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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Dr. Charles Stanley » Charles Stanley - When We Feel Inferior

Charles Stanley - When We Feel Inferior

Charles Stanley - When We Feel Inferior
TOPICS: The Source of My Strength, Inferiority

One of the greatest barriers in our life to achievements, to relationships, good relationships or to real, genuine contentment in life is what we feel about ourselves. And those feelings can either be very helpful or they can be absolutely devastating. Now, somebody might say, "Well, what I feel about myself doesn't make any difference". What you feel about yourself makes all the difference in the world because, listen to this, you will act out in life what you feel about yourself. You can't do otherwise. What you feel about yourself is the way you're going to act out in life.

So, when a person has feelings such as feelings of inferiority, they're going to affect everything about your life. They're going to affect you on your job, in your home, with your children, with your friends, things that you'd like to accomplish, places that you'd like to go. It's going to affect every single area of your life. Feelings of inferiority are absolutely devastating. And what I want to do in this message is talk about just that. The title of this message is: "The Source of Our Strength-When We Have Feelings of Inferiority". Notice I didn't say, "When we are inferior". But when we have feelings of inferiority.

Now, there are lots of verses of scripture, but I want you to turn, first of all, to Ephesians chapter 2, one verse of scripture in this passage, and that's verse 10. Because in this passage, you'll recall that Paul has described what is absolutely essential to our salvation. He's talked about the condition we were in, dead in our trespasses and sins and what was going on in our life before Christ came into our life. And then, how we were saved by the grace of God. Then if you'll notice, if you will, in verse 10 what he says. He says: "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them". There is emotional baggage that people carry in their life, don't even realize they carry it. And all of their life it is a detriment, it is a handicap, it is an obstacle to what God wants them to become, what God wants to achieve and to accomplish in that person's life.

So, if I should ask you this morning, "Have you ever had any feelings of being inferior"? More than likely most of us would say, "Well, mmm, maybe somewhere out there". Some of us would say, "Oh, yes I have". And some would say, "Not only have I had them, I still feel that way". So, I want us to look for just a moment, and then we're coming to the passage toward the end. But I want us to look at the source of this and begin by simply saying this: that one of the sources of our feelings of inferiority, which means feeling less than, feeling that we don't measure up, feeling that we are poor quality or maybe that we have been rejected, that is, there's this feeling of less than that comes with feelings of being inferior, that some of those things come, first of all, from our early childhood.

And let me say this right up front: no child was ever born with feelings of inferiority. No child was ever born with feelings of inferiority. Children learn to feel inferior. And you know where they learn it? They have to get it from somewhere, and they have to get it from somebody. And most children learn to feel inferior from their parents or someone in those early ages of their life. Most of the time they feel it at home. For example, a parent will say, "Well, you were a mistake. We didn't want you anyway. You just get in the way. You're not going to ever amount to anything". All of that says is: poor quality, "I'm poor quality. I don't fit. I don't measure up. I just don't belong".

And so, a person has a feeling of not measuring up, poor quality of personhood, and that, somehow, they just, there's something missing in their life. A second way is comparisons. And so, if you've had brothers and sisters in your family, more than likely, some of you may have felt, "Now, I know my mom and dad love me, he's the favorite. She's the favorite". And oftentimes parents will say, "Well now, you know, if you were like your brother". Devastating. It says, "You are less than. You don't measure up. Poor quality". Something's missing. "I just don't have it all together. Somehow I just can't measure up because my mother doesn't think I measure up, my father doesn't think I measure up".

And some parents try to live their lives through their children. And that's why they push them and push them and push them, and oftentimes the mother wants to dress them up and make them look like a queen all the time because she never felt like one. And not feeling like one now, she's just trying to push her daughter on. Sometimes they don't even let kids grow up, they just push them from about six to adulthood and then they wonder why the kids get so frustrated and messed up in life. Because mom shoved her too far. Father pushed him too far. "Listen, boy, when I was down there, I was out in the field and I was always there". Maybe this kid could care less about sports but father's pushing and shoving. "Well, if you were like your dad". Who wants to be like that kind of a dad to begin with? And so, what happens is either by verbal criticism or by verbal comparison, a child learns, very early in life, to feel inferior.

Now, notice I didn't say a child becomes inferior. I said feel inferior. There's a third way, I think, children pick up on this. And this is the circumstances of their life. And so I give you a few personal examples. When I was coming along, my mom and I... my father died early, as I mentioned before, when I was about nine months of age. And so, she and I had to move around, and oftentimes we lived in one room, basement apartments. And I'll never forget this young lady that, young girl, I was just very young then, first and second grade and so forth, and got a little older, I had noticed her, had been noticing her a while. And so, I wanted to date her. Well, at this time, my mother and I were living in a basement apartment that belonged to her father. And they had a real nice house right next door.

What do you think her mother said? "You're not going to date that Charles Stanley. He lives in the basement"! What she said was, "He's less than. He doesn't measure up. He doesn't fit. He's not good enough. Because you see, he is of inferior quality. We live up here on the main street. He lives down in that one room in a basement. So, he doesn't measure up". Well, that's not the only basement she and I lived in, and so when I grew up we kept moving around and lived in some other basement apartments. And so, what did I feel? Well, I learned very early that if you live in a basement, you're less than.

So, I learned that where I lived sort of determined what I was like. And if you lived in seventeen different places in sixteen years like I did, you really got messed up in your thinking. Because none of them were really nice places. Couldn't afford that. And so, part of my identity got wrapped up in where I lived. And where I lived wasn't very good. It's the best we could afford but it wasn't very good compared to somebody else. And then, one of the worst things that happened was my mother made me wear short pants when I was in the sixth grade. I was the only person in the sixth grade with short pants. I mean, short pants. I don't mean now, these fancy Izod and Pollo kind of pants you wear today. I'm talking about just plain old short pants. Sixth grade! The only person in sixth grade with short pants.

What did that say? It said to me, somehow, according to all my friends I was far less than. Believe me. And they'd look at me and laugh at me and skinny me and this, that, and the other. And it did something to me, made me feel less than. Didn't measure up. I wasn't dressed right, like everybody else. And so, what happens in whatever situation it may be, children grow up with verbal criticism, verbal comparisons, and situations and conditions in their life that speak to them and say, "You're less than. You just don't measure up". But there's a wonderful answer to all these things, and it's right here in this tenth verse.

So, I want you to go back, if you will, to this tenth verse. Notice what he says. He says, "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that," you and I, "should walk in them". Now, I want you to look at this. He says we are His what? Workmanship. Whose workmanship? God's workmanship! Which God prepared when? "Beforehand, that we should walk in them". Now, so I want to say three things primarily here that, I think, if you'll listen to and apply it to your heart, it'll make a difference. It can start making a difference before you walk out of this place. What is the answer to this? Now, you can read all kinds of books, magazines about pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps and, as you heard, and doing this and doing that.

Here, this is the book right here that'll tell you how to get rid of this. You don't need but one book. The first step to healing with feelings of inferiority, as a believer, taking that you already are saved, because that's step number one. But, having put that behind us, what is the first step? The first step is to get God's viewpoint of me. To get God's viewpoint of you. What's His viewpoint? Here's His viewpoint; he says you are His workmanship. Now, let me ask you, have you believed everything I've told you so far? Say amen. All right, now that's just what I've told you from my observations. Now, I want to tell you what God says. God says you are His workmanship, and that word means masterpiece.

Now, you say, "Don't give me that, I'm not a masterpiece". You're not? Are you saying that God made a mistake when He made you? No, He didn't. You say, "Well I don't look as good". Compared to whom? You see, God made all of us unique, different. And the wonderful thing is, listen, the wonderful thing is that He made us all different, so He didn't make a long list of... Him a long line of folks like you. Then you may have some reason to compare yourself. But since He made you uniquely different, there's nobody you can compare yourself with. Because God didn't intend anybody to be like you. You are His workmanship. That is, He created you. Now, you say, "But look, what about these people who have deformities and all kinds of problems"?

Listen, He says He created us for His purpose. Now, His purpose in one person's life may be a short life and a difficult life. And for somebody else it'd be totally different. He made us for His purpose, therefore I can't compare myself with anybody else. He says you are His workmanship. God created you uniquely you for His purpose. And if you let the world's bombardment of all of its commercialism drive out of your heart and mind God's viewpoint of you, you're going to be trapped and you're going to live your life trapped by the world's vain, empty, erroneous, false counterfeit philosophy. They don't have any answers! That's why they've got to have more and more, bigger and bigger, and the comparisons and all of these things. It's all a matter of human decisions. He says we are His workmanship.

That means you are somebody. And that word also means, part of its connotation means persons of notable excellence. Has nothing to do with beauty, riches, or where you live. It has to do with who you are. It is who you are in your relationship to God. He says you're His workmanship. You don't have to compare yourself with anybody because He made you uniquely you. So, first of all, I need to understand God's viewpoint about myself. I'm created for His purpose. So, ever how long my arms are or my legs, how big my ears are or my nose, that's the way He made me. So do I have to compare my nose to somebody else's? No. It's the way I made mine, that's the way He made mine. And so it must be all right! Or He could have changed it.

Now, I could let myself get sloppy in several different ways, but when you're just going along in your normal life, that's the way He made you. So there's nothing wrong with you. The second thing I need to understand is I need to understand God's love for me. When I understand God's love for me, something happens to feelings of inferiority. Now, how much does He love you? Well, you might say, "Well, I know that He loves me. I'm absolutely sure of that. And so, there's no question in my mind about that mentally. But if you ask me if I feel loved by God, that may be a different question". So, let's talk about this for a moment. God loves you enough to have sent His only begotten Son, Jesus, to die on the cross in behalf of your sins.

Now, you've heard that so many times it runs in one ear and out the other, probably. But think about it for a moment. God didn't have to. And He had you in mind when He sent Jesus Christ into this world to die for your sins and mine. He loves you enough that He sent Jesus, who died on the cross and paid your sin debt so that you could be free, listen, so you could be made righteous. And then He sent the Holy Spirit to indwell you so you could become the person God wants you to be. He made you competent. He put you in the body of Christ in salvation and made you belong. He sent the Holy Spirit to live within you, to make you competent to do anything He wanted you to do. And in the death of His Son, He declared your value. "I love, you're so valuable to Me, I'm willing to give My Son"!

Now, would a holy, righteous, heavenly Father who loves you and me enough to come and live on the inside of us, who loves us as much as He loves His only begotten Son create you and me inferior? And the answer is absolutely not! One last thing. First of all, I need to get God's viewpoint of myself. He doesn't create anything inferior. Secondly, I need to understand, get His viewpoint on how much He loves me, just like He loves the Son. And thirdly, I need to understand, listen, I need to understand God's expectations of me. If I understand His viewpoint of me and I understand His love for me and can grasp that and I understand His expectations of me, my feelings of inferior are going to leave.

Now, what are His expectations? First of all, He doesn't expect me to be perfect. He doesn't expect any of us to be sinless. You know what His expectations are? Not nearly what we think they are. God doesn't have some standard up here saying, "Now I'm just waiting for you to get there". It's like the men who jump the high jump. Every time they succeed what do they do? They raise the crossbar. So, if you set a list of standards and rules and regulations to live by and you live up to some of them, as soon as you get these done, what's going to happen? You're going to raise the standard. It's not going to work. You and I... listen, He didn't say, "My adults, if you sin against God". He said, My what? "My little children".

You know what that says to me? I can look at a child and know what God expects of me. A little child has to learn to walk and stumbles and falls down. You remember even when you're a teenager you fell sometime and you hurt yourself and cut yourself. We're still making mistakes. And we get to be adults, we still falter and fall. God knows you and I are not going to be sinless. He's not even expecting us to be sinless. You know what? He knows that you and I are not going to do the right thing every single time. We're not even going to do things right every single time. You know what? He doesn't expect us to. Because you see, by the grace of God, He provided for loving you and me through anything, all things and everything, no matter what. You know why? He knows that you and I live in these physical bodies, and they have five senses and we are temptable and we'll be tried and tested and we'll falter and we'll fall, we'll make mistakes.

You know what happens? Every time we fall, make a mistake, or sin against Him, we get up and we get up cleansed by the blood of Jesus and keep moving. If you are waiting until you can please God, I'm here to tell you, you will die in the condition you're in. You're not going to be able to please Him the way your feelings of inferiority would cause you to want to believe that, "somehow I've got to measure up. One of these days I'm going to get there"! Well, when is that and what are you going to have to do to get there? The wonderful thing... you see, when I understand what His expectations are, I can relax.

And what are His expectations? Two things. God only has two expectations of me. And if you can grasp His viewpoint of you and grasp the fact of how much He loves you and grasp the fact of what His two simple expectations are, you can leave those feelings of inferiority right now! What are they? Just two things. He expects me to trust Him and to follow Him. That's all. You say, "What about loving Him"? Well, if I trust Him, I will love Him. If I'm following Him, it's because I love Him. You see, that's the wonderful, wonderful part. It's that third part of the triangle. What does He expect? He just expects me to trust Him and to follow Him. You know what, He doesn't expect me to measure up to anybody else's expectations. Just trust Him and follow Him.

Now, let me give you an illustration to close. I think it was back in the sixties that Maxwell Maltz was a plastic surgeon and he learned something. He said these women would come in, or men, and maybe they would have been in an accident and have all kinds of distorted facial features and they would just, it devastated them. They didn't want to go out in public, didn't want to be seen. Or maybe they were born a certain way with nose all crooked up or one ear was bigger than the other one and was down here like this or whatever it may have been, but real distorted kind of figures. And so, he would study, and he'd work, and so, he would do plastic surgery on them.

And then, he says, at first, his exciting day was when it was done and then he held this large mirror up and let them see themselves. He said the most shocking thing would happen. He'd absolutely changed this person's facial features, made woman beautiful or a man handsome. They'd look in the mirror and they'd say, "Phew, I look just the way I used to look". He said he realized that after a while, and even after they would come back a few weeks later still in the same condition, "Well, you know, I'm still displeased. I paid you all this money and I still look the same way". And they would be totally different! Because you see, in their mind and in their heart, they didn't deserve to look better. They still saw through their mind's distorted understanding. They were still ugly, still distorted when, he said some of them were absolutely gorgeous. But they never saw it.

Now, listen to me carefully. It doesn't make any difference how much money you make, how beautiful or how handsome you are, how big your house, how expensive your car, how much money you have in the bank, your prominence, your position in life, it doesn't make any difference. If you still feel inferior, you are not going to be able to enjoy anything and all the things that God may have placed in your life. Listen, feelings of inferiority. Now I want you to be sure you get this. If you're listening, say amen. Feelings of inferiority are the result of a decision you and I make. We accept them as true or we choose to know that they're a lie. It's a decision you make. And here's how important this is. No matter who you are, your past or your present, you have the privilege, right now, to say:

Father, I want to thank You today that You made me the way I am. You don't make any mistakes. You don't make any junk. You don't make anything inferior. You made me this way. I want to thank You for loving me enough to give me the skills and talents and abilities I have in life. I want to thank You, Father, for loving me as much as You love the Son. Thank You for giving Jesus Christ to me, to live on the inside of me and the Holy Spirit to enable me to achieve and to accomplish and to do anything you want me to do. I just want to thank You that You've made me the way I am and I want to thank you that I'm not inferior to anybody, that I'm Your son, Your daughter, and I'm the best You could make me to be, and I just want to thank You. Because what I want to do is, I just want to trust You and follow You and rest in a wonderful love that I know is directed toward me. You love me, Father, so I don't have to be inferior or feel inferior to anybody about anything. I'm just a wonderful me that You made and You're working on me. And Father, I know that we've got a long ways to go but You said You weren't going to give up on me and I'm not giving up on You. And so, I just want to thank, I'm just going to leave all my feelings of inferiority right here today. And I accept who I am in Christ. I accept that I'm uniquely made. I accept that I am fully loved and I accept that I am going to make mistakes, but I am perfectly loved even through them all.

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