Summary: This sermon seeks to help believers break free from attitudes and feelings of inferiority by dealing with the defects and differences in our lives.
Most people suffer from some form of inferiority. Even the attitude of superiority is an evidence of feeling inferior deep down and in some area of selfhood. Inferiority comes by comparing those things in our lives which are unchangeable to those features in other people. If we compare our parents or gender or physical features or mental capacity or race with others, we make them or ourselves the standard of what is acceptable rather than Jesus Christ. He’s the standard of what is acceptable to God.
Paul warned the Christians at Corinth not to compare themselves with themselves or with others. In fact, he says in verse 12 “we would not dare classify ourselves or compare ourselves with those who rate themselves so highly.” And he goes on to say that “they make up their own standards to measure themselves by and judge themselves by their own standards! That’s what brings on the bondage of inferiority.
The result of comparing ourselves with others is usually a rejection of our own selfhood, our own God-given unchangeable features. And when we reject the design of our unchangeable features, we have difficulty accepting our Designer as a personal God and loving Heavenly Father who wants the best for us. And what He wants today is for us to “Break Free of Inferiority!” So first of all let’s look at:
I. The Ccause Of Inferiority verse 7
A. Comparison causes inferiority
You can always find somebody who you think is more attractive than you are or who is more intelligent than you are or who has a better family than you have. But, whenever you compare one of those unchangeables you tend to develop feelings of inferiority. That’s why the Scripture warns us not to measure other by ourselves or ourselves by one another!.
B. God has no outward ideal
The whole concept of a “Miss America or Mr. America” is misleading because it projects the false idea that there is a universal ideal of outward appearance. If there’s any relationship between outward beauty and inward happiness, it’s usually the opposite of what you would expect. Many attractive people are very unhappy for several reasons. They often experience greater temptation. They resent being liked only for their outward appearance by people who don’t understand or care about their inward needs. They fear rejection when their physical attractive-ness will fade. And they themselves often feel inferior and un-attractive. When a former “Miss America” was asked if she would change anything about her appearance, she quickly said, “Yes!” God has no outward ideal, but:
C. God has an inward ideal
Although God has no outward ideal, He does have a universal inward ideal. It’s the Person and Character of the Lord Jesus Christ. The more you learn to live out of Him as your source of life, the more you will become like Him. The more you experience Him as your inner source of life the more you will experience true joy, happiness and fulfillment in allowing Him to live out His life through you. In fact, Jesus indicated how happy are those who possess the qualities of character outlined in the Beatitudes of Matthew 5. Jesus is God’s inward ideal. Secondly, this morning let’s look at:
II.The Challenge To Break Free of Inferiority verse 12
A. Dealing with Defects
While comparison causes inferiority, the key to breaking free begins with dealing with defects. God may sacrifice outward beauty to develop inward character. He often uses defects to develop our inward character. In fact, He will sometimes allow scars, deformities or other defects into our lives to produce the inward qualities of meekness, kindness, humility, patience and gratefulness. These qualities are far more important to success in life than outward appearance. So you need to deal with defects in yourself by trusting God who loves you unconditionally and accepts you absolutely and by loving yourself and accepting yourself on that basis.
B. Dealing with Differences
Dealing with differences in ourselves will also enable us to break free of inferiority. Differences in your features are God’s “frame” to highlight His message in and through you. There is great variety in picture frames. Some are short, tall, small, large, plain, painted, dark, light, silver or gold. However, each frame is chosen to highlight the real message of the picture. Similarly, God chooses our outward features to highlight the life message that He wants to give in and through you. And the truth is you’ll probably not understand why God put certain things in your “frame” until you allow Him to develop His message of love and truth in your heart.
One of the most difficult questions about God is, “Why would He allow physical defects and emotional scars to occur?” Paul answers this question when he explains that infirmities are God’s mark of ownership and the means of giving us more grace so that His strength is made perfect in our weakness. Just as a rancher places a brand on a cow so that its ownership is undisputed, God allows scars and defects to remind us that we belong to Him. In Galatians 6:17, Paul stated, “I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.” The Greek word for mark is “stigma” meaning a sign of ownership.