As I prepare to teach this Friday night’s lesson, I want to address a need that many young people seem to have in our day and age. It is not a new problem. It is something that people have struggled with all throughout the ages. The problem is a feeling of inferiority. Most teens at one time or another suffer from this complex. I would like to give a Biblical answer to our struggles with inferiority.
The men and women of the Bible suffered from the same complex. In the book of Numbers, chapter 13 we come across a retelling of the 12 spies Moses sent to spy out the Promised Land, the land of Canaan. When the spies returned, 10 of them explained that they as a people were inferior to the inhabitants of the land and that they should not attack. In other words, they should not enter the land that God had promised to them. Two of the spies, Joshua and Caleb trusted in God and they were not afraid. They knew God and because of this, they understood that they were not inferior. The inferiority complex spread to the entire nation and an entire generation missed the blessings of the Promised Land.
Many people, today, miss out on the blessings and benefits that God has to offer because they do not trust Him and are beaten down by their inferiority complex. What are some of the reasons that cause people to suffer from an inferiority complex? Much of it stems back to your life experiences. The Israelites had just spent 0ver 400 years as slaves so they had what would seem like as good reasons for feeling inferior to others. What was your childhood like? Were you put down by your parents? Maybe you were put down by your siblings? Or, you could have been put down by a teacher, or maybe you were put down by your classmates. All of these are things that can ingrain in you a feeling of inferiority.
I. You were created the way that you are by God
God tells us in His Word that He creates each and every child, knitting him or her together in the womb.
13 For You formed my inward parts ; You wove me in my mother’s womb. 14 I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well. (Psalm 139)
The way that you are is the way that God wanted you to be. It does not matter if you are short or tall, male or female, thick or thin. Maybe you say, “but you do not know about my defects, my faults?” That is a good point but God does know about them and He wants to use you in spite of them. Moses, a man used greatly by God, had a similar argument. We find his discussion with God in Exodus 4.
10 Then Moses said to the LORD, “Please, Lord, I have never been eloquent , neither recently nor in time past, nor since You have spoken to Your servant ; for I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.” 11 The LORD said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth ? Or who makes him mute or deaf, or seeing or blind ? Is it not I, the LORD ?
Moses wanted God to choose someone else. He had his “good reasons” yet God reminds him, “I made you and your mouth. I know all about you and still want to use you.” God says the same to you and to me today. He knows all about us and still wants to use us. We have no need to feel inferior because God created us to be exactly as we are so that He can work in us and through us. When you do not know God and do not trust Him then you will have a tendency to experience the problem of inferiority complex.
II. You can become a new creation, spiritually speaking
Another reason for feeling inferior could be that you have done some bad things in the past. We all have because we are all born as sinners. God knows that problem and has made a way to change us. Once we come to the point where we want to allow God to transform us, we accept His plan.
17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature ; the old things passed away ; behold, new things have come. (II Corinthians 5)
If you come to Christ, your position in the world and in heaven changes. Before accepting Christ and being born again, you were a creation of God but a servant of sin and Satan was your father. You were excluded from the blessings God has to offer. Because of this position, you will have a tendency to feel inferior to those around you. One of the manifestations of sin is being egotistical (selfish). A selfish person desires to be lifted up above everyone else and he is ready to put others down to raise himself up. That could be a reason that you feel inferior, because you are surrounded by selfish people. When you come to Christ, God removes you from your slavery to sin and places you in Christ which gives you access to all of the blessings and benefits God has to offer. You are also changed to a new creation, no longer living under the penalty of your sin. You now have the ability to trust in God which removes fear and self doubt. You are no longer inferior because you are in Christ and the same power that raised Christ from the dead is now in you because you are in Him. Your character changes and you are no longer selfish, worrying about how you compare to others. You now want to serve and help others, lifting them up as you have been lifted up in Christ. There is no longer a battle for superiority over others. Feelings of being inferior are for those who have not yet been made new creatures, who have not yet been changed from being selfish to being selfless. If you have been transformed and still suffer from an inferiority complex then you need to draw nearer to God and learn all of the things that you have if you are in Christ. In St. Paul’s epistle to the Ephesian church, he explains all the blessings and benefits a person who is in Christ has already received. They are at your disposal and all you need to do is implement them.
III. God wants to give you everything that you need to be a champion
Ephesians 1 explains many of the blessings and benefits that we attain when we are in Christ.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him.
If we have been born again then we are now in Christ. God If this is our spiritual position then God has already given us all that we see in this passage.
- We are blessed with every spiritual blessing from heaven. God has already given you all that you need to be victorious in this life. There is no reason to feel inferior in any way. The blessings of heaven are yours, if you have been born again and are in Christ.
- In Christ, you have the ability to please God day by day via your attitude, thoughts, and actions. Each of us who are in Christ are on the same level. There is no need to feel inferior.
- We need to be like Joshua and Caleb, knowing that we can do anything because we have God with us.
Ephesians 2 gives us more info about what we have in Christ and why we should not fear inferior to others. If you know much about Jewish history, then you know that for thousands of years, the Jews looked down on the Gentiles considering them “fuel for hell”. They missed the fact that all of the heroes of faith up until Abraham were Gentiles. Abraham himself was a Gentile. In Abraham, God formed the Jewish people and through them He brought about the Messiah (even though there was a Gentile in the Messiah’s genealogy, see Rahab). After His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension, the disciples began to preach the Gospel to others, just focusing on the Jews. 8 years after the day of Pentecost, a great persecution of the believers began and the believers were dispersed throughout the Roman Empire. As they went about, they began preaching the Gospel, continuing to focus on the Jews. The Gentiles also began hearing and accepting the Gospel, being born again through faith in Christ. The church that remained in Jerusalem was not sure how to take the news of the Gentiles coming to faith. Why? Because all of their lives there was a wall of division between the two people groups.
14 For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, 15 by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, 16 and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity. (Ephesians 2)
When Christ came and died on the cross, He broke down that wall. The Jews were no longer to consider themselves superior to the Gentiles and the Gentiles were no longer to be considered inferior. God broke down the superior and inferior complex. It does not matter if you are a Gentile or a Hebrew, if you are in Christ, there is no inferiority. That wall has been torn down.
In conclusion, if you suffer from an inferiority complex there are two main reasons:
- You have not been born again and are not in Christ
- You have been born again but do not realize what you have been blessed with in Christ
If you are in Christ, there is no reason to feel inferior. You have the same power that resurrected Christ in you. You are more than a conqueror (champion). You stand on the same ground with the other believers and above those who are not in Christ. From your position, you do not want to lord over others, instead, you want to serve them and help them receive all that you have been given. May the Lord help us understand what we have in Christ and use it to serve those around us.