a very low self esteem or a prideful sense of self and God dealt with both accordingly. In Judges chapter 6 we see the angle of the Lord address Gideon as a “Mighty man of Valor!” yet, Gideon reveals very clearly how he sees himself in his response;

15 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel?

My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.

  Gideon says that in all of Israel his family is the smallest, weakest and least powerful family and as if that wasn’t enough – he is the least of them! He just opened his mouth and declared himself to be one of the least powerful, important or capable people in the whole country!! Wow! talk about a poor self-image. But keep in mind that this is not how God sees him. Thankfully, this is not the end of Gideon’s story. He goes on, with the power of God, to fulfill his destiny as a mighty man of valor and saves Israel – see Judges 7

But lets look at how Gideon could say such a thing. Jesus gives us insight into where such things come from –

For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. Like 6:45

   So we see that Gideon said this about himself because that is what he really believed deep down inside himself. Regardless of what anyone else thought or said about him – he felt helpless and small. Thankfully God was able to turn his thinking around.

But lets look at an example of an over-inflated ego – King Saul

 There was a man of Benjamin whose name was Kish the son of Abiel, the son of Zeror, the son of Bechorath, the son of Aphiah, a Benjamite, a mighty man of power.  And he had a choice and handsome son whose name was Saul. There was not a more handsome person than he among the children of Israel. From his shoulders upward he was taller than any of the people. 1 Sam 9:1-3

   Unlike Gideon, Saul was a handsome man who came from a powerful family and was taller than anyone else around. Add to that the fact that he was chosen to be King of Israel and you have a formula for pride, self-reliance and disobedience. 1 Samuel records the story of how Saul, ordered to kill the Amalekites and not leave alive or take anything. He did not obey. He let the men take the best of the livestock under the pretense of making a sacrifice to God with them. His pride and concern for public opinion among the men of Israel caused him to disobey God and that cost him the crown. He was rejected by God as king over Israel and later, a small, skinny boy would be chosen to take his place – David.

Young David is an example of a healthy self-image.

  With Saul rejected as King the Prophet Samuel is sent by God to the house of Jesse to anoint a new king. Jesse has seven of his sons stand before the prophet but God says no to each of them. Only after the young skinny son that Jesse overlooked was brought before Samuel did God command – Go, anoint this one! David began his journey as King of Israel. David, who even as a child had a good self image and knew how he stood with God. This is clearly seen in the way in which David stood up to Goliath even though the entire army shook with fear of that giant.

David declares that no one should be fearful about this man because he (little skinny boy David) will fight and defeat him! On the surface this might seem like a prideful statement but David was drawing on the confidence inside him because of his relationship with the One True God and past experiences.

But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep his father’s sheep, and when a lion or a bear came and took a lamb out of the flock, 35 I went out after it and struck it, and delivered the lamb from its mouth; and when it arose against me, I caught it by its beard, and struck and killed it. 36 Your servant has killed both lion and bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, seeing he has defied the armies of the living God.” 37 Moreover David said, “The Lord, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” 1 Samuel 17:24-37

  David trusted in his own ability coupled with the power of God with him. Much like Daniel in the Lion’s den who trusted, come what may, in God’s Love to see him threw the situation ahead of them. Hopefully, you know how both these stories end. If not please look into it.

So, you see it’s all about a balance. You are not the lowest of the low no matter how you might feel and likewise, you are not he greatest one to walk the earth, even if you think you are!

Getting back to that cat looking at it’s reflection in the mirror.

He should see a great and mighty Lion in the mirror

as long as he also sees The Lord Jesus Christ beside him

otherwise it’s all and illusion!

Jesus said it best –

“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. John 15:5

  Be blessed today as you go forth in the Power of the Holy Spirit to stand confidently in your place with Jesus by your side. Al

Further verses on this subject are listed here for our consideration.

Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall. Pr 16:18

Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:4

But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time 1 Peter 5:6

The Same..Only Different

For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.

Romans 11:29 NKJV

We all have gifts. They are as much a part of us as our hair color or fingerprints. They have been given to us by God long before we knew him. Whether we misused these gifts or tried to hide them, they are in us and make up who we are. Saul of Tarsus was a man who had a gift. His gift was a true love for God. A zeal for God that was unwavering and unquenchable. He considered himself to be a true follower of God. His impressive resume is clearly shown in Philippians 3:4-6 –

although I once also had confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he has grounds for confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised the eighth day; of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrews; regarding the law, a Pharisee; regarding zeal, persecuting the church; regarding the righteousness that is in the law, blameless.”

Very impressive. Today we would say that Saul is the right man for the job. Fully qualified. From the best family and educated at the best school. An Ivy League, well breed man. Except….

Except, he was kicking against the thorns. He was fighting the wrong fight. This man with a righteous upbringing and a vast knowledge of God was going in the wrong direction and actually fighting against the God whom he loved. That’s why God knocked him off his horse and blinded him long enough to show him his error.

Saul became the Apostle Paul. The same Paul who went on to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ to the ends of the known world, wrote two-thirds of the New Testament, considered the afflictions suffered for Christ’s sake as minor, saw a glimpse of heaven and lived to tell us about it.

 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come

2 Corinthians 5:17 HCSB

So, I want to ask you a question. Did Saul become a new man named Paul? Or, was he still the same?

I see in Paul a man with a great personal knowledge of God and zeal that carried him all over the world telling people about Jesus. Kinda sounds like something didn’t change.

So, he was the same…only different!

That’s my point exactly. Paul had gifts inside him that made him who he was. Smart, well read, passionate, bold, courageous. These gifts didn’t disappear when he was converted. No, they were re-directed. He was turned around and set in the right direction by the hand of God to the glory of God and for the fulfillment of his calling. The “newness” of Paul (besides his name change) was that he no longer opposed God and was now working with God. But his gift remained in him.

So, by now, if you are still reading, you are asking – “What does this have to do with me?” – Clearly, EVERYTHING!!

God created all of us with gifts. Gifts, abilities, passions, aptitudes, talents, call them what you will, they are in you and are you. If you don’t know Jesus right now those gifts might be being misused or hijacked but they can be redirected. Call out to Jesus and He will answer you and direct you.

If you do know Jesus but think you have no talent – you’re wrong. What you need to do is stop looking around at others and seeing their gifts and look inside yourself. Quietly, thoughtfully, prayerfully and patiently look for the passion within you and ask God to use it for His glory.

It does not matter what level of education or position in society. It doesn’t matter where you live or how you were raised. It doesn’t matter who old you are or how physically fit you may be.

You are unique! You are Special and you are GIFTED! There is a place in this world for you and your gift – it’s waiting for you. Like an empty space in Gods Kingdom that’s ready for you to fill.

Don’t worry, you’ll still be you – the same…only different!!

Be Blessed, Al

PS – The Apostle Peter is also a wonderful example of a gifted man who was redirected to the glory of god – look for him in an up coming post. Al