Christ dwells and delights in YOU. Yes, you! | with James Bryan Smith

Jun 21, 2022

Stephanie welcomes spiritual director, university professor and author James Bryan Smith to ponder the weight of God's love for us as His chosen creation. In his latest book, "The good and beautiful you" Jim invites us to peel back the layers of many lies we have commonly been fed in the church--about our worthlessness and predicament when our identity is primarily defined as "sinner." Jim likes to remind everyone - inlcuding himself - that Genesis 1 and 2 precede Genesis 3, and that grace and love precede sin and the fall! They discuss the difference between soul and self, and why the soul has such demanding needs. James tells us now the needs of our soul can be met in Christ alone.

Jim describes ten things our soul cannot endure, and ten God-created longings. He says, "the soul is made to soar in trasncendance." Yet this is the furthest thing from self-help and narcissism! He invites us to "put to death our need ot establish our worth through what we accomplish." Who does not need to hear this in our generation of ever-hurried people? 

He talks of the sacredness of our God-bestowed body: "we cannot engage in a relationship with God apart from our bodies." Jim also talks about our deep-seated need to be wanted and desired. He says, "our identity is given by God - and it will find us! We don't have to search for significance; in Christ significance has found us." He prays and invites us to join him in asking the Lord, "O God help me believe the truth about myself, no matter how beautiful." Again, this is the furthest thing from narcissisim because it invites us to then consider every one around us in the same light - considering others as more important than ourselves, imitating Christ Jesus as Paul challenges us in Philippians 2.

Jim says, "I am my own worst critic. I live under the tyranny of the ideal self." Anyone else can use a dose of truth against self-criticism? If God does not spend His days thinking negative thoughts about us, then why should we think those thoughts about ourselves - or others?

Join Stephanie and James Bryan Smith for a profound and uplifting conversation about WHO YOU ARE IN GOD'S EYES.

You can also watch the video of this episode on our YouTube channel at



the book, The Good and Beautiful You:

James Bryan Smith is the author of the Good and Beautiful Series which includes The Good and Beautiful God, The Good and Beautiful You, The Good and Beautiful Life, and The Good and Beautiful Community. He earned his MDiv at Yale and his DMin at Fuller and is a theology professor at Friends University in Wichita, Kansas, where he also serves as the director of the Apprentice Institute for Christian Spiritual Formation.

A founding member of Richard J. Foster's spiritual renewal ministry, Renovaré, Smith is an ordained United Methodist Church minister and has served in various capacities in local churches. He is the editor of A Spiritual Formation Workbook and Devotional Classics (with Richard Foster), and the author of Embracing the Love of God, Rich Mullins: An Arrow Pointing to Heaven, Room of Marvels, The Magnificent Story, and The Magnificent Journey.

Follow him on Twitter: @jamesbryansmith


The Christian faith is not only about belief and practices, it is also about the kind of people that we become. Yet some of the biggest barriers to our transformation come from our toxic self-narratives. These narratives shape the way we see ourselves and the way we interact in the world. God designed us with a deep longing in our souls to be wanted, loved, alive, and connected to God. Healing our souls requires more than knowing what God thinks about us. Our healing comes not through reason alone, but through revelation.

"The best practice I have seen in Christian spiritual formation" was Dallas Willard's endorsement of the Good and Beautiful series a decade ago. Now this fourth book in the series, The Good and Beautiful You, addresses the self-narratives that hinder spiritual growth and the desires of the soul that only God can satisfy. James Bryan Smith reminds us how Scripture reveals the beauty and goodness of our own souls and how we long for healing that only God can provide. Complete with spiritual practices that help us live into that reality, The Good and Beautiful You will serve as a welcome companion on your journey to discover who you truly are in Christ.

The Good and Beautiful Series includes four essential discipleship books from James Bryan Smith. Work through these proven Bible study resources individually or with a group to learn who God is, what it means to be a Christian, how to live in community, and how to address toxic self-narratives that hinder spiritual growth.


Catch up with Stephanie's latest episodes on the Gospel Spice podcast!

Listen now