pc08 Self-Esteem

Esteeming One’s Self

By David Cox

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Phil 2:3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.

Modern psychology treats the “psyche” of man, which they define as existing but without observations nor definitions from actual science. But in that, psychology has been recognized as a science even though its conclusions, bases, and methods cannot be confirmed nor denied through science (in other words it is ALL unproven theories).

Perhaps one of the principle points in psychology is the exaltation of the human image itself (his psyche or person), or self-esteem. Modern psychology’s principal trust is to simply emphasize the need for self exaltation.

Whatever thing seems to lower one’s view of one’s self is a “sin” in psychology. Their remedy to all problems is to understand that “you are not so bad”, and “the guilt lies with others”, i.e. raise self-esteem.

We are Evil

Jas 4:9 Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Jas 4:10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.

There is a great difference between psychology and the Bible in how they see things, or how we should see things, especially one’s own self. Instead of exalting how good we are (psychology’s position), the Bible commands us to lament, cry and afflict ourselves because we are sinners in the sight of God. The Bible tells us we are nothing in God’s sight. We have nothing within ourselves that we can boast of before God or man. God already knows what we are and demands from every person that they acknowledge this sinful quality as God declares it (saying the same thing as God is the concept of “confession”).If you do not recognize our lowliness by yourself, God will do it for you by causing events in your life to show you how evil your sin is. We are evil because of our sin. The key point in this is that sin flows from the desires of our heart, and our heart and its manifestations reflect the acts and attitudes that reveal what we really are (wicked and sinful). Psychological studies try to defend the “good” concept of self-esteem and try to build this self-esteem. They define without evidence that low self-esteem is the cause of violence and delinquency (problems). But reality proves this wrong. The real connection between low self-esteem and social problems has never been established no matter how hard they tried to do so.

Our High Value in God’s Eyes

Perhaps this sounds like a contradiction, but while we are nothing to boast or brag about, God highly values us so much that Jesus paid a great price by dying on the cross to redeem us (John 3:16). God saw value in us, but not because we have inherent goodness in us. It is because He did not want us to die and go to hell. So we have nothing to boast of.

We are Nothing

1Cor 4:6 …that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another. 1Cor 4:7 For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?

When people want to boast of what they are, they forget that everything they have has been given to them by God, from life itself and what one has coming into this world (body, mind, smartness, etc.), even unto what you have achieved in this life, you have gotten it by God’s hand. We have achieved none of this is by our own striving, but because God has given us these things or permitted that we obtain them.

Jas 4:13 Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: 14 Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. 15 For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. 16 But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil.

What does Humility “get you”?

Ps 119:71 It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.

The world proposes that all your problems come from not thinking highly enough of yourself. But God proposes that you are not going to solve any problem unless you first lower your self-esteem of yourself. Simply put, being human has a grave problem of pride and arrogance before God. God is greatly displeased with man’s arrogance. Nobody wants to admit that “I am wicked”. Human beings do not want to humble themselves before God but rather walk in rebellion against God and his commandments. Humility and meekness are exactly what we need so that we seek God.

The only form of exaltation that God permits is when God does the exalting of somebody in eternity because he esteems a divine reason in that person. God sees their character (especially humility) and exalts.

1Pet 5:6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: If a person exalts himself, God will destroy that, but if the person truly humbles himself before God, becoming submissive to God and his will, God will eventually exalt that person.

Isa 2:11 The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day.

Luke 14:11 For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

God does not permit highness in his presence. God is the supreme one, the maximum, and nobody else. Those who refuse to humble themselves before the power and glory of God, accepting that God and God alone is the great and glorious, and placing their own self as lowly in his presence, then these are going to be destroyed (lowered) by God.

Isa 57:15 For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.

Nobody is going to heaven to live in eternity with God if that person is not humble in his spirit, broken in his way of living, the opposite of a proud person.

The Order of Biblical Importance

Matt 22:37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

Somebody asked Jesus which is the greatest commandment. Jesus answered that there were two, one important, and the other equally important. The most important commandment is that we should love God with our whole being. There is no place for one to love his or her own self, not even a little bit. The second one is that we should love our neighbor as one would love himself. Actually the idea is better expressed “in place of ourself”. God is love, and when we enter into a relationship with God that saves us, we have this essence of God, love, in us. In the biblical concept of love, there is no love of self, but love is defined as a self sacrifice of you and yours for the benefit of others. We always have to see this order that God imposes: (1) God is first, (2) others, (3) our own self.

Eph 5:29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth (loveth) it, even as the Lord the church:Paul touched on this theme in explaining that within the family, husband and wife are not to fight. The reason is because we are spiritually united in one body, and being one body, we take on the one body nature, that a body preserves, protects, and cares for itself. (Within the marriage, this point is lost or never understood when they fight among themselves.)

This is not an exhortation to love yourself, but a declaration that we are not to love our own self. But we should take care of ourself though. The sacrifice of one’s own self for others is most notable because it just doesn’t seem to exist outside of the influences of God. Man gives himself every luxury and comfort he can FOR HIS OWN SELF. Rarely will he give to others except when it benefits back to himself. In a rare occasion, a very rich man will give some small thing to others to ease his conscience so that he can better enjoy his luxuries and riches.

Denying yourself, not Exalting yourself

Matt 16:24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me 25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.

What we encounter in the Bible on this topic is that we should not exalt (highly esteem) ourselves (Luk 9:23) and we should deny ourselves. Our self-esteem, whether it is great or small, is the problem and not the solution. Jesus exhorted that “he who is meek and lowly of heartMat 11:29 is he who will go to heaven finding rest. Only by imitating this in Jesus will a soul find peace and rest in his soul.

God exalts those that sacrifice themselves in service to others, but he does not exalt those BEING SERVED as receiving greatness from God (Mat 20:26-27; 23:11-12; Luk 22:24-27; Phil 2:3). We should seek the good of others, and never exalt our own self worth (1Cor 10:24 Let no man seek his own, but every man another’s wealth). Moreover God demands our self denial if we want to be saved (Luk 14:26). Among this list of horrible sins in 2Tim 3:2-5 is this sin, “lovers of their own selves” which is “not to please ourselves” but “to bear the infirmities of the weak” (Rom 15:1). John 12:25 says it this way, if you love yourself you will never gain eternal life.

Rom 12:3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

Paul indicates that we should be realists (think sensibly) about our own self and abilities, and so the problem will never be a lack or low self-esteem but having too high of a concept of one’s own self. Col 3:12 Put on therefore… humbleness of mind, meekness,… Psychology seels to raise one’s self-esteem, which is exactly the opposite of what the Bible says. The Bible declares that the stubborn and obstinate will of man (things highly of himself, in his own opinion, according to his way of thinking) is sin, and this causes God’s condemnation on man. We solve our problems by humbling ourselves before God, taking that guide which God has given us, and denying our desires, pleasures, and denying ourselves. It is that addiction to pleasing one’s self which causes the perdition of the soul. (Luke 8:14 are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life Titus 3:3 For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.) Humility before God, meekness is what gives us access to God, and God’s blessing on us.

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