Week 17 Chapter 14
Self Esteem: Is that a Christian Concept?
Matt 18:1-14; Mark 9: 35-37,42-50; Luke 9:46-48
Contrary to popular opinion, it is not the case that we are called to give worth to self, or to have pride in self (self-esteem), it is assumed by Jesus that we already do. In fact, He often says that we have too much.
Jesus calls us to forget self, and let Him have all the glory. He calls us to love Him instead of self and others, not alongside our pride. Self is what we are preoccupied with; it is not something we need to be concerned about because God is the reason for our goodness, and we cannot increase God’s self-esteem. In order to love God and others, we need to put self last and not first.
In the passages we have this week; Jesus says that selfish pride is the problem. Our selfishness is exactly why He came to Earth, to DIE for our pride. That is serious.
At this point, we’re walking with the disciples back to town after a phenomenon that was indescribable. We have seen that heaven is a real place, with real people, and that the people there are very different, but oddly similar. Jesus is well aware that His disciples are not on the same page.
Jesus had been talking about how He was to suffer and die, and that life would be hard for them in just a short time. The transfiguration was a witness to the eventual glory after the pain and humiliation of Christ’s death on the cross.
However, the disciples had skipped over the humiliation part and the Jesus’ suffering part. They went straight to the glory…”vain” glory. They were too busy with self-esteem. They were overflowing with dreams of pride, position, power, and prestige.
Jesus, frustrated with their narcissism, pulled out the big guns. He brought out a lowly little child. Children, by nature, are not worried about prestige; they have none. Children are who they are, and are well aware of their vulnerability and need for others help. They are humble by necessity. Grownups, on the other hand, are more concerned with how they “measure up” to others. Their sense of self worth is not damaged, it’s out of control.
Self-esteem issues are a result of the “fall.” Our self-justification and preoccupation with pride are the root of it. What we need to remember, is that our assessment of our selves is defective and deceptive. It tells us we are “something,” and it is prideful and useless in nature. It has been broken, and is in need of redemption, and guess who the first person it fools is? God created us to be worshippers, not of ourselves, but of God.
Jesus used the example of a little child to show the humble dependence on God that is the opposite of self-autonomy. It is characteristic of Jesus and all Kingdom people. Jesus is the quintessential example of self-denial and self-effacement. Satan, on the other hand, (the epitome of evil) is the best example of self-esteem there is. He is so self-confident that he thinks God should worship him.
Oh, you might say, but I have to love myself in order to love others or love God. If you believe that, friend, you believe a lie. Matt. 22:35-37, presupposes that you already have all the self-esteem you need. You certainly do not need any more. It is not true that you need to love yourself; it is that you need God’s love. That is the truth. It is God’s love to us precisely because we are unlovable. That is what moves us to love others. We love Him because He first loved us (1John 4:10, Gal 2;21). To say that we must love ourselves, denied the sin nature of man by implying that somehow we are mistaken rather than sinful. We are victims instead of perpetrators. We are not mistaken, and we are not victims. God says we are depraved (Is. 53;6; Rom 3:23, 6:23, 5:8, 1John 1:8-10), and in need of His redemption. Self-esteem flies in the face of this, and is blasphemous to God because it calls God a liar. So how is your self-esteem? Do you want to lose it? I do.
See Ya Next Time