SELF ESTEEM: Varied Scriptures
“The Cambridge Dictionary defines ‘self esteem’ as: ‘Belief and confidence in your own ability and value.’ Self-esteem, by its very words, ‘esteeming self’ often results in either arrogance and superiority (for those who think they deserve a lot of esteem) or self-consciousness and self-loathing (for those who think they deserve little esteem). Many define self-esteem as feelings of worth based on their skills, accomplishments, status, financial resources, or appearance. This kind of self-esteem can lead a person to feel independent and prideful and to indulge in self-worship, which dulls our desire for God. If we only trust in our earthly resources, we will inevitably be left with a sense of worth based on pride.”
Television preacher, the late Robert Schuler describes self-esteem this way: “Self-esteem is the human hunger for the divine dignity that God intended to be our emotional birthright as children created in His image…Self-esteem is pride in being a human being…Self-esteem is feeling good about one's self because one has been working hard and well…Since the opposite of good self-esteem is that in a person which caused him to say 'I am unworthy,' (He says this is the worst sin that a man or woman can commit), self-esteem is the feeling, 'I am worthy.'"
Let me try to summarize self-esteem according to the “experts:” A person with good self-esteem is one who feels that he is good, worthy, and capable simply by virtue of the fact that he is a human being.
This does not mean that Christians should have low self-esteem. It only means that our sense of being a good person should not depend on appearance or accomplishments, but on my relationship to Christ! (1 Samuel 16:7, “The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
My self esteem comes from what we are in Christ, and what we have in Christ. We Have:
•Salvation from sin: Jesus came to “save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21 “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
•God’s presence with us: Jesus was “Emmanuel” which means “God with us” (Matthew 1:23). Jesus said, “And, lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the world” (Matthew 28:20).
•Life: Ephesians 2:1-10, “ And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins…He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus…”
•Our needs supplied: “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). “But seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33).
•Stability in our Christian life: ”Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.
•Answered prayer: “And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive” (Matthew 21:22). “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him” (1 John 5:14,15).
•Our names written in heaven: “Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because you names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:20).
•Eternal life/everlasting life: “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life…” (John3:36). “But God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life” (John 3:15).
•The indwelling Holy Spirit: “Do you not know at your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?” (1 Corinthians 6:19). “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” (Luke 11:13). “But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His” (Romans 8:9).
•The love of the Father: “Jesus answered and said to him, “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.” “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him” (John 14:21, 23).
•Guidance by the Spirit of Truth: “Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you” (John 16:7). “But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me” (John 15:26). “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.” (John 16:13).
If these eleven blessing of being “In Christ” do not give you Christ esteem, then nothing will! Believe me, Christ esteem beats self esteem hands down!
We need to humble ourselves before Him, and He will honor us. Psalm 16:2 reminds us, “I said to the Lord, ‘You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.’” Christians attain self-worth and esteem by having a right relationship with God. Proverbs 3:3, “Let not mercy and truth forsake you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart, and so find favor and high esteem in the sight of God and man.”
STOP COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHERS: Mark Twain said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”
We are all different, yet we have a tendency to compare ourselves to others. It's a losing battle. And it’s not wise! If comparing is how you evaluate your worth, you will always be losing. In this game of life you will never reach a point where you are better than others in every way and why would you want to be?
2 Corinthians 10:12-13, “For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. We, however, will not boast beyond measure, but within the limits of the sphere which God appointed us–a sphere which especially includes you. The Living Bible reads, “Oh, don’t worry, I wouldn’t dare say that I am as wonderful as these other men who tell you how good they are! Their trouble is that they are only comparing themselves with each other and measuring themselves against their own little ideas. What stupidity! But we will not boast of authority we do not have. Our goal is to measure up to God’s plan for us…” (2 Corinthians 10:12,13, TLB).
Here’s a question for you, do I feel adequate enough or happy enough with the way that God made me, to feel secure in life? One of my pastor friends who wore very expensive hair pieces, got rid of them saying, “I felt that I was not happy with the way God made me.” So people try, face lifts, hair pieces, surgery to make their body look “perfect.” And society tries to sell us all the latest fashions, latest hairdos, so that we have look like some super-model or superstar to be acceptable.
God will always tell us the truth. Society will always lie to us. Listen to God and learn…
Psalm 139:13-16 (NKJV), “My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.
Psalm 139:13-16 (The Message), “Oh yes, You shaped me first inside, then out; You formed me in my mother’s womb. I thank You, High God You’re breathtaking! Body and soul, I AM MARVELOUSLY MADE! I worship in adoration—what a creation! You know me inside and out, You know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something. Like an open book, You watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before You. The days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day.”
Couple that scripture with:
“God told Samuel, “Looks aren’t everything. Don’t be impressed with his looks and stature…God judges persons differently than humans do. Men and women look at the face; God looks into the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7-10 The Message).
2 Corinthians 5:17, “When someone becomes a Christian, he becomes a brand new person…He is not the same anymore. A new life has begun!” (The Living Bible). “So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” (2 Corinthians 5:17, New Living Translation).
THIS NEW LIFE IS A LIFE OF HUMILITY:
John MacArthur tells of a man named “Nosmo King.” How did he get his name? His illiterate mother, saw a sign in the hospital where he was born, the sign said, “No Smoking.” Talk about insignificance! That’s lowly!
Paul admonishes us in Ephesians 4:1,2 , “To walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all LOWLINESS and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love.”
LOWLINESS-LOWLY: “Freedom from pride; humility; humbleness of mind; wanting in dignity or rank, not lofty or sublime; humble. Having a low esteem of one's own worth; humble, and meek.” Lowliness says, “I am nothing without God. I am everything ‘in Christ!’”
Proverbs 16:19, “Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.”
Proverbs 3:34, “He mocks proud mockers but shows favor to the humble and oppressed.”
Matthew 5:3, “Blessed are the POOR IN SPIRIT (happy are the nobodies), to be envied, and spiritually prosperous, with life, joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions) are the poor in spirit (the lowly, the humble, who rate themselves insignificant), for theirs is the kingdom of heaven!”
Matthew 11:29, Jesus said, “Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart.”
Romans 12:3, “For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.”
Philippians 2:3,4, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.”
James 4:6-8, “He gives more grace. Therefore He says: ‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’ Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you…”
There is a proper, positive, Christian self-esteem. The gospel of Jesus Christ graces us, every one who believes the gospel, has a positive self-esteem, a Christ esteem that far outstrips the self-esteem of the experts.
These are the aspects of a proper, positive, Christian self-esteem.
First, as a believer, I must know that I have been chosen by God and, therefore, I am precious to God. God has loved me from eternity past. (Ephesians 1:4).
Second, as a believer, I must know that “I have been redeemed, not with silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, God's own Son” (1 Peter 1:19,20). Therefore I am precious to Jesus.
Third, as a believer, I know that I am regenerated and indwelt by the Holy Spirit. (Romans 8:9). I am, therefore, a new creature in Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:17). I possess the life of the risen Jesus Christ Himself. I am the temple of God (1 Corinthians 3:16). The image of God has been restored in me. Nothing less than this belongs to a proper Christian self-image.
Fourth, as a believer, I am justified by faith and, therefore, am accepted of God. I am not guilty; and I am not worthy of hell or of any condemnation. (Galatians 2; John 5:24).
Fifth, as a believer, I have been adopted by God (Romans 8:15) and, therefore, am a son of the God of heaven and earth and am heir of all things. (Romans 8:17). I am no child of the devil. (1 John 3:10).
Sixth, as a believer, I am sanctified (Hebrews 10:10) and, therefore, am actually good with the pure, spotless goodness of the Holy Spirit. And my walk, my life, as the apostle says so plainly in the first couple of chapters of 1 Peter, is an excellent, noble walk and life in the world.
Seventh, as a believer, I am (body included) destined for glory (John 17:22; 1 Colossians 1:27). A proper self-esteem extends to the body of a Christian as well as the soul. (Romans 8:23).
This proper Christian self-esteem, Christ esteem makes the self-esteem of the experts ridiculous by comparison. I reject their definition of self-esteem because it does not exalt me nearly highly enough. I am so much more “in Christ” than I was without Him. This self-esteem is not pride, but humble, thankful acceptance of the goodness of God. This self-esteem is not natural, but that which is ours in Christ. This self-esteem is rooted in Christ's victory over sin and in Christ's covering of sin for me.
I’m a child of the King, adopted into a royal family!
Once I was clothed in the rags of my sin,
Wretched and poor, lost and lonely within.
But with wondrous compassion, the King of all kings,
In pity and love, took me under His wings.
Now I'm a child with a Heavenly home,
My Holy Father has made me His own.
And I'm cleansed by His blood, and I'm clothed in His love,
And some day I'll sing with the angels above.
Oh, yes, oh yes, I'm a child of the King
His royal blood now flows in my veins.
And I who was wretched and poor now can sing
Praise God, praise God, I'm a child of the King”
(Bill and Gloria Gaither)
Christ-esteem is not based upon any national privilege, family entitlement, or personal accomplishment. It is based solely and totally upon what God has done for us in Jesus Christ. Our self-esteem is something that God achieves for us, not something that we achieve for ourselves apart from God…the cross of Christ alone is a secure rock to which we can anchor true valuation and esteem of ourselves and others. In John 15:5 Jesus said, “Without Me you can do nothing.”
–This message as prepared with the help of, and with thanks to, Alister and Joanna McGrath, Self-Esteem: The Cross and Christian Confidence; Robert Shuler, Self Esteem; info@FighterVerses.com.; Bill and Gloria Gaither; Daniela Tempesta, The Huffington Post.
You have permission to use any and all of Dr. John Sparks’ materials. If this message haw been helpful to you, please E-Mail me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Unless otherwise noted, the New King James Version of the Bible was used. Also The New Living Translation (NLT); The New American Standard Bible (NASB); The Message (MSG); The New Century Version (NCV); The Amplified Bible (AMP); The King James Version (KJV), The New Life Version (NLV); English Standard Version (ESV); J.B. Phillips New Testament; Easy to Read Version (ERV); Common English bible (CEB); NET Bible (NET) and The Living Bible (TLB). Contemporary English Version (CEV).