Recognize that you become like whatever you worship.  When you derive your sense of self from a cultural image communicated through the media, you're essentially worshipping it, and that image will come to control you - turning you into a poor imitation of who you were meant to be.  But when you worship Jesus, you will grow more and more like Him, freeing you to discover the wonderful person God made you to become.

Deal wisely with your desires.  Regularly confess the ways in which you let your desires pull you into sin that makes you walk away from your true self.  Humbly ask God to help you avoid desires that don't reflect His will for you and strengthen your desires for what He wants for your life.  When considering a particular desire, ask yourself: "Is this desire moving me toward greater commitment to Jesus or farther away from Him?" Test the worthiness of your desires by examining whether or not they reflect a respect of God's image in yourself and others.  Test the fruitfulness of your desires by considering whether or not they will help you make the world a better place and bring glory to God in the process.

Keep growing.  Even though you can't completely become the person God wants you to become until you're raised in glory with Jesus in His new creation, you can continue to grow each day you're alive.  Rejoice when you notice how Jesus is helping you mature, and let your gratitude motivate you to keep learning and growing more each day.

Adapted from The Vertical Self: How Biblical Faith Can Help Us Discover Who We Are in an Age of Self-Obsession, copyright 2010 by Mark Sayers. Published by Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, Tn.,
Mark Sayers is Director of Über (, a ministry that specializes in issues of youth and young adult discipleship. He is also pastor of Red East Church in Melbourne, Australia, an emerging church specifically reaching the young adult demographic. He is a highly sought-after speaker and thinker in the areas of Generation Y, pop culture and mission.

Original publication date: May 5, 2010