By Kara Sutton
Bachelor of Arts in English, Honors College
“Nobody can tell you what you can and cannot do.”
“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young.” (1 Timothy 4:12)
As college students, we are often fueled by thoughts like these. Whenever we feel down, the world tells us the remedy is to build up our ego. However, I believe the world is infiltrating the church and the Christian community with such thoughts as well. The go-to is always self-confidence, and this is even attempted to be backed up biblically as you can see in the above statements.
But the problem with this ego-boosting is that it is just as unstable as ego-deflation. The reality of our pride is that it can come and go with a brief conversation or even a flippant comment. Our egos are fragile, and no amount of self-confidence will ever change that.
Humanity has been struggling with this constant inflation and deflation of self for centuries. In fact, Paul addresses it in his first letter to the Corinthian church. He says, “But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself” (1 Corinthians 4:4). Essentially, Paul is telling the Corinthians that he no longer uses the same measuring stick as he did before. His ego is not constantly on the verge of being destroyed.
When we merit ourselves based off of our own or other’s judgment, we will never fully be secure. Christians have already been judged, as Paul explains further on in his letter, by God Himself, and that means that nobody else’s opinion matters.
The implications for this alternate verdict are twofold. First, when we are tempted to be downcast because of low self-esteem, we are encouraged to completely detach what we think our identity is and what our identity truly is. If you are in Christ, the two are not connected at all.
Second, when we are on top of the world because of high self-confidence, we realize that this is just as fragile as having no self-identity. We will never be completely secure and satisfied unless we place our identity in something steadfast. This means it cannot be connected with anything we have done or will do.
Paul ends with this: “For all things are yours, and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s” (1 Corinthians 3:22-23). Let us marvel and rejoice at this truth, and do all we can to remind our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ of where our identity truly is!
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More about Kara Sutton:
Kara Sutton is a junior at Grand Canyon University majoring in English. She was raised in North Carolina and moved to Phoenix for her first year at GCU. She has constantly been involved in speech and debate activities and she loves to write in her many journals. She also is very interested in other cultures and has traveled multiple times to different areas of Asia. Over her short time in Arizona thus far, Kara has been able to establish strong friendships and hopes to continue those in the years to come. She is hoping to become a journalist or ESL teacher once she graduates.