You Must Confront Yourself
Published October 9, 2023
Table of Contents
2. The Need To Confront Yourself
3. Conquering Your Weaknesses
– Paul’s introspection
– Turning weakness into strength
4. Forgive Yourself
– Learn to forgive yourself
5. Conquer Your Inner Demons
– Jonah’s inner demon
Watch & Listen
Again, I ask you this week, do you know who you are? As I said last week, when you take on the identity as a child of God, your adversary will do everything to hinder your transformation and growth; you will be examined thoroughly to find and exploit your every weakness as your adversary desires to control you. So, if your adversary studies you intently, shouldn’t you be doing the same? You must confront yourself, thoroughly, in order to accept and know who you truly are.
The Need To Confront Yourself
Because many of us don’t examine ourselves, we end up struggling and losing battles with our adversary who knows every button to push in order to get us to falter. Many are struggling today with the devil stirring up conflict within our soul. How many have lost to inner conflicts of doubt, acceptance, and not knowing their worth all because they haven’t taken time to examine and learn who they are in their hearts?
Introspection – self-examination – is incredibly healthy for all people, but especially all of us that identify themselves with the Lord. Jeremiah spoke of the importance of self examination to the Jews, after their fall to the Babylonians, when he said they needed to search out and examine their ways in order to improve and go in the way of righteousness (Lam. 3:40-42).
Do you identify as a child of God but don’t bother to examine your own soul? I tell you that the one that refuses to look within his own heart cannot truly walk with the Lord. If you refuse to confront yourself, how can you know your flaws, faults, and errors? How can you grow? How can you withstand the attacks of your adversary that will attack your flaws?
As I have said, we all must confront every single facet of who we are so that we can strengthen our weaknesses and leave little to nothing for our adversary to exploit. Through examination of your soul, you will gain a powerful weapon in your arsenal; you will learn self-control. When you learn self-control, you will be able to withstand all the temptations and deceptions of your adversary.
Conquering Your Weaknesses
Now, in scripture, one who comes to mind that needed to confront himself was Paul. You see, Paul had what can be a major hindrance for a lot of people today that our adversary will certainly try to use against us. What am I talking about? Well, Paul had a history. Let me explain what I mean by this.
Paul, because he was raised to live according to the Mosaic Law, once acted out of ignorance towards the early church (Gal. 1:13-14). To the Galatians, Paul described himself as a major threat to the early church. Paul believed the early believers were blasphemers which led him to move with malice against them; Paul led the charge to stoning someone like Stephen (Acts 22:20) and bringing great harm to others.
However, after he was visited by Christ, Paul had a change of identity in his heart – he was born again. Now, after he was born again, Paul ministered the good news throughout the land verbally and through many letters. Paul was doing good after much wickedness which leads me to his question: How do you think Paul was received after his change of identity?
Well, from the start, Ananias questioned God for sending him to help Paul because of Paul’s history (Acts 9:13-14). When Paul first began to preach the good news, those that saw and heard him questioned it because of his history (Acts 9:20-21). When Paul went to Jerusalem after his change even the disciples were afraid and reluctant because of his history (Acts 9:26).
I tell you, people aren’t as forgetful as they would like you to think! Who you once were can be a tough stigma for some of us to break. In fact, who you once were, is a playground for the devil and the soldiers in his army as they try to get you to turn back to being that person again. The devil tried this with Paul but he would not let the devil hinder him in his growth and transformation.
You see, Paul moved on from who he once was. We know this to be true through the writings of his letters. You see, Paul is the one that encouraged believers not to be conformed to this world but to be transformed by the renewing of the mind through the works of the Holy Spirit (Rom. 12:2). Paul was able to write this from his own experience!
So, how did Paul move on from who he once was? How did he strengthen his weaknesses?
Firstly, according to his writings, we’ll see he did this through introspection. You see, Paul had to recognize he had a thorn in the flesh. After recognizing his thorn, Paul then turned to the Lord in prayer about his thorn. Through prayer, Paul learned that God’s grace was sufficient for him; he learned that the strength of the Lord was made perfect in his weakness (2 Cor. 12:7-10).
So, through introspection, Paul recognized the mercy and grace that God had shown him. As he said to those in Ephesus, we are all saved by the grace of God and not by our works (Eph. 2:8). You see, one can only come to this understanding through examining who they truly are.
Through introspection, Paul found that he was loved and accepted by the Lord even with all of his faults and failures! Paul learned his worth was determined by the love of God and his worth was great! So, Paul didn’t live a life where he was worried about what others thought of him or by trying to please them. Paul wrote to the Galatians that he did not seek to please men, but rather, he sought to please the Lord (Gal. 1:10-12).
Turning weakness into strength
Where his adversary thought he could hinder Paul in his weakness, Paul was able to move on from his weakness because God had moved on from it! Paul was empowered by knowing the favor and love of God; he stood bold in his identity – who he was – with no shame!
Where his adversary would try to make him be ashamed of his past, Paul accepted who he was because God had accepted him — this is powerful! Some are afraid and ashamed to speak about their weaknesses but Paul spoke with no shame about who he was – his sins – and how he persecuted early believers like Stephen (Acts 22:20). Rather than let his weakness be used against him, Paul used his weakness as a testimony to God’s grace and mercy!
So, in the end, this shows the power in Paul accepting who he was, sins and all. In accepting who he was, Paul forgave himself, which again, is incredibly powerful. Even those who were of sincere faith that may have been afraid of Paul at first, eventually, let go of Paul’s past and as they grew to forgive him. Do you know who was upset that Paul was showing so much power over himself? The devil.
Your weaknesses do not have to be a hindrance to who you are today! If you confront yourself, just as Paul came to realize, you will come to know your worth; you will come to know that you are also accepted and loved by the Lord. You will be able to stand in the power of knowing who you are as a child of God with no shame! Do you know who will be mad about that? The devil.
So, with all of that being said, with Paul’s story of God’s grace, many of us are still very hard on ourselves in that we just can’t believe the notion of God completely forgiving us of our transgressions. The reason why some of us are like this is because we haven’t looked within ourselves to learn of God’s love. Therefore, we haven’t learned our worth and many of us have fully forgiven ourselves; we haven’t fully accepted who we are.
Learn to forgive yourself
I want to show you that the Lord certainly finds you worthy of His grace, even in all of your flaws, by taking a look at the words from His mouth.
In Isaiah 43:1, we’ll see that the Lord said to Israel during a time where they were living in wickedness, “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are mine.” God initially redeemed Israel through the shed blood of the lamb the night of the Passover in Egypt and He had not forgotten, even though they were living in sin.
Now, for all of us who are of the church age, Jesus has said that we are also His – of His flock – and that He identifies us by our name (John 10:2-3, 14, 16). So, in parallel with Isaiah 43, all of us who are of sincere faith have been redeemed by the shed blood of a lamb as well. In our case, the Lamb that shed blood for us is the only begotten Son of God; we were redeemed of our sins through Christ (Is. 53:6-7).
So, I must ask, do you really think you’re not worthy to be loved and accepted by the Lord after the fact that He gave His only begotten Son for you? Do you truly think you’re not worthy to be forgiven after God gave His only begotten Son to atone for all of your sins?
In the first of my key verses, God said to Israel that if they would turn back to Him, He would blot out all of their transgressions and not remember their sins. I ask you this: If God is willing to blot out – to forgive – you of your sins and to move on from your transgression, then why can’t you do the same?
Let us consider this: Why did God give His only begotten Son to take away the sins of the world? Well, God did this because He desires to dwell in fellowship with all of us! As we know, God will not dwell with you so long as you abide in sin.
This great desire of God is shown to us In the second of my key verses, where we will see God called on Israel to stand and walk with Him in fellowship. Israel could walk with Him if they stated their case – confess their sins – to Him, so that they could be acquitted – found innocent of all charges – by the Lord. Let us remember that John wrote in 1 John 1:9 that if we confess our sins to the Lord, He is both faithful and just to cleanse us from all unrighteousness!
I tell you today that it is possible for you to overcome your weaknesses and then make them a strength if you confront yourself! The Lord desires for you to move on from your weaknesses as we see the Lord told Israel to do. In Isaiah 43:18-19, God told Israel not to remember the former things – not to let their weaknesses have control over them – but to live in the newness of life.
God desires this same thing for you today: not to be hindered by your weaknesses but to move forward in the strength of your new identity. The Lord desires to walk with you in this newness! Just as He reminded Israel of how He walked with them through waters, rivers, and fire, I stand as a testimony that God will do the same for you.
If God finds us worthy of all of His grace, then again I ask, why don’t we find ourselves worthy of such love? The longer you go with confronting yourself and learning to forgive and accept who you are the more damage you do to yourself, and the more you lose yourself.
Conquer Your Inner Demons
The devil does nothing but rejoice when you refuse to confront yourself and forgive yourself. Your identity is just a game to the devil and so he hopes to keep you from discovering your true power. The longer you go without self discovery, the more your inner turmoil is able to fester and become inner demons. Many of us lose ourselves today to our inner demons which ultimately leaves us powerless.
Jonah’s inner demon
Again, you must confront yourself so that you do not lose who you are. In scripture, we see how a prophet of Israel actually lost himself to his inner demons which caused him to move against God.
Jonah was called on by God to go to Nineveh, the capital city of the Assyrians, and “cry out against it” because of its wickedness (Jon. 1:2). Rather than answering the call, Jonah chose to decline God’s assignment and get on a boat to flee to Tarshish (Jon. 1:3). So, in other words, Jonah chose to run from God and God’s assignment.
You see, Jonah despised the Assyrians for all they had done to Israel in the conquering of the northern kingdom. Because he had never confronted his emotions towards the Assyrians, anger and wrath had taken Jonah over, and as we can see, this was not healthy for him.
Sadly, many of us are being ruled by our inner demons whether those demons are depression, despair, loneliness, fear, worry, anger, or something else entirely different. Our inner demons have rule over us because we haven’t confronted ourselves. I tell you, it’s not healthy for you when you’re not thinking clearly but acting out purely on impulses and emotions; it’s even worse when you’re letting someone or something – like your inner demons – have control over you.
If your identity is that as a child of God, then one of the fruits of the spirit that you should have is self-control (Gal. 5:22-23). If you don’t confront yourself, then you lose all self-control and you give you power over to your inner demons. Even worse, your great adversary is thrilled to take the reins from your inner demons and guide you where he wants you to go.
You better believe that Satan was thrilled to carry Jonah away from God’s assignment. In the end, Jonah needed to confront himself and then turn to the Lord, just as Paul did – we must also do the same. Jonah, in his self inspection, remembered God and that God could deliver him from his troubles. Jonah prayed knowing that salvation (deliverance) is of the Lord (Jon. 2:9) – this is a prayer we must pray at all times when we learn of not just our outside troubles but our inner turmoil as well.
Don’t lose yourself because you’re choosing not to confront and to learn about who you truly are. I encourage you to examine yourself so that you leave no room for your enemy to exploit and turn your weaknesses against you! When you confront every single facet of your identity, including your faults, flaws, and inner demons, you will strengthen your weaknesses and be better able to withstand the tactics of those that try to hinder your growth.