CHRISTIANS AND SELF-ESTEEM PART 5

Christians can feel good about themselves. It’s alright for them to have a healthy dose, but not an overdose,  of positive self-esteem. I’d now like to look at our own self-esteem in relation to God, others, and ourself. First, let’s look at our own view of ourself in relation to ourself. Here are some guidelines that I see in Scripture about the kind of self-esteem that we should have.

OUR VIEW OF OURSELF IN RELATION TO OURSELF

A. OUR ESTEEM OF OURSELF SHOULD BE HONEST AND TRUE. God doesn’t want us to lie about anything, including ourself. There are certain things about ourself and our achievements that are good or laudable. To lie about them is as much a lie and sinful as lying about anything else. For example, if we’re good at drawing it isn’t wrong to admit that. The wrong and the lie is in saying we’re not good at drawing. By all means, we should be humble and modest about the truth. But lying about ourself or our achievements isn’t humility or modesty: it’s lying. And you can’t have good self-esteem built on lies about yourself.

Besides this, when you disparage and depreciate what God has done for you or in you in terms of your character, personality, or achievements, you’re robbing God of the glory that is rightfully His. It’s every bit the same as you telling God  that  everything  He  did  for you really isn’t that big a deal, it isn’t that important, it’s not anything to brag on Him about. The way I see it, minimizing or belittling God’s works is a real insult to God.

Going back to Scripture, Paul had no qualms about saying he wasn’t inferior to any of the Lord’s apostles (2 Corinthians 11:5, 12:11). It was the truth and he had no problems saying or admitting it. The point in all this is, our view of ourself should be accurate and true.

B. WE SHOULD BE MODEST AND HUMBLE ABOUT OURSELF. The truth doesn’t have to make us proud. Yes, we may be a good artist. But we don’t have to be proud about it. We may have accomplished a lot of things and achieved great wealth or success. But we don’t have to be proud about it. Paul had no qualms about putting himself on equal footing with the Lord’s apostles, but he was humble enough to see himself as the least of the apostles (1 Corinthians 15:9). He even went so far as to regard himself as the least of all saints (Ephesians 3:8). The lesson we can learn here is, it’s possible for us to have good self-esteem and still be humble. Good self-esteem doesn’t have to make us proud, conceited, arrogant, or contemptible. We can feel good about ourself and still be humble (1 Peter 5:5-6).

C. DON’T SEEK GLORY FOR YOURSELF. DON’T TOOT YOUR OWN HORN.  You should feel good about yourself—sin excepted of course. But you shouldn’t be proud or seek honor and glory for yourself. Proverbs 25:27 reads, It is not good to eat much honey: so for men to search their own glory is not glory. Proverbs 27:2, Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips.  Proverbs 20:6 asks, Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find?

D. GIVE ALL THE GLORY TO GOD. Instead of taking all the credit for yourself, give God all the glory. Point men to God and let them know that He’s the reason for your success or goodness. Everything you have comes from Him (1 Chronicles 29:14, 1 Timothy 6:17, James 1:17). It was He who helped you and enabled you for your success (Philippians 4:13). It was He who was working in you all along (Philippians 2:13). You are who you are by the grace of God (1 Corinthians 15:10). Good and godly self-esteem, brethren, will always end up at the throne of God and glorify Him because He really is the reason for everything we have, are, and have accomplished.

OUR VIEW OF OURSELF IN RELATION TO OTHERS

QUIT COMPARING YOURSELF WITH OTHERS. Most people’s self-esteem is built or based on comparison. We compare ourself with others and, depending on who we’re comparing ourselves with, we either inflate ourself with arrogance and pride in being better than others; or else we deflate and depress ourself with a sense of worthlessness and failure because we’re not as good as others.

Take our physical features for an example. Beauty is almost always defined in relation to others. We’re either more beautiful than others, or else we’re ugly compared to all the other beautiful people around us. The same can be said about success, achievement, ability, intelligence, and a host of other things that we judge in relation to others.

Friend, you need to quit comparing yourself with others. Proper and godly self-esteem is not built or based on comparison. It’s built on your own recognition and realization that you are God’s handiwork. It’s He who formed and made you. It’s He who gave you your personality, talents and abilities.  It’s  He  who  endowed  you with the intelligence that you’ve got. Of course, you’ve had a hand in everything about yourself: you’ve either improved God’s handiwork for the better, or else you’ve made a mess of yourself by living a carnal, self-centered, sinful life. The point is, in spite of what God gave to, and did for, the countless other people around and beside you, you are still God’s unique handiwork, His very own work in progress, and you must be content and accept yourself for who and what you are right now.

Friend, when you look at yourself in the mirror, when you judge yourself, look only at the person staring back at you in the mirror. Get everyone else out of the picture. Quit comparing yourself with others. Recognize God’s hand on your life. Accept with gratitude His grace and blessings upon you. And use whatever’s wrong, bad, or inferior about you as a launching pad to obey God more and be more of the person that God wants you to be.

BE HUMBLE. For better or worse, we live in a world surrounded by people. You can’t always leave people out of the picture. You live with them. They’re everywhere around you. So, while you mustn’t compare yourself with others, you nevertheless have to know how to behave or respond whenever you’re around people.

Having good self-esteem is important for yourself. But when it comes to other people the greater, more important thing is for you to be humble. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble (1 Peter 5:5) . To be truly humble you need to change the way you look at people. Instead of thinking you’re better than them you need to do the exact opposite and think of them as being better than yourself. Philippians 2:3 exhorts us to  Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.  Friend,  whenever  you’re  tempted  to become proud of yourself, look at the good in others, focus on their strengths and virtues, walk in their shoes, and you just might be surprised to find out that they really are better than you.

OUR VIEW OF OURSELF IN RELATION TO GOD

It’s important and beneficial for us to have a good esteem of ourself. But as soon as we bring God into the picture and stand in His presence we need to set our self-esteem aside and humble ourself before God (James 4:10). Our view of ourself—no matter how accurate and true—must change and become what we really, truly are in God’s sight. And what is that? As the text of Scripture reads, We are unprofitable servants (Luke 17:10). No one will glory in God’s presence (1 Corinthians 1:29). There’ll be no bragging or boasting. God, and God alone, gets all the glory. Always, at all times, in all things, we remain humble in God’s presence and give Him the glory for everything we are, everything we have, and everything we’ve done.

I’ve said all along that it’s important, good, and beneficial for us to have a good self-esteem. I speak on the assumption that we’re walking with the Lord and living uprightly before Him. Friends, you ought not feel good about yourself if you’re in sin! A bad person shouldn’t feel good about himself or herself. Good self-esteem comes from being good. If you’re bad and you feel good about yourself, you’re self-deceived and you’re fooling yourself into Hell. The Devil—not the Lord—makes you feel good about your sins.

I’ve also said that your esteem of yourself should be accurate, honest, and true. The problem here is that it’s so easy for us to be blind sided and not see the truth about ourself. There may be some things or truths about  ourself  that we’d rather not admit or acknowledge. This is where the good Lord comes in. We need to let the Lord tell us what He thinks about us. It’s important for us to feel good about ourself. But the greater question is, How does the Lord feel about us? What does He think about us? Does He see us the same way we see ourself?

The answer, quite plainly, is God doesn’t always see us the same way we see ourself. Proverbs 16:2 tells us that  All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the LORD weigheth the spirits. Proverbs 21:2 similarly reads, Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD pondereth the hearts. Proverbs 30:12, There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness.

The point in all these is, there are times when we think we’re alright, but really we’re not—not in God’s eyes. We can have good self-esteem without God having the same esteem toward us.

Having a good, positive, healthy, godly self-esteem is, first and foremost, a matter of letting God tell us what He thinks about us. Our esteem must come from Him! Brethren, do you want to feel good about yourself? Go to God. Let Him tell you what He thinks about you. (A) If the news is bad, confess and repent of your sin/s, get things right with God, then start doing what’s right. Remember, good self-esteem comes from being good. (B) If the news is good and the Spirit doesn’t convict you of any wrong doing, then give God the glory, build on His good report, then start seeing yourself the same way God sees you. Let God—not you, or the Devil, or other people—be the ultimate source of how you think, feel, and view yourself. [You may be interested in reading my post  THINKING ‘BOUT ME if you’re struggling to believe God loves you. It’s worth the read and it’ll change your life!]

1 Comment

  1. jan bucher said,

    November 18, 2010 at 6:20 PM

    have enjoyed your teachings and look forward to more


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