Monday, October 13, 2008

Self-Esteem or Self-Extreme

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

         It seems to me that as a society we have been nearly choked to death on the perceived need for self-esteem. Anyone with even a basic knowledge of the Bible will know that this whole concept is foreign to Biblical reasoning. I am not advocating the false humility that says, “I am nothing,” because this accuses God of shoddy workmanship. I am simply saying what Paul says in this verse in Philippians. To consider myself to have more intrinsic value than anyone else is to give myself more credit than I am due. My real worth comes from the fact that for some reason known only to Him, God chose to take me into His family, which instantly upped the property value on me!

         But as I said, we are repeatedly told that low self-esteem is the catalyst for depression, divorce, obesity, prostitution, suicide, murder, and innumerable other of society’s ills. Yet I have read other articles that quote statistical research, which indicates that, on the contrary, many of the people who fall into the above categories actually poll high on the self-esteem chart. As one author put it, “If you think you’re God’s gift to this world, you’re particularly offended when other people don’t treat you that way.” That’s why we see the word “strife” is this verse, as well.

         So, if you are one of those people who sometimes feel you are not as good as others, good for you! That’s exactly the estimate Paul advocates. You may be out of sync with this world; but then, when was this world ever in sync with God? Remember, Jesus said, “[T]hat which is highly esteemed among men is abomination to God” (Luke 16:15). And that includes self-esteem. Besides, if God esteems us redeemed sinners fit to spend eternity with Him in heaven, who in the world needs self-esteem?  


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