Offer your bodies as living sacrifices. Romans 12:1
The Farmers' Museum near Cooperstown, New York, houses among its exhibits the stone image of a man more than 10 feet tall. It is known as the Cardiff Giant. The museum describes it as "America's greatest hoax." Unearthed in 1869, it was at first believed to be evidence that once "there were giants in the earth." It turned out to be a giant deception.
Satan often resorts to a hoax to get people to think wrong things about themselves, such as the delusion that they stand 10 feet tall because of their accomplishments and wisdom. In the Garden of Eden he told Eve that she would be "like God, knowing good and evil" if she ate the fruit of the forbidden tree (Genesis 3:5). Eve believed this over-statement about herself. The message to all is this: "Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought."
We are also taught the opposite: Do not think of yourself less than you ought. Some of God's people have at times done this. It was a great distortion--a hoax in the other direction--for the majority of the Israelite explorers of Canaan to come back to Joshua with the report: "All the people we saw there are of great size. ... We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them" (Numbers 13:32-33). Fear and pessimism were speaking here, and surely it came about by Satan's prompting.
How are we to regard ourselves? As sinners indeed, but also as persons wonderfully created by God, totally redeemed from sin and death by Jesus Christ, and made saints when the Holy Spirit gave us the saving faith through the Gospel. This is God's work in every Christian, regardless of age, station in life, or physical stature. One need not be a "Cardiff Giant" to do the great things Saint Paul urges: to offer our bodies and minds in devoted service "as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God" (Romans 12:1).
PRAYER: O Holy Spirit, give me the right self-image as a person made great and strong in my service to Christ. Amen.
(Devotions from "With Jesus Every Day" copyright 1997, CPH. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be printed, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of Concordia Publishing House. Permission is granted for one-time emailing of this link to a friend. For information on other devotional material, please contact CPH at 800-325-3040 or visit CPH at www.cph.org.)