We must not be constantly putting ourselves down.
During a discussion on my post, ‘If God’s Number 1, I’m Number 2 – Right?‘, it came to light that is possible to put others before yourself, but in so doing, to undervalue yourself. It was mentioned to me that the Bible instructs us to “love thy neighbour as thyself” (Leviticus 19:18). It is clear from this verse, that we must not be constantly putting ourselves down, as some people are in the habit of doing. But at the same time, we should not follow the world’s advice to put ourselves first (or second, after God).
We need to get a sense of the value that God has placed on us.
We need to get a sense of the value that God has placed on us. God thought that we were worth sending Jesus to suffer and die for. Jesus thought that we were worth it too. Yes, He did it because He was obedient to the Father, but He also did it because He loves us – as the slogan says, “because you’re worth it“. I have already mentioned what the world’s antidote to being downtrodden, or not feeling good about yourself is: ‘put yourself first’, but what is God’s advice? What does the Bible have to say?
God planned for you to be born at exactly the time you were born.
Firstly, it is vital to know that you are no accident. Your parents may or may not have planned for you, they may or may not have wanted a baby; but whether you had loving parents or not, the truth is that God planned for you to be born, at exactly the time you were born and God even knew you before you were born. Psalm 139:13-15 in the Easy to Read Version says, “You formed the way I think and feel. You put me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because you made me in such a wonderful way. I know how amazing that was! You could see my bones grow as my body took shape, hidden in my mother’s womb“. God knew us before we were born and He has great plans for us, Jeremiah 29:11 in the Contemporary English Version says, “I will bless you with a future filled with hope—a future of success, not of suffering”.
We are supposed to be living like kings, not paupers.
Hebrews 4:16 tells us to come boldly to the throne of grace. Do you realise what a privilege that is? Angels cannot just walk boldly into God’s throne room whenever they want. You are someone, of immense value and importance, and God wants to ensure that you receive every blessing that He has planned for you. But the key to receiving those blessings is to get your attention off of yourself and onto God first, and others second. Let’s see what else the Bible has to say on our value and our position before God. The J.B. Phillips translation of Romans 5:17 says that, “Men by their acceptance of his more than sufficient grace and righteousness, should live all their lives like kings“. We are supposed to be living like kings, not paupers. That is how we should view ourselves, we should never view ourselves as unimportant or insignificant.
Jesus was not a doormat, why would He expect us to be?
Putting others before ourselves, does not mean that we should be doormats. “Oh, but Matthew – Jesus said that if someone makes us carry their pack one mile, we should carry it two miles. If we do things like that, people are going to walk all over us”. Really? Like they did to Jesus? Show me where in Jesus’ life, people walked all over Him. Jesus laid down His life, beginning in Gethsemane – but until that point, no-one could touch Him. If Jesus was not a doormat, why would He expect us to be? The instruction to people was, that if a Roman soldier commanded them to carry the soldier’s pack for one mile, rather than doing it with anger and resentment in their heart, the person should, out of love, offer to carry it for a second mile. The point was to do things that you are required to do, out of a cheerful attitude of love, not an attitude of resentment.
There were times when people tried to kill [Jesus], but He simply walked away.
“Well what about when Jesus said if someone hits you, to turn the other cheek to them?” Again, this was all about love. Jesus was not saying that we should just let people beat us up. He was saying that if we responded in love, instead of getting angry and hitting the other person back, God would protect us. Look at the life of Jesus, there were times when people tried to kill Him, but He simply walked away. For example, look at the J.B. Phillips translation of Luke 4:29-30, “But when they heard this, everyone in the synagogue was furiously angry. They sprang to their feet and drove him [Jesus] right out of the town, taking him to the brow of the hill on which it was built, intending to hurl him down bodily. But he walked straight through the whole crowd and went on his way“. Jesus continually walked in love and because of this, no-one could touch Him – until He laid down His life.
One of the devil’s tactics is to overload you with good works.
So put others before yourself, but don’t be a doormat and don’t think you have do everything that people ask you do to. I am not talking about the things that you are required to do, I am referring to when people ask you to do something. One of the devil’s tactics is to overload you with good works, in order to distract you from, or make you too tired to effectively do, the things which God has actually called you to do. There are many things that you could be doing, which are good, but that does not mean that God wants you to do them. When someone asks you to take on something new, check it out with God first. If you already feel overloaded, allow God to show you which things you need to lay down.
Ultimately, the way to put others before yourself, but not end up like a doormat, is to put God first. When you do that, everything else will fall into place. You will only do what God wants you to do, not what you think you should do.
If you have any further questions or thoughts, please feel free to leave a comment.
If you have never received Jesus as your Lord & Saviour, if you have gone away from God, or if you have any doubts regarding your salvation. I encourage you to click on the link below. Clicking on the link will not secure your salvation, but praying the prayer you find, from your heart, will.
For the salvation prayer, please click here.