Sunday, November 8, 2009

Self-Esteem in Christ Alone

"God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." - James 4:6

If God opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble, why is self-esteem even an issue among Christians today?

As Christians we are no longer controlled by our sinful nature, we have been blessed by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit!  The Holy Spirit brings forth good fruit - the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, and self-control.

Self-esteem is what brings us to believe we are worth anything on our own, to believe we deserve all of the good things and don't deserve all of the bad things that happen to us.   Self-esteem is what leads us to believe we are inherently good people; that we should not (nor will we ever) be punished for our sin.   It is self-righteousness.
In one sense, low self-esteem is the opposite of pride. In another sense, low-self-esteem is a form of pride. Some people have low self-esteem because they want people to feel sorry for them, to pay attention to them, to comfort them. Low self-esteem can be a declaration of “look at me” just as much as pride. It simply takes a different route to get to the same destination, that is, self-absorption, self-obsession, and selfishness. Instead, we are to be selfless, to die to self, and to deflect any attention given to us to the great God who created and sustains us. - Click here for full article.

Defining Worth:

Dr. Dobson equates low self-esteem with feelings of inadequacy, inferiority, self-doubt, and an inadequate sense of personal worth.  He is a huge advocate of self-esteem because he believes that it is through self-esteem that we overcome these feelings of inadequacy and then we can be confident people, unafraid of the world around us.  What he is saying may be psychologically true and it may work temporarily, but I believe the heart of the matter is not being addressed.   The source of the problem is not being dealt with by simply promoting self-esteem.

High and low self-esteem stem from a low view of God.

If you do not know Christ, you have no reason to be confident. You have no reason to not fear men, you have no reason not to despise yourself.   The only way to maintain a healthy self-esteem is to have an accurate understanding of who God is and who you are according to Him.  Once you know this, you no longer fear men, you no longer hate or love yourself, you have complete confidence in Christ!

Our worth has nothing to do with our feelings, emotions, accomplishments or skills, it is directly associated with who we are in Christ.

If  self-esteem (self-confidence) was one of our "greatest needs" as Dobson says it is, surely someone in the Bible would have addressed the topic.  Instead, the Word of God teaches that our worth comes from Christ and our greatest need is Christ.

“Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.” Romans 12:3

Jesus preached humility - the proper low view of self.

If we truly believed what we believe, in that Jesus Christ died for our sin and we now have hope in Heaven and will exist eternally with our wonderful Father in Heaven, we would never feel inferior, we would never feel worthless, we would never feel inadequate, because we know who we are in Christ!  We are God's children! (John 12:1) God cares for us as his children.

As Children of God, our lives are of great worth.

Encouraging  Children:

We can encourage our children to have a healthy view of themselves by teaching them the truth. We need to train them up in the ways of the Lord, so that they may grow to have a love for Christ and for others and not of themselves.

  • Attributing all of the good in our children to God.

  • Encourage confidence and security in Christ alone.

  • Assure your children they are loved.  Tell them you love them, and God loves them even more.

  • Thanking God for the skills and abilities that He has provided them with.


Self-help, Self-esteem, Self-destruction and large, irresponsible mouths


The Rebel's Guide to Joy in Humility - Mark Driscoll

More Resources:

The Biblical View of Self-Esteem, Self-Love, and Self-Image by Jay Adams


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