You hear all the time about self-improvement. I see a lot of it all over Pinterest, Instagram, and other blogs. A lot of the time, when I read about self-improvement it’s all about that one word: SELF.
It bothers me.
Why does it bother me? It bothers me because we are called to be selfless and to be servants. (Galatians 5:13) I believe that if we constantly focus on ourselves, we will fall into an even more sinful nature.
See, selfishness is a huge sin problem. (Philippians 2:3) Everyone deals with it. I deal with it and it’s one of my many struggles.
When I see Instagram posts about improving yourself in the wrong ways, it makes me wonder what would happen if we focused less on ourselves and more on others and most importantly, more on God.
I know that there are many ways to improve yourself. Whether it’s financially, physically, mentally, or spiritually, we can all always improve.
I think it’s very important to take care of yourself and to have time for yourself. But, it shouldn’t be something you obsess over.
When I was younger, I made sure that I had makeup on every time I went somewhere. I was taught that I needed to wear makeup to be considered presentable when I went out.
I got so “into” makeup that when my parents would punish me, they would take it away from me. Yes, being bare-faced was a punishment.
It’s because I focused so much on myself and the need to look better, that I hated my face without makeup. I was embarrassed. I was mortified. When I would go to dance class or school without mascara or eyebrow filler, I felt…ugly.
Isn’t that awful? The beautiful face that God had given me, I considered ugly. I thought something of God’s creation was ugly!
I blame those silly self-improvement articles.
Because I had an obsession with “improving” myself with makeup, I needed to realize that I didn’t need it and I eventually did realize that. It took a lot of learning how to love myself for the right reasons.
I am not saying that it is wrong to wear makeup. It’s perfectly fine to! When it becomes an obsession or something you idolize, then it is a problem. I personally love to wear makeup but I don’t wear it as much as I used to due to the struggle I had with it, and that is perfectly fine!
I am very thankful to my husband who has helped me majorly with this continuous struggle.
Here is a question to think about: How can we improve ourselves in a biblical way?
It’s an interesting thought that I have hardly ever thought about.
Let’s start with the most basic form of self-improvement – physically.
A lot of people want to get healthier or more fit. Some people want to change their diet. Others want to have a different fashion style. There’s so much that we as humans can change physically about ourselves!
But, why do we need to? Why do we feel this urge to just… change?
I believe it’s because of the fact that we know we will never be perfect. We will never be perfect to ourselves. I don’t believe that there is any human on this earth who is fully satisfied with themselves. We are always wanting to change something about ourselves.
God knows we are perfect though. It’s hard to comprehend that an eternal being made us fearfully and wonderfully made even though we can’t see it! (Psalm 139:14)
I know you’re probably wondering, how can I improve myself physically in a biblical way? Well to start, let’s talk about modesty.
Let me make this clear: Modesty isn’t just an appearance, it’s an attitude. Yes, you read that right. Modesty is an attitude. If you have a modest attitude, it will show outwardly. If you have a modest appearance, it will show inwardly.
A verse that I personally love to go with this is 1 Peter 3:3-4.
If we can begin to have a modest attitude, we can begin to have a modest appearance. I challenge you today to have a modest attitude and see if it changes anything in your lifestyle or in your appearance. See if it biblically improves your physical self!
Moving onto another form of self-improvement – financially.
A lot of people are obsessed with becoming the richest, most successful person that they can be. While there is nothing wrong with striving for success, obsessing and loving money can lead you down a dark and dangerous path.
1 Timothy 6:10 says, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.”
If we love money, if we create an idol out of it, it can lead to all sorts of evils. A lot of self-improvement articles and posts will tell you that you need to be as successful and as financially stable as possible to lead a long and healthy life. This is a lie.
You do not need money to be happy. I repeat: You do NOT need money to be happy!
If we constantly rely on the physical things of this world to make us happy, we will never ever find true happiness! If you are never content where God has you in your life, you will be miserable!
You can’t find happiness in things. People will let you down, material things will fail you, but God? He will never, ever fail you!!! He has your best interest in mind and He will give you what you need when you need it! (Lamentations 3:22)
Another form of self-improvement is this – state of mind / mental health
Talking about mental health is a tough subject for me. I personally deal with a lot of childhood trauma and I am working on my mental health and using the bible as a guide.
If you’re wondering how I’m doing this, I will tell you. I pray and I do devotions every day, I talk to close family about my feelings, and I spend time with my heavenly Father.
When I’m going through something and I have strong emotions, I tend to pray and ask God for patience. I will instantly feel a sense of peace wash over me.
It has really helped me grow mentally because I can control my emotions better and I don’t feel like I have to bottle everything up.
Even if no one wants to listen to you, God always will. Vent to Him friends! Tell him about how you feel when you feel it. He is there to listen to you and to guide you.
I have found that diving into the bible and reading scripture helps calm my nerves and helps me learn more. I think that when we grow spiritually, it helps our mental state.
When we have more of God in our everyday lives it can really affect the way we think and live. We can become more like Jesus and less like the face of sin.
Studying God’s word and praying is a great way to help improve your mental health! (Proverbs 3:1-2)
Last and certainly not least – spiritual improvement
Spiritual self-improvement can mean different things. Christians are ever-growing in their knowledge of God’s word. We will never truly know everything that there is to know, but it’s always wise to meditate on God’s word and constantly learn more.
When I say meditate, I don’t mean chanting and sitting with your legs crossed. I mean studying God’s word and truly thinking about the meaning behind it.
We are constantly improving ourselves spiritually. Every time you read the bible, you are gaining more knowledge. That’s pretty awesome. It’s so awesome because we can never stop learning. There is always something to learn from the bible.
Ask God for wisdom and He will give it to you! (James 1:5-7)
Another way to improve spiritually is to pray and to pray hard. I don’t mean just say a quick prayer and be done, I mean open up completely and talk to God. Spend time with Him.
If you wanted to improve your relationship with your father, you would spend time with him and talk with him. That same concept applies to your relationship with your eternal Father, God.
God misses you.
Imagine how much He misses us when we don’t pray! Our Father in Heaven who knitted us in our mother’s womb wants to hear from us! He wants to know what you’re thinking! He wants to know how you’re feeling!
Talk. To. HIM!
Instead of ranting to your friends online, go speak to the Maker of our world. He is the only one who will ever truly be there for you. That is an incredible blessing! How cool is it to know that God is always willing to listen to us no matter the hour of the day? It is incredible.
In conclusion – If we become more modest, more content, more patient, and more spiritually aware, we can become a better us. I can testify to this.
Our lives, our happiness, and even our personal relationships can improve almost instantly when we begin to work on ourselves for the glory of God and not for the glory of our own satisfaction.
All translations are from the English Standard Version.
I am using the John MacArthur Study Bible, linked here.