Modern thought patterns instill in each of us the need for self-esteem. Television programs, books, video tapes, seminars, sermons at church, lectures at your place of business, all point us toward our deepest needs. We are told that without self-esteem it is impossible to be successful students, parents, employees and fulfilled human beings.
The concept we are commanded to grasp suggests that only we can control our future. Society, parents, church, government, and peers create many negative influences in our lives which cause us to feel useless and incapable of accomplishing greatness. Thus, we are encouraged to take control of our own lives by developing a positive mental attitude which enlightens us concerning our capabilities. All negative thinking concerning ourselves and our circumstances is to be eliminated. And we are to picture ourselves as marvelous human beings with limitless possibilities.
While it is obvious that those around us will respond more favorably toward us if we develop a positive approach to life, one cannot help but wonder what happens when our search for self-worth is implemented without regard to God and our relationship to him. When we view life as having arrived, do we even need God?
Really, all that stuff in the Bible about sin and how we are all guilty of it (Romans 3:23) doesnít do much for our self-worth. Likewise, we get depressed and maybe even a little angry when we are told that God views our good deeds and accomplishments tantamount to garments as useless as those which have been soiled by a womanís menstrual cycle. (Isaiah 64:6) We protest, if thatís the way God sees us, then whatís the point?
We view God as the enemy.
We forget that when God looks down upon us He sees a beautiful person created in His own image. (Gen. 1:27) Scripture makes it clear concerning Godís view of His creation. Genesis reveals everything was good except human-kind, about whom God proclaims was very
good. (Gen 1:31) God is not the enemy!
However, God is very much aware of our incompleteness. He knows our failures. He is all to familiar with the hurts and circumstances which have led us down the path of negative mental attitudes and low self-worth. In spite of our protestations to the contrary, God understands that our greatest need is not feelings of self-worth, but the experience of love, acceptance, forgiveness, and the peace and promise that is accompanied with it. He knows, and somehow we know too, that we will never be all we can be until we are all that He wants us to be and have experienced all that He wants to give us.
Therefore, God is pleased with our efforts toward self-improvement and goodness. Like us, He is aware of the positive impact these things have on our world. Nevertheless, He reminds us that our self-worth before Him is of far greater importance than the self-worth bestowed upon us by our society or by ourselves. He speaks to each of us in His call to repentance and faith, calling us to discover that all we really need is Him. "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be open to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be open. Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or, if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those ask Him!" (Matt. 7:7-11 NIV)
Through the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ, we are made righteous. (I
Cor. 1:30) In Christ, we are a new creation. (II Cor. 5:17) And by Godís grace, we are given a new identity. "How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God." (I John 3:1
Finally, these excerpts, from an old hymn of the church written by Edward Mote, provide a portrait of self-esteem that is the result of being complete in Christ.... "My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness. ...in every high and stormy gale my anchor holds within the vale....His oath, His covenant, His blood support me in the whelming flood....when all around my soul gives way, He then is all my hope and stay.....When he shall come with trumpet sound, oh may I then in him be found; dressed in his righteousness alone, faultless to stand before the throne." (Hymn "The Solid Rock" public domain)
Written by Cyril G. Page