The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Romans 8:16
Malcolm appeared confident as a teenager. But this confidence was a mask. In truth, a turbulent home left him fearful, desperate for approval, and feeling falsely responsible for his family’s problems. “For as far back as I remember,” he says, “every morning I would go into the bathroom, look in the mirror, and say out loud to myself, ‘You are stupid, you are ugly, and it’s your fault.’”
Malcolm’s self-loathing continued until he was twenty-one, when he had a divine revelation of his identity in Jesus. “I realized that God loved me unconditionally and nothing would ever change that,” he recalls. “I could never embarrass God, and He would never reject me.” In time, Malcolm looked in the mirror and spoke to himself differently. “You are loved, you are beautiful, you are gifted,” he said, “and it’s not your fault.”
Malcolm’s experience illustrates what God’s Spirit does for the believer in Jesus—He frees us from fear by revealing how profoundly loved we are (Romans 8:15, 38–39), and confirms that we are children of God with all the benefits that status brings (8:16–17; 12:6–8). As a result, we can begin seeing ourselves correctly by having our thinking renewed (12:2–3).
Years later, Malcolm still whispers those words each day, reinforcing who God says he is. In the Father’s eyes he’s loved, beautiful, and gifted. And so are we.
What words come to mind when you see yourself in the mirror? How different are they from Scripture’s depiction of what God sees in you?
Father, thank You for loving me, gifting me, and making me Your child. May Your Spirit work in me today to truly, deeply believe it.
The indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit—also known as “the “Spirit of God” or “the Spirit of Christ”—is the scriptural evidence that we’re saved. Paul makes clear that if anyone doesn’t have the Holy Spirit “they do not belong to Christ” (Romans 8:9). The Spirit gives us new birth and new life (John 3:5–6; 6:63; Titus 3:5) and is the seal and deposit guaranteeing our salvation (2 Corinthians 1:22; 5:5; Ephesians 1:13–14). Assuring us that we’re God’s children, He enables us to affectionately call out to God, “Abba, Father” (Romans 8:14–15; Galatians 4:5–7). When we’re “led by the Spirit” and “live by the Spirit,” He’ll make us more like Christ (Galatians 5:16–25). Equipping us with spiritual gifts, He empowers us for ministry (Acts 1:8; 1 Corinthians 12:4–7). The indwelling Spirit helps us to pray, interceding for and with us (Romans 8:26).